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NO TIME TO SPARE? JUST BECAUSE YOU'RE BUSY, THAT DOESN'T MEAN YOU CAN'T EAT HEALTHY!
Vegetarian cooking will be not only a healthy mind- and body-altering experience, but also an experience that will be an easy, time-and-labor-saving process, and fun.
CHAPTER 1: GETTING READY BUT STAYING STEADY: THE VEGETARIAN KITCHEN
Taking the terror, mystery, and effort out of stocking your pantry, cabinets, freezer, and refrigerator, and selecting the finest fresh fruits and vegetables, pastas, grains, and cheeses.
CHAPTER 2: TAMING THE TECHNOLOGY
Using small appliances and labor-saving devices that take the drudgery out of vegetarian cooking.
CHAPTER 3: USING YOUR HEAD, NOT YOUR HANDS
How to take advantage of the many prepared, prepackaged, and ready-to-serve vegetarian foods available today while not sacrificing one molecule of taste.
CHAPTER 4: USING SHORTCUTS AND CREATIVITY TO MAKE YOUR VEGETARIAN COOKING LIFE SIMPLE, SIMPLER, SIMPLEST
Take control of your cooking, don't let it take control of you. This chapter will show you how to plan ahead and make the most of the little time you have. Remember, vegetarian cooking is a simple pleasure rather than a chore.
CHAPTER 5: CLEAN UP, DON'T MOVE OUT
How not to get overwhelmed by the dirty work.
CHAPTER 6: POP IT, DON'T DROP IT!--APPETIZERS AND PIZZA
Appetizers and pizza: simple but elegant vegetarian delights to make your mouth water, plus easy ways to feed the hungry luncheon crowd.
CHAPTER 7: ONE MEAL, FULL DEAL: SOUPS AND ONE-POT MEALS
Meatless "soup's on" and "pot's ready" meals that will tantalize the taste buds and stomach and warm the soul.
CHAPTER 8: DON'T COUNT THE BEANS; SAVOR 'EM: LEGUMES WITH PIZZAZZ
Terrific and flavorful bean main courses, side dishes, and salads.
CHAPTER 9: IT JUST GETS BIGGER AND BETTER EVERY DAY: PASTA
A multitude of dishes using pasta of every shape, color, consistency, and angle.
CHAPTER 10: DON'T DISCOUNT THE SPUD, BUD: POTATOES ARE GREAT
Ways to use this truly delicious and nutritious vegetable in a starring role.
CHAPTER 11: NIP IT, DIP IT, OR SKIP IT: SAY CHEESE
If your vegetarian perspective allows, cheese dishes can be essential elements of the repertoire.
CHAPTER 12: HEY, HUMPTY, YOU ARE UP TO BAT!
Eggs are all they're cracked up to be. If you're ovo lacto, eggs can fill the protein bill.
CHAPTER 13: BRAVE NEW CULINARY WORLD
Tofu takes the stage in a starring role.
CHAPTER 14: NOW THE REAL (M)EAT OF THE MATTER
Vegetables, vegetables, vegetables. For anyone past the age of six, vegetables are what it's all about!
CHAPTER 15: NOT RABBIT FOOD, JUST GOOD HABIT FOOD: SALADS AND BREADS
You don't need to be related to the Easter Bunny to enjoy a good salad! These salad and bread recipes are just what the doctor ordered!
CHAPTER 16: FINAL TEMPTATIONS
Who doesn't love sweets? A collection of dessert recipes, including Peach Martha Washington Cake and Broiled Pineapple slices.
CHAPTER 17: IT'S TIME FOR A PARTY: FESTIVE MEATLESS MEALS
Need party ideas? Lazy assembly and wise shopping make it a breeze to entertain.
A HOW TO GET SOMEONE ELSE TO DO IT
Really, you don't need to be a one-person cook and bottle-washing company--there are people out there whose jobs are to make your life simpler!
