Psalm 27:1

The Lord is my light and my salvation—
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life—
of whom shall I be afraid?

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Don't Panic Cook Book Review

Summary:  Great meals for your busy family! 
     We’re all busy, but that doesn’t mean we have to eat like we are.  You don’t have to settle for feeding your family commercially packaged meals­­­­ full of sodium and preservatives or fat-laced fast food.  Quick and healthy meals from your very own kitchen are easy with delicious recipes like

·         Southwestern Baked Cheese Dip
·         Thai Chicken Wraps
·         Walnut Spinach Salad
·         Homestyle Mac & Cheese
·         Slow Cooker Pork Chops
·         Oven Roasted Orange Chicken
·         Grilled Flat Iron Steak Sandwiches
·         Spicy Shrimp and Asparagus Stir-Fry
·         Fruit Pizza
·         Mexican Chocolate Mousse
·         And many more

     From quick meals made on the grill or in the sauté’ pan to crockpot dishes that require little prep and cook while you’re out for the day, the recipes in this cookbook are tasty and nutritious – and require less hands-on preparation that traditional meals.  Easy appetizers and desserts; one-dish casseroles and pastas; simple soups, salads and side dishes; and even fast breakfasts round out the selections.  Meals that are freezer-friendly are marked for those who want to make ahead.

Give your family the best – the easy way!

REVIEW:  My family is very busy this time of year.  Between school, baseball/softball games and practices, and other activities and commitments, we usually eat dinner around 4:30 p.m. and rush out the door.  Plus, I am always looking for a quicker, easier way to cook and save money while trying not to serve my family the same things all the time.  Because of this, I thought this book should be something to check out. 
     There were two recipes I tried.  The first was the Lemon Chicken (page 121). I served it with brown rice and seasoned green beans.  It took me about 30 minutes to prep and get into the crockpot­ instead of the estimated 20­­­.  My boys and husband loved it and have asked if I could serve it again soon.  My daughter and I were okay with it – it didn’t wow us like it did the others – but once we put a little of the broth it cooked in over the meat and rice, it tasted better and wasn’t as dry.
     The second recipe I made was the Italian Chicken (page 138).  Here's the recipe:

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cup Italian dressing
1 3/4 cups Ritz crackers, crushed
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 T. lemon juice

Place chicken breasts in gallon-sized plastic storage bag.  Pour Italian dressing over chicken and marinate in refrigerator for 3-4 hours.  Combine cracker crumbs and parmesan cheese.  After chicken has marinated, coat each breast with cracker crumb mixture.  Place chicken breasts in baking dish and bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes, until chicken is tender and no longer pink.

While chicken is baking, melt butter in small saucepan and add lemon juice.  Simmer for 2-3 minutes.  Drizzle lemon butter over chicken and serve immediately.

     I served it with Normandy vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, zucchini and yellow squash).  From the start, I really wanted to make this but the hardest part was finding time early enough to marinate the chicken.  The recipe was easy and fairly quick to put together.  My three kids liked it and so did my husband.  I thought the chicken could use a little more flavor but, overall, I liked it.
     The title suggests these recipes are quick and easy.  It may have just been the first recipe I picked but most of them didn't seem that way.  Also, I was expecting recipes that utilize a combination of fresh ingredients and boxed and canned packages (something along the lines of Food Network’s Sandra Lee’s show) that were simple and fast, which it didn't.  A lot of the recipes required items I don’t normally keep in my kitchen like red/white wine, half and half or heavy cream, and herbs and spices like rosemary, thyme and curry.
     Now, that said, the Lemon Chicken and Italian Chicken were delicious.  There are a few more recipes I am interested in trying when I have more time.  The book is set up in an easy-to-use way with codes to help you find recipes to fit your needs (i.e. quick, author’s favorites, entertaining, etc).  This is a cook book that I will keep handy and use again. 

This book was provided by Revell for review without compensation.

Available April 2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of 
Baker Publishing Group.

Susie Martinez is a professional counselor with a private counseling practice in Lakewood, Colorado.  She has been married to her husband, Joe (whom she adores), for twenty-five years and has two children.

Vanda Howell is a busy wife and mom who works part-time as a kitchen design consultant.  She is a Denver native and has been married to her husband, Mike, for twenty-nine years.

Bonnie Garcia keeps busy with her husband, Steve, three teenage sons, and golden retriever, Gracie.  She is a pediatric nurse in a pediatric practice in the Denver area.

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