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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
Many of us follow an unintentional high-low plan for weekly cooking: high-quality, time-intensive meals on the weekends, and low-quality, quick cook meals during the week. With Nava Atlas's help, we might not dip so low in midweek.
This book, her sixth vegetarian cookbook, contains 250 stripped-down meatless recipes with only five ingredients (water, salt, and pepper don't "count") that, for the most part, can be made quickly. Atlas relies on whole foods, fresh produce, and quality convenience foods like pasta, canned beans, store-bought sauces, and pizza crust to make the trick work. So for example, Ricotta and Green Chili Rice only requires vegetable bouillon cubes, brown rice, a can of mild green chilies, ricotta cheese, and fresh cilantro or parsley. To put together an Easy Vegetable Lasagna, you'll need only lasagna, ricotta cheese, 3 cups of lightly steamed vegetables, mozzarella cheese, and a jar of pasta sauce. (Well, maybe those vegetables should count as more than one ingredient, but that's just quibbling: It sure beats most takeout.)
There are special sections for soups, streamlined salads, pastas, pizzas, grain dishes, wraps, plus side dishes and desserts. Many of the recipes also come with menu suggestions on how to round out a meal -- especially helpful for beginning vegetarians. Equally helpful are Atlas's suggestions for stocking your pantry and for weekly menu-planning and shopping. She argues that planning essentially three dinners will do it, as long as you cook in sufficient quantities to produce leftovers for three more nights. An additional benefit of these simple recipes, she says, is that young children are more apt to try new foods if they are not complicated. (Ginger Curwen)