B IF YOU REALLY WANT MORE, READ THESE
Here's a list of books to check out if you want to know more.
C IF YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT IT MEANS/DOES, LOOK HERE
Not sure which tool you need for the job ahead of you? From blending to whisking, we've got you covered! Plus we've got a handy little measurement chart for you!
D IT'S TIME FOR YOUR REWARD
Congr atulations! You've become a vegetarian! Now is the time to reward yourself!
E SWAPS AND SUBSTITUTIONS
Whether you just don't have time to get to the store or you'd rather cut down on sugar or fat in your recipes, these swaps and substitutions might save the day!
F NUTRITION INFORMATION
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has made your nutrition their business. We've included a food guide pyramid for you so you can see how your foods should balance out. We've also included some information for you on what a serving size is and how many of which foods you need to have to stay healthy and happy!
WHERE TO FIND WHAT YOU'RE LOOKING FOR
[Figures are not included in this sample chapter]
Hey, why reinvent the wheel? Whenever possible, use prepackaged, prepared foodsto simplify vegetarian cooking. In an ideal world, all vegetarian recipes would beprepared from scratch, using the finest, freshest ingredients and large doses ofloving care without worrying about time in the pursuit of a higher goal. But forthe lazy cook, safe, healthy, and tasty dishes can be produced on a continual basiswithout expending half the time, energy, and usual frustration that gourmet cookingrequires.
To provide shortcuts to good, simple, vegetarian cooking, here are some shoppinghints for foods that should allow cooking ease and dispatch. Basically, it boilsdown to this: fresh, high-quality vegetarian ingredients usually need less time andeffort, and they always taste better.
The upside is that the quality and availability of processed and prepackaged foodshave exploded in recent years. Brand-name food manufacturers have discovered andappreciated the growing demand for products that are fresh, easy to prepare, andcome in meal-sized packages. A dazzling array of these products are now available,minced, diced, pureed, stewed, and simp ly or exotically preflavored.
By now, you should have obtained the basic staples for the kitchen, pantry, refrigerator,and freezer. You should have developed a plan for palming off your fresh fruit andvegetable decisions on your friendly produce manager. Now consider how to use yourhead rather than your hands in the modern, lazy, vegetarian kitchen. But remember,from this point onward, it's our secret.
Always use good vegetarian products from your supermarket when those productscan save you time and energy. Let the food manufacturers do these labor-intensivechores for you:
However, be sure to keep the manufacturers honest by:
QUICK 'N' PAINLESS
Spend some time at the service counter at your favorite supermarket. Here you can obtain a complete map of the store, specifying items by category and aisle, and a list of special services offered, including store policies concerning special orders and custom-preparation of foods for individual clients.
It wasn't so long ago when any self-respecting kitchen cook shuddered at the meremention of canned or processed foods. Sure, canned foods had some problems. Theywere hopelessly bland and usually incredibly salty.
Today, however, things have changed radically for the better. Food manufacturershave made fantastic strides at producing high-quality processed canned, frozen, dried,and prepackaged fresh foods that taste great. Have you seen all the processed foodsin beautiful clear glass jars? Sales of these immensely convenient and simple-to-usefoods have skyrocketed.
It should be the goal of the lazy cook to take advantage of this world of high-qualityprocessed and prepackaged foods.
YOU'LL THANK YOURSELF LATER
It is difficult to plan even a single evening's meal from a breakfast-time perspective. If you can make a general plan for the upcoming week's meals, you can take advantage of both fresh, prepackaged foods and of store specials on these items.
