In celebration of the release of America’s Test Kitchen’s new cookbook, Simple Weeknight Favorites, Senior Book Editor Suzannah McFerran led a Live Talk in The Motherhood on healthy, tasty, budget-friendly and, most important, easy recipes for weeknight cooking.
“Most of the recipes (from the new cookbook) can be prepared under 30 minutes, all of them are under 45 minutes. The concept was: Dinner on a page, minimal ingredients,” said Suzannah of America’s Test Kitchen.
Suzannah’s Tips for Saving Time in the Kitchen
1.) Jump-start. “Vegetables can be jump-started in the microwave then finished in the oven … same with rice. Here’s an example: Risotto – no tedious stovetop stirring!”
2.) Skillet pastas. “We cook the pastas in the sauce to flavor the pasta and minimize pots.”
3.) Ingredients that play double duty. “Make a marinade for chicken, reserve some for the salad, and then use it to give a final boost of flavor to the chicken at the end. (Important note: reserve BEFORE you marinate!)”
4.) Peel and cut certain veggies ahead of time. “Carrots for sure. Zucchini, onions are fine. Ones to be careful of are the ones that oxidize.”
5.) Go for the thigh. “Chicken thighs are a lot cheaper than breasts and we love to cook with them here. They are also harder to screw up!”
More great ideas from the wonderful bloggers who co-hosted the live event:
6.) Make Beans and Rice a Menu Staple. “Rice and beans is superbly nutritious, easy to make and everyone will eat it. Leftovers can be made into quesadillas, cooked with an egg from breakfast or used as taco or enchilada filling.” (Kate, Kate in the Kitchen)
8.) Introduce Your Tastebuds to Quinoa. “Quinoa is usually found in the grain aisle with rices and is cooked like rice. It is a great backdrop for healthy flavors.” (Kelsey, The Naptime Chef)
9.) The Freezer is Your Friend. “I like to make meals ahead and freeze them – cook [staples like rice and quinoa] until just cooked. That way they aren’t overcooked when you pull them out and thaw them.” Click here for easy, freezer-friendly recipes. (Tricia, Once A Month Mom)
10.) Think Squash. “I love to roast 3 or 4 butternut squashes early in the week with some olive oil and maple syrup. Then I use the cut up squash in all my dishes for the week: soup, risotto, or just as a delicious side.” (Vanessa, Chef Druck Musings)
11.) Get Out the Slow Cooker. “The slow cooker is a wonderful helper for those busy nights. Anytime I know my time will be limited, I’ll set something up to cook in there when there’s still time in the morning. Dinner’s waiting when I get home.” (Julie, Mommie Cooks)
12.) Buy Meat in Bulk. “Pork is an inexpensive meat that tastes great. I buy large value packs of pork cutlets for quick weeknight dinners.” (Vanessa, Chef Druck Musings)
13.) Add Eggs to the Mix. “You can throw anything in with a pot of scrambled eggs (or an omelette) super quick!” (Julie, Mommie Cooks)
14.) Toss in Everything but the Kitchen Sink. “Stir fries are simple, fast and a good way to use up odds and ends of vegetables.” (Kate, Kate in the Kitchen)
To Whet Your Appetite
Three of Suzannah’s top picks from Simple Weeknight Favorites:
Coffee-Rubbed Rib Eye Steaks with Creamy Slaw.
A little sugar speeds up and ensures browning for quick cooking steaks.
Chicken Thighs with Fennel, Orange and Olives
Jump-start roasting of veg in oven, brown chicken on stovetop – then finish in oven so flavors can meld – thighs are cheap and more flavorful – hard to mess up!
Moroccan Fish and Couscous Packets
Flavorful sauce, fish goes on top. No searing or splattering mess in the kitchen for a delicious fast fish dinner!
Other great weeknight options:
One-dish sausage and spinach pasta, by Julie of Mommie Cooks
Roasted chicken and root veggies, by Kim of My Cup of Creativi-tea
Spaghetti primavera, by Beth of Real Moms Love to Eat
Slow cooker recipes you might try:
Slow cooker beef bourguignon, by Vanessa of Chef Druck Musings
Italian beef sandwiches, by Diane Campagna
Taco chicken chili, by JesicaD
See the Simple Weeknight Favorites recipes on display in the America’s Test Kitchen Facebook gallery, and get a behind-the-scenes peek at America’s Test Kitchen here:
Here’s the full transcript of the Talk with Suzannah from America’s Test Kitchen, the great blogger co-hosts and The Motherhood community.
And here’s a wonderful post from America’s Test Kitchen about the Live Talk, as well! Aren’t they cool?!?