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Rachael Ray Express Lane Meals: What to Keep on Hand, What to Buy Fresh for the Easiest-Ever 30-Minute Meals Paperback – April 18, 2006

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Rachael Ray Express Lane Meals: What to Keep on Hand, What to Buy Fresh for the Easiest-Ever 30-Minute Meals + Rachael Ray 365: No Repeats--A Year of Deliciously Different Dinners (A 30-Minute Meal Cookbook) + Rachael Ray's Look + Cook
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Clarkson Potter; 1ST edition (April 18, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400082552
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400082551
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 0.8 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (102 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #53,452 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Ray has made quite a name for herself on The Food Network, where she hosts four shows, and in a baker's dozen of cookbooks mostly dedicated to easy-to-prepare cuisine. To love this book is to love the author's quirks, like calling extra virgin olive oil "EVOO" and hearty soups "stoups." But her recipes are tasty, simple and often sophisticated enough to turn even doubters into fans. This cookbook, the author's 11th, is dedicated to quick after-work meals and is separated into chapters called "Meals for the Exhausted," "Meals for the Not Too Tired" and "Bring it On! (But Be Gentle)." A meal for the pretty much awake, Smoked Paprika Chicken with Egg Noodles and Buttered Warm Radishes, is the sort of thick, nourishing plate a person craves when the thermometer drops. Pasta in a Creamy Artichoke and Saffron Sauce is luxurious with its sauce of saffron, heavy cream and parmigiano. The chicken and chorizo burritos called Dinner, Wrapped Up are cheesy, filling kid-pleasers, even if the accompanying text can be wince-inducing ("it's a way-cool mega-rrito, dude!"). But what's most remarkable about these dishes is that they take less than an hour to prepare-often a lot less-but they taste like they took all day. For busy, exhausted cooks, that's worth all the quirkiness in the world.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Rachael Ray appears daily on Food Network as the host of 30-Minute Meals, $40 a Day, Inside Dish, and Tasty Travels. She is the creator of her own lifestyle magazine, Every Day with Rachael Ray, as well as the author of ten bestselling cookbooks. Rachael lives in the Adirondacks.

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Customer Reviews

I've tried several recipes so far, and they've all been easy to follow and taste great.
A. Arey
I have come to the unfortunate conclusion that Ms. Ray just churns these books out as fast as she can in order to capitalize on her popularity as much as possible.
Jessica Williams
The list will save you a lot of time with future 30-minute meals as you use recipes from other Rachael Ray cookbooks.
Donald Mitchell

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

181 of 189 people found the following review helpful By Theresa Reed on April 19, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"Rachael Ray is a very busy lady" - so says the back of Ray's new book, "Express Lane Meals". With a show on the Food Network, a slew of cookbooks and a recent magazine venture, you would think that she has no time left to write another book. But obviously, this wonder woman has found the time to do it again!

This book is focused on those of us who come home from work, exhausted, but still want a good, quality meal on the table without a lot of fuss. In Express Lane Meals, Ray emphasizes that this can be done - with a well stocked pantry and freezer - plus a few simple ingredients that you can pick up at the store on your way home. The secret is this - about every two weeks (or less depending on your usage), you do a "big shop", where you buy all the staple pantry/freezer/fridge ingredients that you keep on hand(ex: eggs, Parmesan cheese, pasta, frozen corn, lemons, canned beans, etc.) and then, you combine these ingredients with a few fresh items - and presto - you have quick, delicious dinners faster than you can say checkout!

The food is typical Ray fare: lots of pastas, some Tex-mex and Asain, plus plenty of Italian. The recipes are really nice and tasty with everything from Balsalmic Chicken with White Beans and Wilted Spinach to Thai-Style Grilled Beef in Broth with a Lot o' Noodles. Each recipe features the "Express Lane Shopping List" (what you need to pick up at the store) as well as a list of ingredients that you should have on hand from those 'big shop' days. This is a really handy feature and it helps you to be organized so that you are not caught without your necessities.

