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A low-stress, organized approach to getting dinner on the table in busy households.
Kallio and Krastins present a new addition to the trove of quick-and-easy cookbooks. But theirs is more than a collection of short-cut recipes; it's an entire "meal creation system." The authors' innovative approach involves serving up a master grocery list that includes all the ingredients needed for the book's 300 recipes. With their list and tips for organizing your kitchen, creating a home-cooked supper is a no-brainer. The recipes are straightforward American fare and a bit on the uninteresting side (read: "kid-friendly"). But this book is designed for working parents, not wannabe chefs, and it does give busy families and new cooks an accessible alternative to take-out. One of the most useful sections is the selection of appetizers and dips, offering mix-and-match flexibility. The book abounds with timesaving suggestions, like how to quickly thaw frozen bread dough and how to present a dinner party with minimal effort. It even offers a glossary for the food novice: "Lemons—tart, yellow citrus fruit." The meal creation, however, seems to lie solely in women's hands, though the authors do mention that the master list will make it easier for poor old hubby to navigate the aisles of the supermarket.
A pragmatic cookbook with none of the idealism of beautiful photographs or exotic ingredients—or even, for that matter, men in the kitchen.
start with the list
We’ve all had that moment during the day when we ask, with a knot in our stomach, “What am I going to make for dinner?” We stand in our kitchens having a conversation with ourselves (hopefully, silently): I don’t have anything to make.… What I planned for doesn’t sound good.… I don’t have any time to cook, let alone get to the store.
We are all searching for a way to make the process easier. Many of us get discouraged into prepackaged complacency, which doesn’t satisfy any real cravings. (We’ve never heard anyone say, “You know what sounds good? Powdered milk with dehydrated broccoli!”) Bookstores contain a myriad of cookbooks touting catch-phrases like “quick and simple” or “cheap and easy.” The recipes may be quick, but they often require us to purchase random ingredients that we need a pinch of and then will never use again. We have, in the past, cluttered our pantries, refrigerators, and cupboards with hundreds of dollars’ worth of cookbooks and specialty items like red pepper paste. We were still left missing an easy-to-use, versatile, and effective system for getting dinner on the table. This is why we created The Stocked Kitchen.
The Stocked Kitchen is the first complete meal creation system with only one standard list of groceries. If your kitchen is “stocked” with these ingredients, you will always have what you need to create any of our recipes. These recipes have been used for all our own dining needs, including meals for drop-in guests, special occasions, and every-night dinners for our families. This system encompasses all parts of the meal creation process from shopping to storing to cooking to serving. The results are delicious, “guestworthy” meals made from real, basic ingredients. We have proved The Stocked Kitchen system works. It has reduced our grocery bills, our stress levels, our trips to the market, and our food waste. We create more delicious meals while removing the handcuffs of preplanning. It is so simple—“Start with the list”—but once you’ve incorporated it into your life, you will see how powerful The Stocked Kitchen philosophy can be. One grocery list, endless recipes!
© 2011 Stock, LLC
Posted June 30, 2011
This is a different kind of cookbook that not only has lots of recipes for appetizers, breakfast and brunch, salads and side dishes, main dishes, and desserts, but also includes a master grocery list of every ingredient needed. In other words, if you buy everything on the list, you now have what you need to make any recipe in the entire book. No second guessing. No standing in front of the pantry wondering what to make for dinner and whether you have what you need. No unnecessary trips to the grocery store for the one thing you don't have to complete a recipe. And no more bottles of unusual spices or special sauces that got used once for one recipe and now sit past their "use by" date in the back of the pantry or fridge.
It's one thing to have a lot of food ingredients on hand and another to actually have a plan to use them without waste. The Stocked Kitchen solves that by streamlining ingredients so that a food item or seasoning is used in several different recipes. Something like balsamic vinegar, instead of being used once for a salad dressing, shows up in 12 recipes; garlic powder is used in 37 recipes, calamata olives in nine, pine nuts in 13, puff pastry is used in 11 recipes, etc., while still offering plenty of variety. This is a great plan for busy moms because the list is already made out and once the items are in the pantry, fridge, and freezer, anything from the cookbook can be prepared.
I've made several recipes with good results, including Baked Penne, Nutty Chicken, and Feta Chicken With Spinach. There are several other recipes I'm looking forward to trying. Some color photographs are included to showcase several of the dishes.
I would say that more experienced cooks probably already have their own version of this plan as they keep the pantry stocked for favorite recipes, but it's nice to have it already done in one book like this. It would be a good wedding shower gift or for a young mom who may feel overwhelmed with menu planning and grocery shopping as she navigates through a busy schedule and what to have for dinner.
2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 21, 2011
This book has helped me make decent basic meals without a lot of planning. So far, all meals were liked by my picky eaters. I appreciate the choice of recipes and the helpful suggestions. This book is perfect for working moms.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 21, 2012
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