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19 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Within her genre, she's still the best
`Just in Time' by Rachael Ray is an expected departure from her '30 Minute Meal' comfort zone, since her magazine and TV show will naturally broaden her audience to people who have either more or less time than needed for her standard timing. The expansion goes to 15 minute and 60 minute meals. The 60 minute meal category broadens Rachael's palate to include braises and...
Published on December 30, 2007 by B. Marold

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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
I LOVE RR but found this book to be sooooooo repetitive. I own all of her books and this one seems to be the same recipes from other books with the addition of tons of fire roasted tomatoes and spicy ingredients. Definitely disappointing compared to her other awesome books!
Published on November 18, 2007 by love to cook


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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, November 18, 2007
I LOVE RR but found this book to be sooooooo repetitive. I own all of her books and this one seems to be the same recipes from other books with the addition of tons of fire roasted tomatoes and spicy ingredients. Definitely disappointing compared to her other awesome books!
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50 of 62 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Too few pictures and print is blue - can't read it!, November 23, 2007
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I just love Rachael Ray and always watch her television shows and own every book but I think whoever at Clarkson Potter Publishers that selected the colors on this book should be fired. The print is light blue and orange on white paper, it's very hard to read. Anyone with eye trouble or bi-focals would not be able to read the print, it blends together after a few lines. The little "tidbit" note boxes are then yellow print on an orange background. And the chapter headings are blue and white print on orange...Who can read that? It causes vertigo after 4 lines. Terrible layout and design.
There are only about 8 pictures in the very front of the book, don't they have a food photographer at Clarkson Potter, or didn't they want to invest any more money into the book? Perhaps they figured Rachael's name would sell it and didn't have to make a really useful, usable, pretty cookbook. Did they think nobody would notice?
One of the 15 minute recipes calls for cooking bacon in 5 minutes. I'm not sure where Rachael gets her bacon but I've never had bacon cook in 15 minutes, much less in 5 minutes. The same recipe then calls for halving, pitting and scooping out 2 avocados then smashing and mixing with fresh lime (after you've just juiced it), slicing 2 tomatoes, slicing 4 tuna steaks into 8 and then cooking on the stove; in addition to halving baguette bread and toasting it while cleaning and slicing up a head of bibb lettuce. Then finally after all that's done you assemble your sandwiches. That's a 15 minutes recipe?
Many of the recipes are probably not family friendly. There's a pan-roasted fish with burst tomato sauce and gnocchi with tarragon-chive butter. iffy. Another Cuban Surf and Turf combines pork and shrimp with alot of cumin, cayenne, paprika, hot sauce...not sure kids could take the heat. Same thing with Greek Kebabs, it's a combination of fish and chicken with too much green olive tapenade, red pepper flakes, onions, greek hot peppers, kalamata olives...on and on and on. You'd have to get a payday cash advance to buy all the ingredients. And I don't think the kids would eat it even if you could cook it in 30 minutes.
Yet another recipe is balsamic chicken with pesto gravy and bitter greens. It's suppose to be a 15 minute meal, I'm just not sure about pesto gravy in heavy cream with bitter greens. It just doesn't sound appealing. Perhaps if there was a picture I'd be more inclined to try it??
I feel the book is full of odd ingredients that I'm just not sure that Rachael Ray use to cook like this. Just tons of recipes with piquillo peppers, tamari, dry sherry, sesame tahini paste, greek yogurt, pickled watermelon rind (where do you buy that?), boursin cheese...etc.
sigh...I wouldn't even mind all the goofy recipes if there had been pictures of the food, pictures of Rachael or even Isaboo.
It's very disappointing.
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19 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Within her genre, she's still the best, December 30, 2007
`Just in Time' by Rachael Ray is an expected departure from her '30 Minute Meal' comfort zone, since her magazine and TV show will naturally broaden her audience to people who have either more or less time than needed for her standard timing. The expansion goes to 15 minute and 60 minute meals. The 60 minute meal category broadens Rachael's palate to include braises and roasts, which also opens the door to using less expensive meats (one of the down sides of quick cooking is that it tends to need the more expensive cuts and sources such as beef and pork fillets, fish, and shellfish, or, less `healthy' forms such as ground meats).
