Recently I received a cookbook in the mail for review.
A cookbook? Hmmm.
Cookbooks make me skeptical these days. Perhaps because I've laid down money for plenty of them and either ended up not loving the recipes or found them too complicated for daily life with small kids.
Maybe it's just that I want a cookbook to answer many of life's challenges; make my life easier and more simple during the 'witching hour' with kids, meet the varied food needs, wants and desires of the different personalities in our house, but perhaps, the thing we're all looking for, some extra simplicity, even in some small part of our day.
Universal mommy desires, right?!
At first, I must admit, I was skeptical-- perhaps by the simple layout (no photos), and simple recipes.
However, as I perused many of the recipes, tried others and familiarized myself with the lingo, icons and layout of the book I was won over.
The "Don't Panic: Quick, Easy, and Delicious Meals for Your Family," offers just that-- easy recipes that require a short list of ingredients and can be put together with 30 minutes or less of prep time.
We tried the Chicken Divan (a yummy, cheesy, broccoli and chicken bake) and Fresh Mozzarella and Tomato Salad for dinner one night last week. The recipes themselves went over well...the girls LOVED the mozzarella (Scott and I have had this salad before, but never thought to offer it to the girls), and anything with chicken and broccoli is a winner in our house.
Unfortunately, right before we sat down to eat little miss Ava dropped a mostly full plastic bottle of lemonade on her foot leaving her screaming and the food getting cold on the top of the stove...I know that holds little relevance to a book review but I figured you'd like to know how things REALLY went down the night I tried to cook a meal, based on this book that I had agreed to review! No perfect pictures, or pretend perfection via photos of always smiling children in this blog space!
When we did finally all get around to eating everyone enjoyed the meal. My favorite surprise ingredient in the dish may have been the nutmeg (wouldn't have thought to have added nutmeg to a chicken dish, but loved it!). The only thing I would change was the cheese it called for....The recipe called for 1/3 cup of swiss cheese, which I enjoyed, but was not the girls favorite-- I might use mozzarella or parmesan next time.
Here are some shots of how everything turned out...
|I have to give Scott credit for this! That is his handy salad arrangement!|
We also tried the Pina Colada Smoothies as a mid-afternoon snack earlier this week. There are only four ingredients (which made it appealing to me!) in the recipe and the girls loved helping pour everything in the blender.
|the girls testing the ingredients (we ended up with banana yogurt...not something I would have normally purchased, but Ella likes it and it's good in smoothies!)|
|The finished product... quick and easy!|
|A two thumbs up rating. That's a compliment of the highest degree in this house!|
There are a number of other recipes that I look forward to trying; Blackened Chicken Quesadillas, Barbecue Chicken Wraps, Creamy Southwestern Tortilla Soup, Slow Cooker Coq au Vin, Apricot Glazed Salmon Beef Saute with Mushroom Wine Sauce, the homemade granola, and the Chocolate Cream Pie.
If you're looking for a yummy, easy afternoon treat/snack to try with your kids this week give this smoothie a try...I mean, after all, if it's going to be this cold in Buffalo in April we can at least momentarily channel the feel of the tropics with a little Pina Colada!
Pina Colada Smoothie
1 1/2 cups of pineapple juice
2 cups nonfat frozen yogurt
6 T cream of coconut (can be found in the beverage mixer section of the grocery store)
3 cups ice
Yields: 8 6 oz. servings
Pour pineapple juice into blender. Add frozen yogurt, cream of coconut, and ice. Blend until ice is incorporated and well blended. Pour into serving glasses. Garnish with fresh pineapple slices and a maraschino cherry.