Last year, I wrote about how I was going to try to plan a weekly menu instead of shopping daily. Back then, the plan lasted all of one week. That’s right: we couldn’t even make it work once. So I just kind of accepted it, and we went back to daily shopping. Fast forward to two weeks ago, and I decided it was time to try weekly planning and shopping again. This corresponded perfectly with the arrival of a book for review I requested from Blogging for Books: Supermarket Healthy by Melissa D’Arabian. The premise: It really is possible to make wholesome, healthy meals using whole-food ingredients found in a regular grocery store.
The book, like any standard cookbook, is divided into types of meals: snacks, breakfast, pasta, sandwiches, poultry, beef, soups, etc. We haven’t tried recipes from every category, but we have from several of them. Some of the ingredients aren’t as readily available as I hoped, at least in my area, so I’ve had to make a few substitutions (kale instead of Swiss chard in a soup, for example). But despite that, I have definitely found that the recipes in this book are absolutely amazing. And doable with “normal” ingredients. Out of the 15 or 20 that we’ve tried so far, all but two have gone onto a list for regular rotation. To have found at least a dozen new recipes that we all love is a wonderful thing.
My main complaint of this book is that it’s a trade paperback. I think cookbooks should always be printed with spiral binding so that it will stay open to make following the recipes easier. Additionally, I would like to see a photo of every recipe. I know this isn’t always feasible, but it’s very helpful in making sure you’re building everything correctly. These criticisms are minor in the long run, though. The book is so full of amazing recipes that I’m happy to overlook the problems.
So, what have our favorites been? I can think of three offhand that were exceptional. First, the sausage-lentil soup with chard (we used kale). The soup was very flavorful and hearty, and making it with brown-n-serve turkey sausage made it easy and healthy. We were all kind of sad when the pot ran empty. Next, the garlic chicken with potatoes. Oh, my goodness, that was amazing. Start by roasting some potatoes (whatever kind you like – we used slices of Yukon gold) and (a lot of) garlic in a roasting dish (I used my deep dish 9×13 baking pan) with a little bit of olive oil. [Read more…]