Rachael does not emulate her '30 Minute Meal' TV show template in her books anymore. This template involves a three course meal, with a protein, a starch, and a vegetable. She does, however, commonly make most 30 and 60 minute meals into a two-dish combo, usually a protein and a salad, with the two dishes sharing some ingredients. One thing Rachael has not done is to embrace the `cook ahead' template espoused by some of her Food Network colleagues. I applaud this, as I think the `cook ahead' strategy really doesn't fit Rachael's audience, which welcomes her `cooking on impulse' style, best exemplified by one of her earlier books, `Express Lane Meals'. She has also remained true to her understated allegiance to fresh ingredients. Legions of cookbook writers tout their love of fresh, locally grown produce, as if they discovered the idea yesterday. From her very first books, Rachael has quietly embraced the principle of using ingredients fresh from the grocery, with backup being sung by great ingredients from the pantry. Unlike the `70% store-bought / 30% homemade formula by another Food Network colleague, Rachael is virtually 100% fresh or first class pantry items such as dried pasta and canned tomatoes.
Either Rachael is getting better at writing recipes or I'm getting better at reading them, but whatever the reason, I find Rachael's recipes just a bit better written than in some of her earlier books. The most noticeable change is that there are fewer `cute' expressions held over from her stream of consciousness presentation in front of the camera (maybe she hired a better editor or recipe tester).
Another thing which has not changed is that I'm skeptical that Rachael's typical audience can really bring off a RR 30 minute meal recipe within 30, or even 60 minutes. This is mostly due to her dedication to the fresh ingredients which require more time to prep than the convenience forms of the same produce. She does not even recommend using the pre-pealed or pre-diced garlic. I've found several recipes which require prep work for eight to ten ingredients. So, if your knife skills are not up to snuff, prep chopping alone can take 30 minutes. Like the rule about quick cooking needing expensive ingredients, this leads us to the rule that quick cooking requires good cooking skills. And there lies the paradox. Does Rachael's audience like her books because of all the reasons cited above, including the chance to exercise their culinary techniques, or do they like her recipes because they believe they are a lot faster than the recipes in `The Joy of Cooking', the `Gourmet Cookbook', or the latest `Martha Stewart' cookbook. Well, they are faster than these three sources, but the 15 and 30 minute standard for the average home cook is probably a chimera. I suspect fans are lured by the promise of quick and easy, and stay because the food tastes good.
One cost of many of her quick recipes is that they are not the most diet-conscious dishes you will find. This is due to the fact that cooking with oil is a lot faster than cooking with water or air (in the oven). It is also due to the fact that many of her recipes use a lot of animal protein per serving. One burger recipe included half a pound of ground meat, plus additions. So, one must be sure you cook Rachael with one eye on her portion sizes. I suspect many of her portions are easily 50% to 100% larger than they would be if they were part of a three or four course meal.
Lastly, one really has to take many of her recipe names with a touch of humor. Many of the names are simply a spin on famous dish names, to make them attract you to dishes which are a lot easier, but which only have a modest connection with their complicated namesakes. Neither of the two lasagna recipes, for example, uses lasagna noodles. One uses quick cooking polenta and the other uses a tube-shaped pasta to give a lasagna flavor without the lasagna architecture.
Rachael also seems to have toned down her eyeball popping color schemes, but not by much. I simply find them distracting. On the other hand, she has her usually excellent aids to finding that recipe which really fits what you have in mind for tonight.
One of the best things about Rachael's body of work is that you can limit yourself to her nicely inexpensive books and have no feeling that you are missing out on anything, as there is so much of it. And, like many of the others, this has two complete tables of contents to find dishes by ingredient / style and by time to prepare. The only caveat is that you do need books on baking, for as Ms. Rachael says over and over, she has no patience for baking, which is why, like so many of her other books, there are no desserts here!
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16 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Her Best Yet, November 7, 2007
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I don't agree with the first reviewer - I think this is Rachael's best effort yet. I like the 15 and 60 minute recipes - I had been hoping she'd do something like this for a long time. I think she should keep this format for future cookbooks.

I do agree with the first reviewer in that Rachael tends to repeat a lot of the same ingredients and types of recipes. I also think that she should be branching out into more "gourmet" style recipes that don't betray her focus on simple, fresh, easy food aimed at the home cook. I think that if anyone can do that it would be Rachael, and I hope she does.

