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Lately, I've been hearing the same thoughts over and over again concerning making dinner: It seems that everyone wants healthful meals but no one wants to spend a lot of time or money to make them. Aviva Goldfarb has the answers.
I have been a fan of Aviva's for a number of years now. I own her first cookbook, The Six O'Clock Scramble, and I have subscribed to her weekly online service of the same name, which gives you a week's worth of easy, tasty, and healthful meals. Keep on reading because one lucky reader will win both the new cookbook and a 3-month subscription to Aviva's online recipe service.
I'm also excited that Aviva will be a guest here on Beth Fish Reads next Thursday. Don't miss her guest post.
Her newest cookbook is SOS! The Six O'Clock Scramble to the Rescue, and, as the subtitle says, it is full of Earth-Friendly, Kid-Pleasing Dinners for Busy Families. Aviva starts out by introducing herself and the philosophy behind her recipes and the book. She is a strong believer in buying local and cooking with fresh ingredients when possible.
SOS! is organized by season, and each section starts out with five suggested weekly menus. A table of contents groups the recipes by type and provides prep and cooking times. Each section opener is printed on green paper, so it is easy to turn right to each part. The index is well organized, so you can find recipes that way too.
Throughout the cookbook, there are boxes with tips on a variety of topics such as how to use ingredients, how to be a smarter shopper, and how to store foods. You'll also find information about Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs, introducing your kids to new foods, and even how to compost.
Okay, so what about the recipes? The flavors you'll find in SOS! range from Cuban to Indonesian, Greek, Mexican, Italian, and Asian. Each recipe includes prep time and cooking time. Almost all of the recipes can be made and cooked in 30 minutes, although some, like meat loaf, may take just a few minutes to prepare but require an hour or so to cook or bake. Included with each recipe is also nutritional information for the main dish and for the suggested side dish.
All the recipes I looked at used easy to find ingredients and required only basic cooking skills. One of the things I love about Aviva's recipes is that she provides extra information at the end of each one. You'll find tips, side dish suggestions, slow cooker or microwave instructions, and "flavor boosters" (for those of us who like a bit of spice). A lot of the meat dishes come with vegetarian options.
The only complaint I have about SOS! is that it was incredibly difficult to choose a recipe to share with you. Here are some of the recipes I considered:
- Rosemary-Lemon Pork Chops with Yogurt-Feta Sauce
- Chili-Rubbed Salmon with Garlic-Roasted Fingerling Potatoes
- Warm Pasta Salad with Arugula or Spinach,
- Thai Sweet-and Sour Chicken Wraps
- Santa Fe–Style Beef Stew
Mango and Black Bean Salad
Prep + Cook = 20 minutes + 10 minutes to 24 hours to chill (optional)
- ¾–1 cup quick-cooking brown rice (2 cups prepared)
- 1 can (15 ounces) black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1–1½ cups fresh or frozen mango, cut in ½-inch chunks
- ¼ sweet yellow onion, such as Vidalla, finely diced (about 1 cup)
- ¼ cup scallions, green parts only, or chives, finely chopped
- 1 lime, juice only (2–3 tablespoons)
- ¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped (optional)
- ¼ teaspoon salt or to taste
- 6 large Boston or butter lettuce leaves (optional)
- 6 whole wheat tortillas for serving (optional)
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the beans, mango, onions, scallions, lime juice, and cilantro. Combine the cooled rice with the ingredients in the large bowl, season it with the salt, and toss it gently. Chill it for at least 10 minutes (an hour or more is ideal) and up to 24 hours. (Meanwhile prepare the side dish.)
Serve the salad on its own or wrapped in large lettuce leaves or a warm tortilla or both, topped with sliced avocado (see side dish), if desired.
Scramble Flavor Booster: Stir in fresh cilantro and serve the salad with spicy salsa.
Tip: If you don't like raw onions, saute them first until they are lightly browned. If you have picky eaters, put some of the beans and rice aside before combining the rest of the ingredients and let them have simple black bean and rice burritos with mango on the side.
Side Dish Suggestion: Peel and slice 2 to 4 avocados and sprinkle them with 1 to 4 teaspoons fresh lime juice (about 1 teaspoon per avocado) and ⅛ to ½ teaspoon salt (⅛ teaspoon per avocado). (Or mash the avocados with the juice and salt to make a guacamole.)
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Source: Review (see review policy)
Now for the giveaway part! I'm really excited about this fabulous giveaway. One lucky reader from the U.S. or Canada will not only win a copy of SOS! The Six O'Clock Scramble to the Rescue but will also win a 3-month subscription ($19.50 value) to Aviva's Six-O'Clock Scramble program, an online dinner-planning service (click the link for more information). This is a terrific service—I know because I've been a subscriber in the past. Each week you get seven main-dish recipes, each with side dishes and tips. And all are healthful, easy, tasty, and fast. Truly you don't want to miss out on this.
Here's how to enter the giveaway: Just leave a comment stating that you want to enter the giveaway and be sure to leave an email address; if I can't contact you, you can't win. Winners must have a U.S. or Canadian mailing address. I'll pick a winner via a random-number generator in the morning of June 19.