Day 65: “Mark Bittman’s Kitchen Express”
March 6, 2001
I am teaching a class this week called “Meal Planning for Busy Families”, so my quest for finding those quick meals for families on the go has been heightened as of late. The library has a great selection of fast meal cookbooks. But I am on the search for ones that don’t add processed ingredients in them. I like something that is made with real and fresh ingredients. I want to inspire home cooks everywhere to know with confidence that they can get a home cooked meal on the table every night and it doesn’t have to come out of box to make it happen. The basics are simple, you have got to plan ahead and you have to plan for the unexpected. Seems a little ironic I know, but life happens and you have no control over it. So when little Jimmy gets sick and you have to spend 2 hours at the walk in clinic, you want to know that there is a meal in your slow cooker waiting for you at home. Or when you have to work late, you want the comfort in knowing that the chicken is marinating and your spouse is throwing it on the grill when he/she arrives home. So many of the tricks and tips I teach are in the planning aspect. You will begin to see a trend in this week’s cookbooks
Mark Bittman’s “Kitchen Express” cookbook is loaded with 404 dishes that you can make in under 20 minutes, for real. The ingredient lists for each recipe are not long and the cookbook is divided into sections by season. (Remember the tip about sticking with buying produce for what is in season will help you save money.) I chose a recipe in the winter section, not because I am rejoicing winter, but more because of the ingredient list. I had all of the ingredients on hand plus they needed to be used up quickly. I had an open package of bacon and an open package of dates that I had used in the cinnamon rolls that I had made awhile back. Easy to follow instructions, no pictures but that is the tradeoff you get with 404 recipes. All the recipes are written in paragraph form.
The Ruling: The three of us who eat salads liked it. We did add some balsamic dressing on top of it for some added flavor. This was an easy thing to do and I think it actually added to the flavor. The flavor was fine on its own, but we needed just a little something else. So easy to make but not sure if I will make it again. It was nice once, but it didn’t hit a home run but did get to 3rd base. This could be served as a side dish or as a main dish.
Date, Bacon, and Bean Salad, page 123
Cut some bacon into one-inch pieces and fry until browned; drain off most of the fat. Add a can of drained cannellini beans to the bacon along with a handful or more of chopped pitted dates; continue cooking until everything is just warm. Serve over a big bed of bitter greens with good-quality whole grain bread.
To Joyful, Simplified Living,
MS. Simplicity, also known as Melissa Schmalenberger operates her business as I Did it with MS. Simplicity. She is a Professional Organizer based out of Fargo, ND and her website can be found at www.ididit-fargo.com . Need to contact MS. Simplicity privately, you can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. For daily organizing tips find the MS. Simplicity fan page here.
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