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Cheap. Fast. Good! Paperback – December 12, 2005


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Workman Publishing Company (December 12, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0761131760
  • ISBN-13: 978-0761131762
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 7.5 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (68 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #106,678 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The focus in this collection aimed at working parents like the loyal fans of Mills and Ross's "Desperation Dinners" syndicated newspaper column is far more on how to save money than on quality or speed. The authors offer many helpful penny-pinching ideas, such as finding bread outlet stores and getting reasonably priced salad greens. Most of the recipes are quick to assemble, even for less experienced cooks, as long as frozen or canned ingredients are used and not the optional fresh or from-scratch versions. How tasty the food is will depend on the family; almost all the dishes, such as the simple, warming A Chicken in Every Pot, have an unfussy feel to them, which is great for picky kids but may strike some as too bland. The authors make gestures to international cuisine, as with the Moroccan-style Lentil and Chickpea Soup with Cilantro, and Mary's Greek-Inspired Pasta, but to minimize costs they use few spices or special ingredients, often resulting in inauthentic takes on another country's food. But cooks who are too thrifty or frazzled (or both) to be snobbish about the sophistication of what they prepare will undoubtedly relish the authors' familiar, easygoing but expert manner and the satisfying variety of recipes. (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

Who doesnt want to eat cheaper? And who doesnt want to eat better? And who wouldnt like to sit down to a dinner of Salmon Pasta with Tomatoes and Dill, or Pan-Fried Pork Chops with Pepper Medley, or Enchanting Enchiladas, or Moroccan Meatballs over Couscousand know that any one of these meals (for four) costs less than $2 a serving? In their two previous cookbooks, Desperation Dinners! and Desperation Entertaining!together with over 330,000 copies in print Beverly Mills and Alicia Ross showed us how to save time in the kitchen without ever sacrificing flavor. Now the Desperate duo turns to the universally appealing idea of saving money, too. Cheap. Fast. Good! is not a penny-pinching cookbookits a get smart cookbook. Its about planning smart, shopping smart, cooking smart, and, not coincidentally, about eating smart. The work of two brilliant problem solvers, it presents 275 delicious recipes that are thrifty, quick to prepare, and intrinsically family-friendly and healthy, too: Barbecued Chicken and Black Bean Burritos, Sweet Onion Chowder, Bayou Stew, Ham and Asparagus Crostini, Basic Beef Brisket, Perfect Spinach Pesto Pizza, Gayles Country-Style Steak, Souped-Up Chicken Stroganoff. Recipes are filled with techniques for pushing flavor, substituting ingredients, and using whats in the refrigerator or pantry already, and every chapter includes strategies for running a kitchen more economicallyThe When, Where, and How of Shopping, The Miracle of Menu Planning, Making Your Own Convenience Items, Cutting Up a Roasted Chicken, and more. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

I haven't tried all the recipes, but so far so good.
Mary Raine
Yes, some of the recipes are a little repetitive and use many of the same ingredients--this is actually a good strategy for saving money on food.
Angela Demeritt
These are easy to fix comfort foods that my family loves.
Amazon Customer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

95 of 99 people found the following review helpful By S. Marcantelli on August 1, 2006
Format: Paperback
Everyone seems to like this book more than I do so I took a second look at it. I opened up to the chapter "Everyday Entrees". The first recipe for Gayle's Country-Style Steak does sound good, but it has to simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Not exactly "Fast". Looked at the next recipe Texas Cowboy's Pie and it calls for "shredded already-cooked beef" for which there is a recipe on another page. I took a look at that recipe and it would take more than 3 hours to cook. The 3rd recipe in this chapter is Beefed-Up Chinese Burritos. It calls for "Flexible Mexican Filling" for which there is a recipe on another page. You get the idea. I notice that these recipes that are needed for some of the general recipes are in a chapter titled "Budget-Minded Batch Cooking" that's at the end of all the chapters with recipes for dinners. So if so you decide to try this book, I'd suggest starting with that chapter. Each of those recipes does tell you which recipes require them. The recipes must be good if so many people wrote positive reviews, so take that into consideration when making your final decision as to whether or not to buy this book.
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53 of 55 people found the following review helpful By Susanne Koenig on April 19, 2006
Format: Paperback
What's the one household budget variable that gives us the most grief? The mortgage is a set cost, so are the utilities (pretty much) but what really gets us is the food budget. We know we could do it better, but how do we do it? Do we sell the range and buy a wood stove, bake our own bread, and hoe our own rows? There are only so many hours in the day, and coming up with a good, fast home-cooked meal is a challenge, much less looking through the grocery fliers, and store-hopping for the best bargain. We've all heard that advice, and have asked ourselves, can't it be simpler?

