~Reivewied by Kate Neale Cooper
Title: Cooking Light’s Dinnertime Survival Guide: Feed Your Family. Save Your Sanity.
About the Author: A mother of two young boys, Sally Kuzemchak is a registered dietitian who blogs at Real Mom Nutrition. Kuzemchak has also published her work on The Huffington Post and in nearly 20 national magazines, including Parents, Family Circle, Fitness and Health.
Focus: Each chapter of this kid-centered cookbook is designed around overcoming an obstacle to serving a home-cooked healthy dinner. Chapters include “I’m On a Diet, They’re Not” (healthy foods everyone will love), “Nobody’s Around to Eat It Anyway” (adaptable meals for hectic schedules) and “My Kids Take All My Attention” (one-handed recipes—almost). Each chapter begins with general advice for overcoming that particular roadblock and road-tested recipes to make your family dinner less daunting.
Why to Buy: Kuzemchak understands that just because you like to cook, doesn’t necessarily mean you want to. She’s been there: she knows that your goal is to get dinner done, not to get it done perfectly. And she knows that despite your best intentions, the Civil War diorama, extra innings in the little league playoffs, and the occasional visit to the emergency vet can thwart even the most organized mom’s efforts to feed her family. Kuzemchak knows cheese gets moldy, pine nuts can be expensive, and that you took the wine you bought for the chicken picatta to book club last night because you forgot to pick up a hostess gift. So she offers plenty of ingredient substitutions throughout the book. There are also clever tricks of the trade sprinkled throughout the book (including the suggestion to use dental floss in lieu of kitchen twine) and “real mom, real smart” tips from the frontlines of parenthood.
Added Bonus: These aren’t pedestrian kids' meals: there are fresh offerings such as a Mexican Cobb Salad, Grilled Tomato and Brie Sandwiches, and Pisctachio Pesto Pasta as well as some tempting desserts, including Salted Caramel Brownies. The test kitchen staff at Cooking Light vetted all the recipes in this book, so you know they’ve been tested, re-tested, and perfected.
What I Plan to Cook First: I couldn’t wait to cook from this book. I made the Berry and Banana Smoothies as a bribe to get my youngest two out of bed one dreary Monday. It worked. The first dinner I made was Grilled Peanut Butter Split Sandwiches. All three of my kids loved building their own sandwiches from the buffet of ingredients (strawberries, bananas, mini chocolate chips and honey). My teenage son devoured the Ravioli with Pan-Roasted Tomatoes and I’ve made the Slow-Cooker Lasagna several times. I'm still dying to try the Shrimp Tacos with Green Apple Salsa and the Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies.
Berry and Banana Smoothies (p. 245)
Slow-Cooker Lasagne (p. 22)
Shrimp Tacos with Green Apple Salsa (p. 159)
Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies (p. 107)