For the modern, time-constrained cook, prepackaged fresh foods must rate rightup there with the invention of the wheel and the discovery of fire as a cooking aid.There is no better way to save time and effort while retaining the highest qualityof ingredients than to purchase these wonderful products:
- Broccoli and cauliflower
- Broccoli coleslaw
- Creamy garlic Caesar
- Iceberg, romaine, leaf lettuce, radicchio, and frisee combinations
- Iceberg, romaine, red cabbage, carrot, and radish combinations
- Leaf lettuce, curly endive, and carrot combinations
- Oriental stir-fry vegetable mixes
- Romaine lettuce
- Shredded lettuce
- Sliced celery
- Sliced mushrooms
- Sliced or shredded carrots
- Snap peas
YOU'LL THANK YOURSELF LATER
Potassium, a vital mineral, is found in greens, bananas, apricots, avocados, beans, blackstrap molasses, potatoes, and yogurt.
A COMPLETE WASTE OF TIME
The 3 Worst Things to Do with Fresh Prepackaged Fruits and Vegetables:
1. Purchase less than you really need to use for a meal.
2. Wash them again. These products are triple-washed before packaging.
3. Chop them. They are chopped and ready for instant use.
- Pasta. Fresh pastas, particularly vegetable- and cheese-filled tortellini and ravioli, are delicious and almost effortless to use. These fresh packaged pastas cook quickly and are usually sold with complimentary sauces.
IF YOU'RE SO INCLINED
To create a handy supply of frozen individualized meals for use when everyone's schedule requires a separate mealtime, boil a huge pot of pasta and heat a huge saucepan of sauce. Use whatever portions are necessary, whether they're for lunch or the evening meal, seal in plastic bags, and freeze. When you're ready to use those extra portions you can just toss them into the microwave!
- Breads. What can I say? I defy you to find some kind of wonderfully exotic bread that is not cooked and packaged daily everywhere across America in bakeries, delis, specialty stores, and supermarkets (except, maybe for very small towns). I would even venture to say that there are as many baguettes sold daily in the United States as in France.
- Fresh refrigerated foccacia bread and tortillas. These items should not be overlooked. There are flavored, fresh packaged tortillas and wraps, such as tomato and basil, jalapeño and cilantro, honey wheat, garden spinach and herb, garden spinach and vegetable, and southwestern chipotle chili.
Prepared Means Preparation
So many fine prepared foods are now available that it would take a voluntary kitchenworkaholic, a culinary purist, or a cookbook author to forgo the cooking assistanceprovided by prepared foods.
Make It Saucy!
When it c omes to pasta sauce--no matter how culinarily energetic you may feelon certain rare occasions--for day-to-day cooking, why make your own? You could betterspend the time, say, polishing your bowling ball. Consider the following prepared,bottled, and canned sauces as examples:
- Tomato and basil
- Tomato, onion, and garlic
- Tomato Parmesan
- Spicy tomato
That's a sampling of the tomato-based sauces, but don't limit your creativityto the red fruit! Here are some other great sauce ideas, just waiting to be pouredover your favorite pasta:
- Grilled summer vegetable
- Mushroom and diced tomato
- Mushroom and green pepper
- Mushroom and ripe olives
- Mushroom Parmesan
- Roasted garlic Parmesan
THE LAZY WAY
Congratulations! You wowed your surprise dinner guests with a great-tasting pasta sauce! Now reward yourself with a bowl of fruit sorbet! (Also ready-made, but who's telling?)
Dip It or Spread It! The Choice Is Yours!
Salsas, dips, and spreads, like prepared pasta sauces, come in a staggering varietyof good, tasty, indispensable complements to main dishes, appetizers, and midnightsnacks. In the course of a year, you will save yourself a whole vacation's worthof time by using these prepared items.
The Italian Staple: Garlic
Purchase minced or chopped garlic. It's much nicer to spend your energy merelytaking off the jar lid and spooning out the prepared garlic than trying to mincean object which by its size, shape, and nature does not want to be min ced. Mincedgarlic also comes paired together with minced ginger.
The Meat of Vegetables: Potatoes
Some varieties, such as Russets and Yukon Golds, are available at the producecounter, already washed, sliced, diced, grated, and packaged, ready to deep-fry orput in a casserole. Frozen potatoes and vegetables are a joy to prepare, as are mashedpotatoes. For that very lazy day, try a dried potato mix.
