22 August 2015

Weekend Cooking: Dinner Solved! by Katie Workman

Weekend Cooking hosted by www.BethFishReads.comWeekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book reviews (novel, nonfiction), cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs, restaurant reviews, travel information, or fun food facts. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog's home page.

Dinner Solved! by Katie WorkmanI was so thrilled to get a copy of Katie Workman's new cookbook, Dinner Solved!, that I've already made three recipes from it and I've owned the book for only four days! Seriously, this book is going to be my best kitchen buddy for the next several months and will remain a close friend for years.

This will come as no surprise to any of you who have tried Workman's first book, The Mom 100 Cookbook (check out my interview/review). And good news: Dinner Solved! includes all the great features of the earlier cookbook plus another hundred easy, delicious, and healthful recipes.

I cannot review any Workman Publishing cookbook without raving about the design. Their book design team is tops. The beautiful photography, easy-to-read fonts, appealing colors, and cute icons make Dinner Solved! a joy look through. (Note: All the photos in this post were scanned from the cookbook; all rights remain with Workman Publishing.)

Of course, pretty gets you nowhere when it comes time to get a meal on the table. Fortunately Workman has you covered, making it easy to feed your whole family. She takes into consideration such factors as different tastes, vegetarian diets, and just plain individual quirks.

The key is her trademark Fork in the Road advice. What is this little piece of brilliance? It's the point at which you can divide your main dish into portions to satisfy both the adventurous eaters and the cautious eaters (or meat-eaters and vegetarians), without having to make two completely different meals and without having to sacrifice your own tastes to please the other diners at your table.

Here's an example: Let's say you're craving shrimp and Mexican, so you decide to make the Shrimp Tacos recipe. You love shrimp but rarely make it because no one else in your house will eat it. No problem. Simply make the tomato-based taco filling, separating out a serving for yourself at the end. Then add chicken to the larger portion and shrimp to the smaller. You all get to eat tacos, everyone is happy, and there was very little extra work for the cook.

Dinner Solved! is full of great advice: cooking tips, ideas for getting the kids involved, make ahead alerts, and more. Even the most timid cook will find the recipes accessible and doable. The ingredients are readily available and mostly fresh, although Workman doesn't hesitate to use a little convenience when it makes sense, as in canned tomato products.

Do not be fooled by the family-oriented slant to the recipes and text. This is a cookbook for everyone, no matter what group is sitting around your dinner table. Just because the meals will appeal to youngsters doesn't mean the dinners are childish. These dishes are flavorful and fresh, with wide appeal.

So what have I made? I made the Lemon-Horseradish Potato Salad (the Fork in the Road is for a more classic dressing), the Spanish Pork Chops (the Fork in the Road is a less spicy version), and the Maple-Barbecue Pork Meatballs (I made the Fork in the Road spicy variation). What else do I have my eye on? Everything! Okay, here are some recipes I have marked to try:
  • Mexican Tortilla Soup
  • Savory Zucchini Puff Pastry Tarts
  • Vegetable Lo Mein
  • Chicken Vegetable Potpie Casserole
  • Sausage, White Bean, and Kale Soup
There are so many great ideas in Dinner Solved!--vegetarian meals, Southwest-inspired dishes, down-home comfort foods, simple pastas, and hearty soups (oh, and appetizers and desserts!)--that I promise you'll find plenty to love in Katie Workman's new cookbook. I'll be turning to Dinner Solved! time and time again; this is a cookbook with staying power.

Maple-Barbecue Pork Meatballs
Serves 6 (makes 42 small meatballs)
  • Canola or vegetable oil, for oiling the pan
  • ¾ cup panko bread crumbs
  • ½ cup barbecue sauce, plus more for dipping if you like
  • ½ cup grated peeled apple
  • ⅓ cup minced onion
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • Kosher or coarse salt, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup or see Fork in the Road for a spicy swap-in
  • 1½ pounds ground pork
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly oil a rimmed baking sheet.

Combine the bread crumbs, barbecue sauce, apple, onion, egg, and salt in a large bowl. Add the maple syrup and stir to blend. Add the pork and combine well using your hands, but try not to squeeze the mixture too much. Form into 1-inch-round meatballs and place them on the baking sheet.

Bake the meatballs until cooked through, 16 to 20 minutes. Serve hot, with extra barbecue sauce on the side.
Fork in the Road: Spicy Pork Meatballs

Instead of the maple syrup add 2 teaspoons chili powder and pinch of cayenne pepper to the apple mixture. Add the pork, combine, and bake as directed.

To go half sweet and half spicy, divide the panko mixture at the beginning of [the second step] into 2 bowls. Add 1½ teaspoons maple syrup and half the pork to one bowl, and 1 teaspoon chili powder, a small pinch of cayenne, and the other half of the pork to the other bowl. Blend, form, and bake as directed (be sure to separate the spicy and nonspicy meatballs on the baking sheet).
BFR's notes: I didn't oil the sheet pan; I used a piece of parchment instead. I made the spicy version, and we loved these meatballs! Workman suggests serving them on rice or couscous, but we used them to make meatball sandwiches. Delicious!

