Monday, January 21, 2008
Quick meals from books
There are different ways to get food on the table quickly and easily. One way is to use convenience food, one focus of this blog. A good cookbook for this approach is Conveniently Vegan (see link at right). This book offers many meals that require only a few easily-found ingredients, many of which can be from the cupboard or freezer.
Another approach, also frequently used in this blog, is to put together fresh ingredients or foods that you have made yourself previously when you had a few minutes. A cookbook that uses this approach is 20 Minutes to Dinner (see also the link on the right, just added today). This book is aimed more at people who like to cook, at least some of the time. It offers directions to cook or prepare many "components" of dishes, like dried beans or "breast of tofu" or vegetarian "sausage", so that you have, in essence, your own "convenience foods". Throughout the book are some lovely alternatives to everyday items that you can usually throw together very quickly, too - like the banana milk I made today to put on my cereal (banana, cold water, vanilla and a blender). Obviously, the advantage to making your own is that you know exactly what is in it. These foods may also save money.
20 Minutes also offers a food prep and nutrition chapter, with information on what equipment you need (very little) and on getting the most nutritional bang for the buck.
Some folks have posted complaints on amazon.com that it often takes longer than 20 minutes to get dinner on the table, using this book. From what I have sampled and read, I'd say this is probably true. However, the more skilled you are with your equipment the sooner you will get that meal out there. It's probably a good idea to assume it will take a half-hour most of the time, and sometimes you'll be pleasantly surprised.