Order It Dried!
Dried foods are a well-known commodity. Most vegetarian cooks have plenty of experienceusing dried pastas, rice, mushrooms, and beans. Take advantage of the following driedfoods, as their use will save you many kitchen preparation steps.
- Mixed dried beans. These complementary bean combinations will allow you to prepare many popular bean soups and salads with relative simplicity. Many of these mixed-bean packages are spiced or include packages of spice.
- Flavored rice and pilaf mixes. These make terrific side dishes, as well as great bases for entrees. Dried rice and bean combinations are also available. One terrific time-saver is the use of packaged dried rice with various vegetables or ethnic flavors. Try Cajun, Southwest, or Spanish rice.
- Dried soup mixes. There is a dazzling array of delicious dried soups available today, both in individual servings and family sizes. These require only the addition of boiling water and several minutes to steep. Here are just a few examples:
- Cantonese rice
- Corn chowder
- Creamy potato
- Thai rice
- Garden split pea
- Lentil with couscous
- Zesty black bean
- Dried fruits and berries. These are wonderful as snacks straight from the package or as toppings for cereals and desserts. Stewed fruit is reconstituted in water.
QUICK 'N' PAINLESS
To prepare an effortless, healthy, and tasty snack lunch that requires no refrigeration and will not leak or get soggy, throw in a single, prepackaged, ready-to-use dried soup mix and a plastic bag of dried fruits or berries.
- Flavored dried cereals. Very high-quality flavored cereals can be found in most supermarkets. Hot banana nut barley, cranberry orange oatmeal, wheat `n' berries, or apple-cinnamon oatmeal--what a lazy way to start a day!
Just Can It!
Canned foods have long had their place in American kitchens. There are two greatadvantages in using canned foods. First, they allow you to stock significant quantitiesof fruits and vegetables for considerable periods of time. Secondly, many cannedvegetables and fruits come peeled, boiled, skinned, sliced, diced, or pureed. Additionally,many canned fruits and vegetables are happily married by the canner with spices andother complementary foods. Think about these options:
- Beans. Mixed varieties of beans, spiced beans in many flavors, and beans and vegetables are all simple to use and excellent for most dishes. Their advantage over dried beans is that you skip the soaking step. After all, who hasn't forgotten to soak the beans overnight?
- Tomatoes. The variety of canned tomatoes, sauces, and pastas runs the gamut of tomato types. What a joy to be able to avoid peeling and chopping or dicing tomatoes. Canned tomatoes are often mixed with onions or pepper for use in Italian- or Mexican-inspired dishes.
- Pastas sauces. Next time you hit the grocery store, check out the fresh pasta section and be prepared to be amazed by the variety of prepared sauces waiting for you to take them home! We're no longer bound by whatever Prego decides to put in a jar anymore (although even the oldest jarred tomato sauce maker has expanded exponentially in this area!).
- Vegetables. Canned yams and new potatoes come highly recommended because they are already peeled, and that makes me happy. These are my favorite canned products, but if you are saving time by not using fresh vegetables, use frozen vegetables for single-item side dishes.
- Fruits and berries. Like canned vegetables, canned fruits have the advantage of being peeled and sliced, chopped, chunked, or crushed. Canned fruits tend to be less satisfactory for most uses than frozen fruits, but they do make handy side dishes and toppings for desserts. Canned berries are also superior for pies and other desserts.
FOR SERVICE AND INFORMATION: SPECIALTY AND ETHNIC FOOD STORES AND FOOD CO-OPS
Take advantage of the wealth of specialty food stores that abound. Shed your fears,throw off your hesitation, and plow right into the nearest specialty food store.These small operations can provide you with a world of information and assistance,and in the long run, they will make your cooking life much simpler, more vibrant,varied, and interesting, as well as more successful.
