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 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.


Elaine Vigneault said...

When I first looked at it, I thought, that's just cereal. Then I read it and realized you blended the nuts to make a milk. Yum!

Raw foodists do that often - blend nuts and water to make milk for smoothies, cereal and other foods.

Judith said...

Well, actually, Elaine, I didn't make a nut milk. I made a banana milk. I thought the idea just interesting enough to try - banana, water, and vanilla. It's a bit grainy, like banana, and I wasn't entirely taken by it, but it's an alternative that's particularly suited to dry cereal.

Not like you'd be making it any time soon, what with the bananaphobic in the house, though.