Strategies for Getting Meals on the Table

Reviews by Kristina Sepetys

Looking for ways to get healthy, well-balanced meals on the table quickly? Most cooks know tricks like planning out meals at the beginning of the week and making shopping lists, keeping a well-stocked pantry, and cooking enough to include leftovers. These three new cookbooks give you some additional ideas by offering a variety of tips and tricks for making delicious, balanced, cost-effective meals faster and easier.


Fast to the Table Freezer Cookbook:
Freezer-Friendly Recipes and Frozen Food Shortcuts

by Becky Rosenthal
(Countryman Press, 2016)

Becky Rosenthal authors the popular cooking and lifestyle blog The Vintage Mixer. In her latest cookbook, Rosenthal demonstrates how to make your freezer work for you. If you buy groceries in bulk, discover how to break down your purchases into usable, smaller servings to freeze and incorporate into dishes for later. If you love to get your fruits, vegetables, meat, and more from a farmers’ market, but have a hard time eating everything before it spoils, learn how to freeze produce or prepare meals to freeze. And if you need more of a shortcut, buy frozen ingredients to use for recipes like Beef Pot Pie with Peas, Carrots, and Pearl Onions (from the freezer: piecrust, beef, vegetables); Corn Cakes with Pulled Pork and Cherry Salsa (from the freezer: pulled pork, cherries, make-ahead corn pancakes).


Dinner Made Simple:
35 Everyday Ingredients, 350 Easy Recipes

by the editors of Real Simple magazine
(Oxmoor House, 2016)

I’ve always had good luck cooking recipes from Real Simple magazine. I’ve found them forgiving, reliable, and tasty. Many are now in regular rotation with my other standards. The latest cookbook from the magazine’s editors shows you how to spin 35 basic ingredients into hundreds of hassle-free dishes. Organized from apples to zucchini, Dinner Made Simple offers 350 easy, quick dishes, many ready in 30 minutes or less. With ten ideas for every ingredient, you’ll never look at a box of spaghetti, a bunch of carrots, or a ball of pizza dough the same way again.


Amazing Recipe Makeovers:
200 Classic Dishes at 1/2 the Fat, Calories, Salt, or Sugar

by the editors of Cooking Light magazine
(Oxmoor House, 2016)

Throwing a meal together at the last minute unfortunately often means going heavy on fat, sugar and calories for flavor. Here’s a collection of Cooking Light’s best recipes for healthier versions of your favorite foods. The experts at Cooking Light start with familiar favorites, then reduce the calories, sodium, fat, or sugar by half by adding zing with citrus and pureeing vegetables to add body. Discover 200 tested-and-perfected recipes for all the best comfort, takeout, party, and classic foods. Dishes include freezer-friendly Pork and Shitake Pot Stickers to keep on hand for busy nights, and French Onion Soup with a fraction of the sodium. Try reworked favorites like fresh mozzarella-topped Eggplant Parmesan, Twice-Baked Potatoes and Meatballs with Spiced Tomato Sauce, Heirloom Tomato Pie with Cornmeal Crust, Gluten-Free Tiramisu, and a low-calorie Chocolate Molten Lava Cake.