Specialty food store employees, from owners to clerks to stockers, are usuallyknowledgeabl e about foods. They will be happy to give you advice about foods, foodpreparation, and cooking techniques that should save you time. These stores oftenhave an old-fashioned-general-store ambiance.
Buy grains, flour, and other foods in bulk at specialty and ethnic stores. Specialtystores will almost invariably order and stock hard-to-find foods at your request.
Finally, don't underestimate health food stores. See what they have to offer.
YOU'LL THANK YOURSELF LATER
Check out the protein (meat) alternatives that are available in your area. Tofu dogs, tempeh, vegetable burgers, and seitan are high- protein products.
ULTIMATE EASE: SUPERMARKET
DELIS AND SALAD BARS
Both delis and salad bars have become a real boon to the easy ways I use my lazyvegetarian kitchen. Even the last-minute vegetarian cook can look like a star byshopping both delis and salad bars. Salad bars often have dozens of items. If youare particularly harried or if you have a need for small batches of vegetables, fruits,greens, and even soups, the salad bar is the perfect solution.
Your supermarket deli and salad bar were designed to make picnic, potluck, andcarry-in food preparation time completely unnecessary.
Salads created by supermarket delis are helpful. For picnic and potluck convenience,choose from the deli-made American, German, or mustard potato salad, macaroni salad,three- or four-bean salad, or creamy or sweet-and-sour coleslaw.
Here are some of my favorite vegetarian salads from my local deli counter:
- Artichoke salad
- Greek rotini salad
- Italian vegetable sa lad
- Pasta and asparagus salad
- Rocky Mountain potato salad
A COMPLETE WASTE OF TIME
The 3 Worst Things to Do When Preparing for a Picnic:
1. Make and bag ice.
2. Decide to make deviled eggs.
3. Make your own potato or pasta salad from scratch.
HOLDOVERS, NOT LEFTOVERS
I do not bungee-jump, skydive, or hang glide. I also never throw away any usablefood. Leftovers are a true help to the lazy cook. When making certain foods, suchas rice or beans, make extra quantities that you can bag and refrigerate or freeze.In fact, do not consider leftovers as leftovers: Consider them meals that have beenprepared ahead of time. The main idea here is never to have to announce that "We'rehaving leftovers!"
YOU'LL THANK YOURSELF LATER
Keep a small, erasable magnetic blackboard attached to the side of your refrigerator and/or freezer that lists the contents. Next to each item, record the original freeze date and the "use by" date. Or mark on each package that you freeze, "Delete when used."
When dining out, don't consider the package that you take home to be leftovers,consider it "carry-out." Never leave restaurant leftovers on your plate--butdo put them in your refrigerator and build a meal around them the next evening.
THE LAZY WAY
Congratulations! You've maximized your leftovers without resorting to "mystery stew!" Grab a cup of cappuccino at your favorite cafe--you deserve it!
HEAR YE! HEAR YE! READ ALL ABOUT IT!
Before you jump to Part 3, "On to the Main Event: A Culinary World of Easy,Wholesome Vegetarian Favorite Recipes," where I'll share all sorts of great-tastingvegetarian recipes, there are a few things you should think about.
Even I know how boring it is to read page after page of typed thoughts on vegetarianand healthy ideas. But these are very important pages, so do not skip them. The informationon these pages can change the way you cook and think about food. We are so luckybecause there are so many time-saving foods and techniques to take advantage of rightin our supermarket.
THE MOST IMPORTANT THINGS TO KNOW ARE:
- Garlic comes minced in a jar. Imagine that--you never have to peel and chop garlic again. You can also get garlic and ginger in combination, a big help when preparing a stir-fry.
YOU'LL THANK YOURSELF LATER
Love garlic but hate chasing those pesky little cloves around the chopping board with a knife? Don't fret! Someone actually gets paid to cut it for you! All you have to do is find it in the grocery store!