I also agree that there should be more photos in the book. At least if the recipes get repetitive the photos would make for something new and interesting to look at for those of us bored with the lackluster format. Perhaps her books wouldn't feel like just a rehash of the same old stuff if she only came out with cookbooks when the inspiration hit instead of timing it with the holiday gift season. Perhaps "Just in Time" refers to her having once again gotten a cookbook to print "just in time" for the holiday season!

I think that in the future Rachael should include slimmed-down versions of some of her more popular recipes, plus new more "figure friendly" (sorry, couldn't resist!) recipes. And really figure-friendly, too! No gobs of cheese, oil and cream! Now that Valerie Bertinelli has lost 30+ pounds on Jenny Craig and joined Rachael's talk show as a content buddy, I think this new addition would be both timely and in demand with Rachael's audience.

In spite of all my criticism I like the book very much. I don't own all of her books (although I have seen all of them in depth) so perhaps that's why this doesn't feel old to me. My mouth is already watering thinking about trying some of the recipes!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It Works, March 13, 2009
By 
Maryann Y (New York, NY) - See all my reviews
Rachel's cookbook does what it says. It offers recipes and tips for how to save time while eating yummy meals. One of my favorite recipes is the Gnocchi with Spinach and Gorgonzola. Coming home from work/school left me drained. But, pushing myself an extra 15 minutes to prepare this dish was WORTH IT! It was absolutely delicious and the best part? It didn't cost a bundle of money to fund. I whole-heartedly recommend this product.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars not my favorite, September 10, 2008
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I got this cookbook when it first came out but I was disappointed after I flipped through it looking for new recipes. Some of the recipes have been featured in her magazine or in other cookbooks. Also, some recipes call for too many ingredients or expensive ingredients, such as saffron. And some of the recipes just don't seem too appetizing. Her 365:No repeats book and the express lane cookbook are much better than this.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars a lot of ingredients, December 7, 2007
By 
C. Harmon (California USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
These recipes weren't as simple as I expected. They are yummy but you have to have a variety of ingredients that aren't typically in your cupboard. It was nice to have meals that you could use two different nights.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I love her...but could be better, December 26, 2007
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There are some great receipts and I will try many but as far as the book goes- the text print is hard to read (it's blue) and there aren't any pictures. I love to see the end product with a nice colorful picture. However, I'm excited to cook some of the things in there.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not one of Rachael's better efforts, May 6, 2008
I'm really not enthused about this paper-bound cookbook. It doesn't lay flat easily when opened and that's a real pain with a cookbook. I'd have rather still have a hard-bound with a higher price than this paper-bound option which is difficult for me to use.

I am also disappointed in the lack of pictures. For me, pictures provide inspiration and are an integral part of any cookbook. Even my 30-year-old Betty Crocker cookbook has lots of pictures. But with Just in Time Rachael only included 8 pages of glossy full page photos at the beginning. They're nice, but they're not enough. I'd really like to see more throughout the entire cookbook. As it was, I spent a whole lot of time reading before I even cooked my first recipe out of here. I would have like to see her do a nice little descriptive summary of each recipe in lieu of pictures. She does do this with some of the recipes, but many are inadequate and require a full read of the recipe to completely understand what it is all about.

I also missed the inclusion of her meal menu suggestions seen in my other Rachael cookbook. Each recipe included a suggestion for complementary side dishes, desserts, and the like. Although I didn't always follow them, I often found many great ideas that would work with other recipes as well.

On a positive note, I think Rachel has done a great job in organizing her recipes in Just in Time. The book is divided into 7 chapter topics: Sammies (that's Sandwiches in Rachael lingo), Hot Pots (soups and stews), Noodles, Salads, Fish, Chicken and Beef. Within each chapter the recipes are further subdivided into 15, 30, and 60-minute meals and are color-coded at the top of each page. She also has included a complete breakdown of all recipes after the table of contents which shows every recipe according to recipe type under their respective cooking time. You can also find recipes by ingredients in the index (which seems better done as well in this book.)

3 stars only. Skip this one and get one of her earlier cookbooks.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Rachel Ray Just In Time, February 26, 2008
This is the most unspiring cookbook I have ever seen. It looks like it was done on a budget with no photos and unintersting recipe format. I was very disappointed in my purchase of this cookbook.
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