18 September 2010

Weekend Cooking: Review: Time for Dinner by Pilar Guzman, Jenny Rosenstrach, and Alanna Stang

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The seasons are changing, which means school's back in session in the Northern Hemisphere and the Southern is beginning to look forward to warmer days. In either case, families are busy and cooks are looking for a little help. Pilar Buman, Jenny Rosenstrach, and Alanna Stang have come to your rescue. Time for Dinner lives up to its subtitle and indeed offers "Strategies, Inspiration, and Recipes for Family Meals Every Night of the Week."

Before I run you through the book, I have to comment on how beautifully it's put together. Every page has eye appeal. Throughout you'll find black and white drawings, clear and colorful photographs, attractive fonts, and a pleasing layout. This is a cookbook you'll enjoy looking at and reading as much as cooking from.

I love the chapter titles because they reflect the authors' casual, playful, yet practical approach to cooking. Here are two: "If I Could Just Make It to Wednesday" and " I Want Something Simple, Fast, and Hard to Screw Up." Don't they reflect real life?

One of the chapters I really like starts you off with a Sunday dinner and then tells you how to transform the leftovers into new meals early in the week. For example a dinner consisting of a pork roast, squash, barley, and apples can later become sandwiches, soup, muffins, salad, and more. There is a photograph of each transformation.

The recipes use easy-to-find ingredients and include a wide range of flavors, from Asian to Mexican to European. There are quick recipes, slow dishes, healthy use-what's-in-the-pantry meals, and recipes that can be adapted for individual preferences. Each one comes with approximate cooking and prep times, a photograph, and clear and easy directions.

One chapter helps you base a meal on what you have on hand by suggesting three different meals centered on a single ingredient. For example, if you have fresh tomatoes, you could make a pasta dish, sandwiches, or a tabbouleh salad, depending on what else you have in the house.

Here are some recipes to give you an idea what you'll find: Creamy Chicken with Shallots; Grilled Skirt Steak with Blender Chimichurri; Halibut, Chickpea, & Squash Stew; Spring-Vegetable Omelet; Personal-Pan Lasagnas; and Beans and Toast.

Lemony Chicken with Potatoes & Gemolata

Active time: 20 minutes; total time 30 minutes
Serves 4
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and halved
  • 1 small onion, peeled and chopped
  • 6 smallish new potatoes, scrubbed and quartered
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • zest of 2 lemons
  • 1 small handful Italian parsley
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • salt
1. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat half the oil and brown the chicken with the garlic turning it a few times, about 8 minutes. Remove all to a large bowl.

2. Add the remaining oil to the pan and brown the onion and potatoes, about 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

3. Add the broth and juice, and increase the heat for about a minute, scraping up the brown bits in the pan. Return the chicken and its juices to the skillet. Cover, reduce heat to medium, and continue to cook until the potatoes are tender an the liquid has thickened, another 15 minutes.

4. Meanwhile make the gremolata: On a cutting board, chop all the ingredients together finely but not too finely. Sprinkle the mixture over the dish before serving.

Time for Dinner at Powell's
Time for Dinner at Book Depository
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Published by Chronicle Books, August 2010
ISBN-13: 9780811877428
YTD: 81
Source: Review (see review policy)
Rating: B
Copyright © cbl for Beth Fish Reads, all rights reserved (see review policy)


Sandy Nawrot 9/18/10, 7:40 AM  

This definitely sounds like one to hunt down! I'm off the library website.

Beth 9/18/10, 7:47 AM  

I love this approach to weeknight cooking--Martha Stewart's Everyday Food does something similar and I think it's why I'm so hooked!

Meghan 9/18/10, 8:20 AM  

This looks like a good one for me - I'd love to cook something on Sunday and have leftovers for the next couple of days. Quick and easy is pretty much all we can manage during the week! I'll add this one to the wishlist.

Molly 9/18/10, 8:34 AM  

Since school started I have tried to cook more "Sunday dinners" on the weekend so that I can feast on leftovers during the week rather than spending money on going out.

I desperately need to learn some new recipes that show me what to do with ingredients on hand. I need to find this book for this chapter alone!

Erin 9/18/10, 8:45 AM  

It's so nice when cookbook authors have a sense of humor. The recipe looks delicious...I'll be trying it out just as soon as I've unpacked my poor kitchen!

bermudaonion 9/18/10, 9:37 AM  

I love the idea of a cookbook that helps you figure out what to do with leftovers. Of course, with Vance home right now, there are rarely any leftovers.

Heather 9/18/10, 10:27 AM  

Sounds like and interesting book. I am often stumped on what to feed them with what I have on hand. That's what I wrote about in my post this week. I wanted pasta, but what to add with it. eeks.

Diann @ The Thrifty Groove 9/18/10, 10:47 AM  

Well this does sound like a great book. I loved the titles of the chapters you mentioned. sounds right up my alley!

Have a great weekend!

Dawn @ sheIsTooFondOfBooks 9/18/10, 11:18 AM  

Like Beth (above) I'm hooked on Martha Stewart Everyday Food (I even noted it in my post today).

This cookbook sounds like one for my bookshelf; I've printed this sample recipe to try.

Margot at Joyfully Retired 9/18/10, 12:56 PM  

This cookbook looks like an excellent resource. I like their plan of Sunday dinner with specific ways to use the leftovers. The lemony chicken really looks good and has me putting lemons on my grocery list. If this is an example of the books recipes, I'm going to find this one.

Lynne Perednia 9/18/10, 1:15 PM  

Time for Dinner looks like another winner you've directed my attention to -- thanks!

Leslie @ Under My Apple Tree 9/18/10, 5:04 PM  

I need a new chicken recipe for tomorrow's dinner. I think I'll give this one a try. These are the kind of quick recipes I like.

caite 9/18/10, 7:19 PM  

that chicken sounds yummy...I love chicken with lemon.

Peaceful Reader 9/19/10, 12:18 AM  

I think this recipe book sounds wonderfully worthwhile! Very hands-on! Thanks for the review.

Julie P. 9/19/10, 6:24 AM  

Both the cookbook and the recipe you featured look fantastic!

Miri 9/19/10, 9:34 AM  

This recipe sounds perfect..quick and easy and close to one-dish. I love the idea of leftover recipes...have to look for this!

auntie-c 9/19/10, 11:54 AM  

chicken and lemon, always a great combo!

TopherGL 9/19/10, 3:49 PM  

This is great! I'm really a reluctant cook, but like to have things that last a while (leftovers) for the times that I do get to cooking. Thanks for the review.

Kim (Sophisticated Dorkiness) 9/19/10, 5:19 PM  

This does sound good; I love the chapter titles.

Jane in AUSTRALIA 9/19/10, 10:22 PM  

bit if a rush but mine's up

be back later

Marg 9/19/10, 10:30 PM  

This recipe looks easy and tasty! Going to give this one a go when the weather gets a little bit warmer.

IntrovertedJen 9/19/10, 11:15 PM  

I might even be able to work with this cookbook! I'm hoping that my work schedule will change soon so that I will actually have time to think about dinner. This sounds like a good cookbook to help me out with that.

Nicole (Linus's Blanket) 9/21/10, 5:38 PM  

Lemon chicken is not something I would have thought I would enjoy, but it is delicious. This looks like a great interpretation and combination.

Anonymous,  9/24/10, 9:12 AM  

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