Published by Workman, August 2015
ISBN-13: 9780761181873
Source: Review (see review policy)
Copyright © cbl for Beth Fish Reads, all rights reserved (see review policy)


Tina 8/22/15, 7:11 AM  

With such a glowing review I have to get my hands on a copy of this book. You made several recipes from it already and love it so that's a great sign of s good book. I like the meatballs you made.
That Fork in the Road section would be something I could have used years ago when my son lived at home.

Sarah (Sarah's Book Shelves) 8/22/15, 7:46 AM  

Those meatballs look scrumptious! And I've been thinking about what will happen when my children get old enough to eat dinner with us (i.e. have later bedtimes)...right now they eat their kid food at 5:45/6 and my husband and I eat our adult food around 7:30 once they're in bed. And - I love trying adventurous stuff in my cooking and was hoping I wouldn't have to drop that when the kids get older....this fork in the road thing is brilliant!!

bermudaonion 8/22/15, 8:17 AM  

The Mom 100 Cookbook was fantastic so I will be checking this out for sure!!

Katherine P 8/22/15, 8:39 AM  

This looks fantastic! I love horseradish and I'm drooling over just the thought of that potato salad and those meatballs sound amazing. This definitely looks like my kind of cookbook!

Jackie McGuinness 8/22/15, 8:40 AM  

This book does sound great. I will definitely make these meatballs, intrigued by the apple addition.

Trish @ Love, Laughter, Insanity 8/22/15, 8:59 AM  

I can't wait to get my copy in the mail! I never fan girl over authors, but I have become such a fan girl of Katie Workman--just love her and her first cookbook. Love the easy and delicious recipes but also her down to earth approach. So thrilled to hear that this one is another pleaser.

Kay 8/22/15, 9:25 AM  

OH, I'm betting my husband would love these. Me too, but him especially. Putting this cookbook on my list. Happily, I have a Barnes & Noble giftcard that is just begging to be used. Isn't that convenient? LOL

(Diane) bookchickdi 8/22/15, 9:36 AM  

Workman is peerless in their book design. This one sounds fantastic, I'm going to look for this one.

rhapsodyinbooks 8/22/15, 9:40 AM  

This sounds great. In my house, we always need a "fork in the road"!

Vicki 8/22/15, 11:50 AM  

Three recipes in four days? It must be a good one. I'll have to find a copy.

Sheila (Bookjourney) 8/22/15, 12:34 PM  

This book looks great - any way I can make cooking delicious and easy I am in :)

Create With Joy 8/22/15, 1:34 PM  

Great review Beth - and I love the recipe you shared!
Thanks for hosting - have a fabulous weekend!

Katherine P 8/22/15, 3:44 PM  

Just discovered this was less than $10 on Amazon and I couldn't resit. My cookbook shelves do not thank you but I'm excited to give this book a try!

Carole 8/22/15, 4:47 PM  

I'm going to look out for this one. Cheers

Anonymous,  8/22/15, 5:09 PM  

Oh, another book to add to my list. I'm always looking for ways to expand on a meal.

Nan 8/22/15, 6:20 PM  

I really like a cookbook that supports different tastes in food. I get so tired of the 'picky eater' label. I always correct people and say the person is a 'discerning eater.' We still cling to the old culture of eating everything on one's plate, which to me is crazy. This sounds great, and I hope it sells well.

Sue Jackson 8/23/15, 12:14 PM  

I've been hearing a lot about this cookbook, but your review really made me want to try it!

I did think it was focused just on families with picky eaters (my sons are 17 and 21 and not at all picky!), so I appreciated you clarifying that. My mother is a vegetarian, her husband likes tons of meat, and we eat mostly Paleo, so I certainly do have times when I could use one of those fork-in-the-road recipes!

The recipes you listed all sound delicious - Lemon Horseradish Potato Salad? Yum!


Leslie (Under My Apple Tree) 8/23/15, 3:29 PM  

I love the Fork in the Road idea! My husband is a fussy eater, ie likes traditional recipes, while I like to try new combinations.

Laurie C 8/23/15, 4:43 PM  

It's so much easier to please only two people at mealtime, adding even one more person to the mix usually means some variation to the original meal plan around here. I wondered if the author was related to the Workman publishing family, and apparently so! I love the look of their books also.

shelleyrae @ book'd out 8/24/15, 6:50 AM  

I wanted to request this but I couldn't fit any more books in this month, wish I had anyway!

Molly 8/24/15, 8:22 AM  

I will definitely check out all the Workman Publishing cookbooks you recommend. I want to start cooking more at home, but I need some good reliable resources to help me expand my repertoire :)

The fork in the road idea sounds wonderful! I wonder for a family of two if it would work to create two meals at once - one for now and one for later?

Margot 8/26/15, 12:55 AM  

The fork-in-the-road idea is brilliant! I've been looking for something like that. I am tired of planning and preparing for the meat lovers and the meat haters at the same meal. Plus, those meatballs look and sound terrific. Thanks.

ChaosIsAFriendOfMine 8/27/15, 8:53 AM  

I LOVE the Fork in the Road idea! Dinner time is a nightly battle with my kids. It'd be nice for that to stop. Or at least lessen!

Bree 9/7/15, 1:38 PM  

She sounds like a really good cookbook author. I love the idea of Fork in the Road. I do that myself to recipes and then hope for the best that it actually works. It would be nice to see a recipe that already gives your tried-and-true suggestions.

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