It can. That's where Cheap. Fast. Good. comes in. Aside from the fact that it contains quick kid-friendly meals (with a couple of good adult favorites thrown in for good measure) it's contains a brilliant, impressively well-thought out stratagey about how to save money, where and how to shop, and even a section on coupon clipping for dummies. If you're even remotely frugal at heart, you know you have to get a cookbook that is so single-minded on saving you money that it even has a section entitled "How to Eat on $100 a Week".

Beverly Mills and Alicia Ross, authors of the equally useful Desperation Dinners have really outdone themselves in this selection, and it's a great place to start if you are really wanting--or having--to save money. I purchased this book a few weeks ago and find myself reading it even when I'm not needing a recipe, just to ratchet up my on my money saving techniques. The authors include a lot of text and asides to show you how to really save, including how to shop at a day-old bread store, how to store items to make them last longer, and just plain tips for making life a bit easier, such as their really good one for draining ground beef on page 128.
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35 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Lou Ann Bakolia on January 12, 2006
Format: Paperback
I just purchased the cookbook, Cheap.Fast.Good! and love it. I am a big fan of the Desperation Dinners authors and have read their newspaper column for years. I have made numerous of their recipes and many are now family favorites. I have a husband and 2 children and we eat at home most nights because it is cheaper and healthier. Not only does this book have great recipes but it also includes tips on menu planning and how to save money on food. I especially liked the section on a family of 4 eating on $100 a week. I can't wait to try that! I would definately recommend this new cookbook. I know it will be one of my favorites.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By L. Bennett on January 16, 2006
Format: Paperback
The title of this wonderful cookbook doesn't begin to tell the tale. It's packed with charming anecdotes, shopping and storage advice, cooking tips, hints for entertaining and feeding kids -- and that's all gravy on top of over 275 remarkably easy-to-make, nutritious and delicious recipes. This is big book in every way: full of information and insights about how to eat well for less, and how to plan, shop, and cook in the most efficient way possible. A bargain at $13.95 -- this is a budget bible of a cookbook that belongs up there on your shelf with Joy of Cooking and Fanny Farmer.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By K Miller on September 20, 2006
Format: Paperback
I bought this book at a kid's book fair from the 'Parents Table' because when I flipped through it every recipe caught my eye. I went home and feeling overwhelmed at life and meal planning sat down and checked it out. In 30 minute I had my meals for the next week planned straight from this cookbook. I've cooked ten of the recipes and each one was excellent--and my picky kids ate them! Nothing can recommend a cookbook more to me than my fussy kids eating the meals. The food is a little bland, but in the introduction it explains why and anyone can throw in a few more herbs and spices to dress-up these recipes---and I have to say the meals are fast, simple and easy---and my dinner budget for the first week was $100 and I didn't have to go over it (my family has three kids), and even entertained friends on that budget for two meals that week! I'm buying all their books as a result of the fabulousness of this book.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By G. Harter on March 19, 2007
Format: Paperback
We ran into some financial rough patches and we had to scale down the household budget. I looked over the bank statement for the past month and we have spent almost $1000 going out for lunches and dinner! I was shocked. I told my husband he was brown bagging it and I was going to buckle down and cook more. I saw this book at the school book fair and I took a shot. It was wonderful. I've been using their recipes about 4 nights a week for the past 4 months. The food is fun and easy to change a bit to suit your families taste. We LOVE the Hawaiian Metals and the Orange Chicken. The kids love the Wagon Wheel West pasta.

Our food budget including our bi-weekly visit to a restaurant is $600 a month for a family of 5. It's well worth the $13.
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