author: Katie Workman
publisher: Workman Publishing
soft cover: 366 pages
chapters/sections: Quick and Easy Breakfasts - Lunch to Stay or to Go - A Handful of Snacks - Appetizers? Really? Really - Souped Up - 4 Salads and a Couple of Vinaigrettes - 4 Chickens and a Turkey (Sort of) - Main Dish Meat - Fish and Seafood - Pasta and Pizza-the Magic Words - Vegetarian Mains - Potluck - Mixed Company Dinners - Let's Call a Carb a Carb! - Best-Shot Vegetables - Weekend Brunches - Simple Weeknight Desserts - Special Occasion Desserts - Bake Sale - What You May Be Looking For
fun features: Each of the twenty chapters addresses a "dilemma". For example, chapter 1 is titled Quick and Easy Breakfasts. The dilemma for that chapter is: Getting the kids fed and out the door. Five recipes constitute each chapter (with variations). So, 20 chapters - 20 dilemmas - 5 solutions to each dilemma. I love this concept since it is both fun and practical at the same time. There's not a mom out there who hasn't found herself facing most or all of these situations before - and if you think you'll be the first, you are in for a big surprise.
(a few of the many) recipes destined for my kitchen: Crunchy Chewy Granola, Sautéed Corn Spinach Bacon and Scallions, One-Pot Arroz con Pollo, Honey-Hoisin Tofu, Sesame Noodles, Cheesy Chicken Enchiladas, Garlic Shrimp, Broiled Miso Cod Fingers, Cheddar and Cauliflower Soup, Fudgy One-Pot Brownies
my thoughts/review: I think that Katie Workman hit the nail on the head with this book. I love the concept and her writing style, very real...everyday..."I get it" approach. This book is made for moms (or dads). It's not made for those hoping to learn French cooking techniques. And maybe it's not really for grandma's or those who have been cooking for a long time. The recipes are fairly basic, yet not elementary. They are meant to get you into the kitchen and making pleasing family meals. I look at them as building-block recipes. Try them once. Try the variations. Katie includes Fork in the Road solutions for households where "picky palates are prevalent". The recipes are meant to ease your kids into trying new flavors and cuisines without overwhelming them. If you grew up in a Mexican household, it's possible that you'll try the Mexican Tortilla Casserole or the Cheesy Chicken Enchiladas and think...that's not Mexican food! BUT. For those households who didn't grow up with those glorious chiles and amazing spices permeating their being, these could be the "gateway" meals that they need to start exploring that cuisine.
I took a particular shine to this book, because even though I cook three meals a day for my family on a regular basis, sometimes I overlook the simple things I grew up with and loved as a kid. I'm very adventurous in the kitchen, and in turn, so are my kids. But they ARE still kids. And I still make them good ol' kid food.
I think for those who are uncomfortable in or fairly unfamiliar with the kitchen and those just starting to realize that the kitchen is where they'll be spending a LOT of time in the future, this book will become invaluable. I've been recommending it to lots of people and I think it is the PERFECT gift to give to young mothers and newlyweds. But it will be equally appreciated by moms who never learned to cook and want to break their families out of the "take-out" rut.
recipe(s) I have already tried:
Simple Fresh Mozzarella Pasta Casserole - A simple, cheesy pasta salad perfectly paired with Vodka Sauce. Everybody loved it.
Pigs in a Blanket - A childhood favorite of my own, but made with mini-dogs instead of full size. I loved her suggestions of topping with sesame seeds or poppy seeds. An all-around family favorite for dinner, game food, or party food.
One-Skillet Cheesy Beef and Macaroni (or Goulash to me) - This one-skillet dish reminded me of what I grew up calling goulash. A great starter, but we all agreed it needed a little something more. Thinking back on that goulash, it's gotta be a heaping spoonful of sour cream stirred in. However, it all got eaten.
Lasagna w/ Turkey Meat Sauce - My new favorite lasagna and meat sauce. I'll be making this often in big batches to freeze for later and to share with somebody who needs a meal.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Squares - Ummmm...do you love Reese's? Because we do. Very similar to homemade peanut butter cups, these bars are a rich, satisfying dessert option or lunch box treat. A little square'll do ya!
Cookstr and a food writer whose work has appeared in The Huffington Post, The Daily Beast, AOL Food, and other publications. She lives with her husband and two children in New York City. Read more "about Katie" on The Mom 100 site.
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*I DID NOT receive a free copy of, nor any compensation for reviewing this book. I just liked it and wanted to share my thoughts. All opinions stated in this post are 100% my own.
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