Southern Living What’s for Supper: 30-Minute Meals Everyone Will Love by Vanessa McNeil Rocchio (Oxmoor House, $19.95)
Vanessa McNeil Rocchio , a test kitchen specialist for Southern Living magazine, has gathered 250 exceptional recipes for this new collection. The featured recipes are delicious, nutritious and require 30 minutes or less to prepare. This is a perfect cookbook for busy cooks who are faced with the big question of what to put on the family supper table.
The recipes are divided into eight main sections: The Supper Table; Dinner’s in the Pantry; Don’t Drive Through, Drive Home; No-Cook Suppers; Slow Cooker; Picky Eaters; Cooking for Two; and Weeknight Company. The dishes are accessible and give new meaning to the words “fast food.” Even though the recipes require less than half an hour from kitchen to table, they do not taste like a supper that has been slapped together.
In addition to the recipes, there are expert tips, cooking wisdom, and time-saving tricks. Since dinnertime should also be quality time, this cookbook even has dozens of fun conversational topics and ideas to help promote family togetherness. The luscious full-page color photos add just the right touch.
Nothing is better than coming home after a hectic day to be greeted by the aroma of something slow cooking in the kitchen. This excellent cookbook serves up such tasty slow-cooker favorites as Beef Stew, Roast and Gravy, and traditional Red Beans and Rice. “Dinner’s in the Pantry” highlight meals that can be put together with ingredients on hand, and the “Picky Eaters” chapter has crowd-pleasing dishes that even the kids will love.
If you are an empty nester or cook for two, you know It isn’t always easy. Vanessa has pared-down recipes perfect for a hungry couple. From Grilled Steak and Potatoes to Creamy Dijon Lamp Chops, the portions might be reduced but none of the taste has been sacrificed.
This is an excellent cookbook that certainly lives up to the standards of Southern Living magazine. Cooks will be pleased to find many traditional favorites such as Chicken-Fried Chicken, Smothered Pork Chops over Rice, and Shrimp and Grits, as well as innovative new dishes.
I tested three recipes from this cookbook. Since the week I prepared dishes from this collection was hot with afternoon temperatures well above the century mark, my first pick was from “No-Cook Suppers.” From that section, I made the Tex-Mex Beef-and-Beans Chopped Salad which I shared with company. I am never very far away from my slow cooker and made Chicken-and-Spinach Lasagna for my second dish. Since a friend gave me some tomatoes from her garden, I next made a surprisingly tasty Herbed Tomato Tart.
I highly recommend this cookbook.
TEX-MEX BEEF-and-BEANS CHOPPED SALAD
Makes 6 servings
¼ c bottled Ranch dressing
½ c refrigerated salsa (I used Pace, chunky medium)
2 (10-oz) packages hearts of romaine lettuce, chopped
1 (15-oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
3 cups coarsely crushed tortilla chips
6 oz Jack cheese, cut into small cubes
1 c seeded and chopped cucumber
1 c cliced jicama
3 plum tomatoes, chopped
1 medium avocado, chopped
¾ lb. sliced barbecued beef brisket, without sauce, warmed
Stir together first two ingredients in a small bowl.
Toss together romaine and next 7 ingredients. Drizzle with dressing mixture, and top with brisket. Serve immediately.
Note: To seed a cucumber is easier than you think. Simply cut in half lengthwise, and scrape the seeds with a spoon.