The book is divided into three sections: Meals for the Exhausted, Meals for the Not Too Tired, Bring it On! This allows you to choose from super easy to more complicated meals.
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268 of 296 people found the following review helpful By B. Marold HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWER on April 21, 2006
Format: Paperback
`Express Lane Meals' by Rachael Ray, the '30 Minute Meal' diva does `pantry cooking' right where almost everyone else gets some important part of this concept wrong.

I always feel the need to justify my liking Rachael Ray's books and TV Show, since my personal taste in cooking runs to masters of the serious and elaborate recipes of Julia Child, Paula Wolfert, and Marcella Hazan.

First, Rachael has a twist to her '30 Minute Meal' shows which I have seen no one else do. That is, like a printed recipe, Rachael starts by ticking off the ingredients she will need for her. Then, she gives more than the average information on how she preps and how to do it for the 30-minute meal objective.

Second, Rachael uses very few gadgets and tricks in her prep work. I usually see no more than a very good Santoku knife, a microplane, some wooden spoons, a spatula and a vegetable peeler. She occasionally uses the food processor she rarely uses the microwave. To be sure, she uses a lot of pots and pans, but one would probably be able to do everything Rachael does with two large skillets, two large saute pans, an 8 or 12 quart stock pot, and a two burner grilling surface.

Third, Rachael manages to carry out her 30-minute strategy with relatively few prepared products. And, one can always easily make your own versions of those prepared items such as stocks, salsas, and sauces if you wish.

Fourth, Rachael rarely gets into the `weekend prep ahead' mode popular with some quick cooking advocates. I suspect that if you really have not much more than 30 minutes to cook on a Monday, your weekends are probably also pretty well booked up, so you don't really have much time to do 3 to 4 hours of prep work, labeling, and freezing.
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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful By LovetoRead on October 29, 2006
Format: Paperback
It appears most reviewers either love this cookbook or hate it. I'm firmly in the middle. I bought this book because this is a pantry-meal cookbook. No exceptional ingredients (in my opinion), doesn't take more than 30 mins (I did the Leek-y Chicken in 7 mins.) and the recipes are easy to manipulate if you want to go in another direction.

So, its a pantry-meal cookbook. Its a great place to turn when you're looking for something basic, easy and in your pantry already. I haven't loved the recipes yet--they are actually somewhat bland. But I've done them by the book, so to speak.

I didn't by her book for fine cuisine. I bought it to give me some fresh ideas when I'm feeling brain dead after a long day--and REALLY don't want to make rice and beans again or mac and cheese. I consider these recipes to be a great starting point from which I can add my own touches. The recipes that I've read, but not made, all seem solid and workable.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on September 22, 2006
Format: Paperback
I am always surprised to hear people say they don't like Ray's books. I have most of them, and everything I have ever made has been wonderful. I am an "accomplished cook" like one of the other reviewers, but instead of finding the cookbook full of cute stuff, I find that it is the perfect antidote to my insanely hectic days as a teacher. (We don't get home at 3--just an aside!!) I bought the few items I didn't already have from the suggested "keep on hand" list, and even on the nights that I haven't planned ahead, I can make a quick, healthy, tasty meal using one of her recipes. And as for the "methods" Ray always talks about, they've saved my exhausted self on many a day--got some beans, pasta, broth/stock, a few spices, garlic and onions? Some veggies? You've got dinner! (In way less than 30 minutes.)
While many of the recipes do take me a little longer than 30 minutes, most of them are right around that time. My problem is that I prep everything first, unlike Ray does. If you follow her recipes verbatim, you'll find that your times are close. (My knife skills aren't quite as quick, either.)
My favorite recipe from the book so far would have to be the Eggplant/veggie stew. It was really rich and flavorful--my husband said he knew there wasn't, but it seemed like there was meat in it. I also loved the one pot spicy chicken and couscous recipe.
As for some of the health concerns: I agree that occasionally Ray errs on the side of too much fat (oil, cheese, butter, oversized meat portions) but I adjust the recipes to what I know makes more sense: less of those, add more vegetables. And if you take them exactly as they are, they're still healthier than eating out, by a long shot.
Ray is my go-to helper in the kitchen, and this is my favorite book so far. Easy, tasty, and quick.
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