Getting a decent dinner on the table can be quite a challenge on days when Stephanie and I both work. On days when I actually have time to make dinner before Steph gets home, I'm usually missing a few ingredients for the recipe I want to make. We have tried planning out our own menus and keeping ingredients in stock, but we never seem to be able to make it work. Fresh vegetables go bad, ingredients get used for other things, we run out of onions, etc.
A few years ago, Steph got a book called Once-A-Month-Cooking. You can choose from a two-week cycle, a one-month cycle, or a low-fat cycle. You get all of your ingredients from the grocery store (a shopping list is included) and then spend 8 grueling hours dirtying every pot, pan, and spatula you own. All of the meals are then frozen until they are needed.
We always made the two-week option because we found that it lasted us at least a month (with leftovers and going out, etc). Most of the dishes were a snap to reheat on the day of the meal, but some still required a decent amount of preparation. Some of the meals, like Linguine Ala Anne and Chili BBQ Hamburgers (our new default hamburger recipe) were quite delicious, while others left much to be desired. If it wasn't for that grueling day of cooking, we would probably use it more often -- but I would really hate to see the cooking day for the full month optionů
While on vacation in Victoria, our friend Laurel told us about Lifes On Fire, a cookbook for those who don't have a lot of time to get a meal on the table. Sometime during the week, Steph found a couple of books by the same author, Sandi Richard. She ended up buying The Healthy Family, part of Sandi's Cooking For The Rushed series.
A good portion of The Healthy Family is spent talking about basic nutrition, healthy eating, and exercise -- some very good, factual information. The rest of the book is about cooking using Sandi's very effective methods.
You choose one of the seven planned out weeks, and then go shopping for ingredients using the included lists (which you can also download from their website). On the day of a meal, you just follow the easy instructions and quickly whip up a full dinner. The recipes are spelled out very much like Cook's Illustrated's are, but much less complicated. It doesn't matter which meal you do first, as long as the ingredients were on your shopping list (each week has a different list).
We have completed one of the weeks from The Healthy Family, and we are very much looking forward to the other six weeks. The meals are very tasty, yet very healthy -- and nothing gets freezer burnt. Obviously the recipes are not on par with those from Caprial or Marcella, but for everyday dinners, they do just fine.
If your busy life makes it difficult to get a healthy dinner on the table, you may want to check out The Healthy Family. I highly recommend itůPosted by jethro at April 11, 2005 01:35 PM | TrackBack