PROS: There is a lot of variety in this cookbook. The dishes I tried truly took 30 minutes to make. For being 30 minute meals, they were very flavorful!
CONS: Do I have any? Perhaps I can complain that I don’t like quinoa, but that’s a personal problem.
It’s been awhile, but I have another cookbook review! I have others in the works as well, but I haven’t quite finished with them yet. They will be coming! Here at the Law Student’s Cookbook, life has been busy with applying for jobs. But I do still find some time to savor a cookbook.
I can’t remember how Weeknight Wonders made it on my radar, but I’m glad it did! I’m personally reminded a bit of Barefoot Contessa with the style of the cookbook and even some of the food choices. There’s a bit more exotic-ness about this though than Ina.
This book is full of beautiful, glossy pictures of many of the dishes in the cookbook. As I’ve mentioned in the past, cookbooks need pictures, in my very humble-non-cookbook-author’s opinion. As a amateur home cook, I still have no flipping clue what I’m doing most of the time in the kitchen. Sometimes it’s nice to see that I got it right. Or that I didn’t. Without pictures, I have no idea. Many of the recipes in this book have pictures associated, which just makes me want to cook the recipe that much more.
Krieger wrote this book with the working person in mind – 150 30-minute meals! Ever get home and are too tired to cook? What if it only takes 30 minutes? What I like about this book more than other 30-minute-meal books is that she’s realistic. She counts the prep time into the 30-minutes. She tells me to cut the onions when something else is heating. She tells me what to do when, which ensures you truly have a 30-minute meal rather than a meal that has 30 minutes of prep and 30 minutes of cook time which is not a 30-minute meal.
The book also has a very great index system, which I like.
The book is broken into 8 different food categories: salads, soups and sandwiches, meat dishes, poultry dishes, seafood dishes, vegetarian dishes, sides, and desserts. I decided to make recipes out of the three main sections (meat, poultry, seafood, and vegetarian.) Many of the recipes that I made had suggested sides (also in the book) to accompany the entree. I love that. It means less thinking for me.
The recipes I cooked were fun. I feel I got a wide array of the book in the four days I cooked out of it. There were many delicious flavors in it . . . so much that this book is going on my “to buy” list. I’m sad I have to return it to the library.
Now . . . onto pictures and reviews of the food I actually made!
Chipotle Beef-Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms p. 105
This is the first thing I made out of this cookbook. Excuse my stained baking sheet. I don’t know what to do about it besides buying another. Ignore it and focus on the mushroom stuffed with yummy. This was an easy recipe. Despite how easy it was, it was bursting with flavor! With chiptole, of course it was.
Chicken Romesco p. 151, Parsley Potatoes p. 255, Cool and Crisp Shredded Romaine Salad p. 28
The next dish came from the poultry section. According to Krieger, “Romesco is a Spanish purred sauce.” It generally is made with almonds, which I had to leave out due to Matt’s allergy. While I’m sure the nuts would have added a nice depth to the flavors, it wasn’t deprived without them either. The chicken was very easy to make – basically, it’s grilled chicken with the sauce made with roasted peppers, paprika, garlic, and tomatoes. It was great. Krieger suggested pairing this chicken with the parsley potatoes and the cool and crisp shredded romaine salad. The flavors of this went together nicely. The parsley potatoes were delicious and were easy to make! The whole thing came together in 30 minutes.
Steamed Flounder with Vegetables, Ginger, and Scallion p. 204
OK, I didn’t use flounder. I used cod because that’s what I had in my freezer. Krieger notes that this dish is great “after an indulgent weekend to get you back on a healthy track.” And she’s right. This dish not only is healthy, it feels healthy. I didn’t feel heavy after eating it. I felt full, I felt content, and I felt like I had put yummy vegetables from the farmer’s market in my stomach. Though she recommended serving it with the Sesame Quinoa, I opted out and chose rice with the same sesame seasonings as her quinoa uses (sesame seeds and sesame oil,) because I really don’t like quinoa.
But anyway, this was delicious. I generally don’t like bell peppers, but steaming them does the trick and makes them palatable to me. I just didn’t know that before I had this!
Savor Red Lentil, Quinoa, and Vegetable Stew p. 235
The last recipe I made from this book used my least favorite ingredient (as you’ve heard me mention already), quinoa. My random recipe selecting chose this recipe to make, so I took a deep breath and did it. The flavors were nice, but I just didn’t really like it because of the quinoa. My boyfriend on the other hand loved it. Despite it not being my favorite, I was pretty happy to be able to make a 30 minute stew!
Overall: I’m really sad I have to return this book to the library. There’s so much more I want to make, like Pork Banh Mi Sandwiches, Steak Fajitas, Chicken Florentine Roll-Ups, Crispy Potato and Carrot Pancake with Chicken Sausage and Applesauce, Taco Pizzas, and Salmon with Savory Rhubarb Sauce. I guess I need to buy this cookbook. I liked the layout of the book, the pictures in the book, and the flavors she shares. But frankly, the best part of the book is that it stands behind it’s claim and truly gives you 30 minute meals.
I’m sharing this review with Beth Fish Reads’s Weekend Cooking!