02 July 2011

Weekend Cooking: Keep It Simple by Marian Burros

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Marian Burros's Keep It Simple: 30-Minute Meals from Scratch has been one of my go-to cookbooks for years. The recipes are easy to make, use fresh ingredients, and can be made on a weeknight after work. Between us, my mom and I have made almost every recipe in this book.

The book is arranged by meat, chicken, fish, and vegetarian, and recipes are presented as menus--complete with main dish, side dish, and salad. Each menu also comes with a list of pantry items, a shopping list, and a game plan. The game plan is an outline to help less-experienced cooks create the meal from raw ingredients to serving dish in just about 30 minutes.

Here is a meal I make often, usually substituting boneless chicken breasts (and thus adjusting the cooking time a bit). I make brown rice in my rice cooker (takes more than 30 minutes), but I'll give the directions from the cookbook. Because I rarely make the recommended salad (substituting a tossed salad instead), I'm omitting that recipe.

Mexican Menu for Three

Cinnamon Chicken
  • 6 or 7 chicken drumsticks or thighs
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon each ground cinnamon and cloves
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 large clove garlic
  • 3/4 cup orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons raisins
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • 1/3 cup slivered almonds
Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper, cinnamon, and cloves. Brown chicken over medium-high heat in hot oil on one side. Chop onion coarsely and put garlic through press. When ready to turn chicken, add onion and garlic, raisins, and capers and cook, covered, until chicken is tender, about 15 minutes. Add almonds; stir a minute and serve.

Chili Cheese Rice
  • 1/2 cup enriched white rice or parboiled brown rice
  • 1 cup water
  • 3/4 cup plain yogurt or a mixture of yogurt and sour cream
  • 1 (4-ounce) can chopped green chiles
  • 2 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, cut into small cubes
  • 2 tablespoons Cheddar cheddar cheese, cut into small cubes
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Combine rice with water. Salt, if desired. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cook, covered, until all liquid is absorbed and rice is tender. Mix yogurt with chiles. When rice is cooked, stir in cheeses and yogurt mixture; season with salt and pepper. Cover and allow the cheeses to melt.

Published by William Morrow, 1981
ISBN-13: 9780517100868
Copyright © cbl for Beth Fish Reads, all rights reserved (see review policy)


Rikki 7/2/11, 6:16 AM  

The rice sounds so yummy. I love cheese, so this is a great recipe for me. Will give it a try. I just have to look for something that is like Monterey Jack cheese, I don't think we can get that here.

Marg 7/2/11, 7:20 AM  

My son likes Mexican food so we might try this one. Like Rikki, I am pretty sure we don't get Monterey Jack cheese here, so will try some substitutes.

Carol @ There's Always Thyme to Cook 7/2/11, 7:29 AM  

Both recipes sound delicious. Definitely will make the rice sooner than later. Looks like a nice book, I enjoy her in the NY Times. She has a fantastic plum torte recipe, too!

Molly 7/2/11, 8:44 AM  

Chili Cheese rice sounds delicious - I will be fixing that some day soon!

So I guess Rachel Ray did not coin the idea of 30 minute meals, huh? :)

caite 7/2/11, 9:01 AM  

Thinking I have all the ingredients for that rice on hand..I see that in my very near future.
Thanks heaven for copy/paste!

Chrisbookarama 7/2/11, 9:02 AM  

Sounds easy and really good too!

Sheila (Bookjourney) 7/2/11, 9:32 AM  

This sounds so good! I like that between you and your mom you have made almost every recipe in this book - what memories!

Heather 7/2/11, 10:46 AM  

This sounds like a tasty meal. I don't make drumsticks, but this is definitely tempting me. Thanks.

today I am entering my first read-a-thon. It's the 1st Canadian read-a-thon which is part of the 5th Canadian Book Challenge. I'll be posting frequent updates to my blog as well as a link to the host's site. i'll need a variety of good weekend type food to keep me awake and reading.

Zibilee 7/2/11, 11:16 AM  

If I did this one, I would probably also substitute the drumsticks for chicken breasts. I also really like the sound of that rice! I am always looking for some way to jazz up the starches I serve my family, and this rice recipe sounds amazing! Thanks for sharing it!

Margot 7/2/11, 11:45 AM  

I like the idea of getting a whole menu in the cookbook. No need to hunt for another recipe for side dishes. I'm definitely trying the rice dish.

Peaceful Reader 7/2/11, 11:55 AM  

This sounds delicious and I just got new chickens...perfect!

Sharon's Garden of Book Reviews 7/2/11, 1:20 PM  

Hi Beth - I've been seeing Sheila post her recipes here for ages, and thought I'd dive in and participate too! Loved the cheesy rice recipe - just might have to include that with our pinto beans tomorrow! Have a great weekend!!

Vicki 7/2/11, 2:08 PM  

I love keeping cooking simple. Little time, few ingredients!

We LOVE Mexican food and both recipes sound great!

Uniflame 7/2/11, 2:34 PM  

I do love Mexican food :) This sounds like a great book!

bermudaonion 7/2/11, 7:27 PM  

Ooh, I bet that chicken's good with the cinnamon in there!

Belle Wong 7/2/11, 8:42 PM  

Both dishes sound delicious. I like the idea of cinnamon with chicken, and while I don't normally eat a lot of chili, this version sounds good!

Anita 7/2/11, 9:11 PM  

Yumm, and I have most of this on hand! Thank you!

Lisa@ButteryBooks 7/3/11, 11:07 AM  

I was surprised to see that it was published in 1981...that cover looks so 1970s!! I love my old cookbooks like this one...the ones where the pages have turned a brownish color and there are little drops of food here and there from my mom.

Lynda 7/3/11, 1:11 PM  

Back blogging - back to participating in Weekend Cooking ;0)

Pam (@iwriteinbooks) 7/4/11, 7:12 AM  

Yum on the chili cheese rice!!!

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