- Chopped onions come frozen. Always keep them on hand. Use them frozen, no need to defrost--they will heat as you cook. You never need to peel and chop an onion again.
- Always choose a food already prepared. For example, you can buy fresh ravioli and spaghetti (at the refrigerator counter) that are ready-made and set to cook.
- Buy bottled tomato sauces. The quality is very good, and you can choose from tomato sauce with mushrooms, her bs, and basil. Just heat and serve.
- Choose interesting pasta. Pasta comes in so many different sizes and shapes; look them over and choose what is best for you and the family.
- Buy bottled stir-fry sauce. It is in the condiment section of most supermarkets. You can avoid making time-involved sauces. It saves about 20 minutes per recipe you use it in.
- Prepared pesto and red pepper sauce are available. My sister-in-law just moved, and she told me she had stored away maybe one small case of pesto sauce and dozens of various packaged pastas. She went on to say, "Let it snow, we always have a lazy meal on hand."
- Grated cheese is readily available. In supermarkets all over the country, grated cheese comes plain or flavored, and some even come with added spices. Some cheeses come lower in fat, which is very nice indeed.
- Chopped peppers also come frozen. Can you imagine that you can have minced garlic, chopped onions, and peppers all ready to cook?
- Check out the frozen vegetables. They come in so many sizes, sliced, chopped, peeled, and in some cases, roasted and ready to cook.
- Canned vegetables. The original lazy vegetables are in cans. Do not overlook canned vegetables.
- Sun-dried tomatoes come chopped. Just drain and use.
- Don't forget legumes. Beans, lentils, and chick peas come cooked and in a can, ready to drain, heat, and serve.
- Shop the salad bars. They are amazing. Buy 1/2 cup of this and that to top off a casserole or salad. For the most lazy among us, it is a great idea. You can buy cups of this and that already sliced, chopped, and grated.
- Use neighborhood restaurants as a resource. See what they will sell for take-out. That is, see who will sell plain pasta or ask the Chinese restaurant for cooked rice. You will be surprised at what is available.
IF YOU'RE SO INCLINED
Picture this: It's 4 pm and you've just remembered that you had promised to make dinner for your boss and a few of your coworkers. Don't panic! Pick up the phone and call the nearest restaurant that delivers. They might have just what the doctor ordered!
- Give the produce section of the supermarket another chance. You will find lettuce, baby spinach, and combinations of tasty lettuces, all prewashed and cut, ready to serve. Beside salad greens, you will find handy packages of grated or peeled and washed baby carrots, sliced red cabbage, and washed, peeled whole, quartered, or sliced potatoes of various types. Broccoli comes grated, too, a good idea to add to most salads.
- Check out the dessert selections. Somehow I always gravitate to dessert. Look again at the cake-mix section of the market. They have come into a new age! Try muffins--just add eggs and a liquid. Cakes, brownies, lemon squares, and more are enriched and easy to prepare, and they have a long shelf life. Many teens like to bake these cakes. Encourage your children to bake. Of course don't overlook flavored yogurt, ice cream, or fresh fruit. Fresh fruit and perhaps a slice of appropriate cheese is still a wonderful dessert.
- Puff pastry comes ready-made. So do pie crusts, cookie dough, and cookie crumbs.
A COMPLETE WASTE OF TIME
The 3 Worst Things You Can Do When It Comes to Cooking:
1. Assume that to be a "good cook" means you have to do everything from scratch.
2. Spend all your time chopping and dicing when someone else has already done it for you.
3. Assume that a healthy meal must require "slaving over a hot stove."
Getting Time on Your Side
The Old Way The Lazy Way Chopping vegetables for a salad 1 hour Done! Figuring out meal portions Um . . . still thinking Don't have to! Washing vegetables 15 minutes Don't have to (if you buy prepackaged!) Making fresh pasta Hours No need! Making pasta sauces All afternoon It's ready! Chopping garlic 15 minutes It came that way!