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Real Simple: Meals Made Easy Hardcover – April 11, 2006

4.5 out of 5 stars 61 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Series: Real Simple
  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Oxmoor House (April 11, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1933405031
  • ISBN-13: 978-1933405032
  • Product Dimensions: 10.2 x 1 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (61 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #249,110 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I am a "been there, done that" cook. So I use very few cookbooks. If I am baking a cake, sure, I pull down "Joy of Cooking" or better yet, I am likely to make a genoise from "Mastering the Art of French Cooking." I have about 10 cookbooks, but those two plus "The New York Times Cookbook" are the only ones I refer to. Otherwise, I am making my standard fare most nights. For parties, I pull down my three or four tried-and-true recipes from my card box.

BUT...."Meals Made Easy" is a cookbook I think I will be adding to my slim pile of regulars. Wow! I found page after page of easy but elegant meals, from corn-scallop chowder (a variant on my standard crowd-pleasing corn-potato chowder), and a number of composed salads of great merit like tuna and white bean, Greek Salad. The Greek salad is not the usual romaine-and-feta-and-olive, either. This one has cherry tomatoes, pear tomatoes, cheese, pepperoncini and cucumber cubes. And there were sauces and variants on chops and steak that go from boring to glorified. And there are variations on meatballs, chops, steak strips, stir fry that are a twist on the usual but are absolutely easy. The pictures are appetizing and inspiring, which helps you decide, yes THAT'S what's for dinner.

The book is divided into the following sections:
1. One Pot Meals
2. No Shop Meals
3. 30 Minute Meals
4. No Cook Meals
5. Freezer Meals
6. Shortcut Meals
7. Reliable Sides

There are a few basics like lasagna and roast chicken. There are money saving ideas (from boning chicken breast to those no-shop meals that save a budget-busting takeout night or restaurant night.) There are no desserts.
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Format: Hardcover
Real Simple dishes up "Real Simple Meals Made Easy" to offer "think fast" solutions for dinner.

The book includes One Pot Meals (use one pan), No-Shop Meals (use items in your pantry), 30 minute meals (take 1/2 hour or less), No Cook Meals (no need to turn on the stove), Freezer Meals (make ahead and store), Shortcut Meals (premade ingredients) and Reliable Sides (compliment your main dish).

Sample meals include: Beef and Beer Stew, Chicken Cacciatore, Cheddar French Toast with Sizzled Tomatoes, Spiced Lamb Chops with Chickpea Salad, Lasagna Style Baked Ziti and many more!

Directions and ingredients are clearly spelled out in this 10" by 10" oversized hardcover. As with all Chic Simple books that I have read it is beautifully designed with lovely pictures and easy to read text. The book includes a ribbon to easily book mark your page.

There is a lot of love in this book. Recipes are tasty and for the most part really simple. Yet they have an elegance about them that makes others feel like you must have spent hours in the kitchen. The lavish yet simple photoraphs are mouth watering and indusive to spending time in the kitchen!

There are several drawbacks to the book however. The recipes do not incude nutritional information. No calorie, protein, sodium or any of those type of counts. And the second drawback is finding the recipes. If you dont feel like cooking you could go to the No Cook Recipes section. Then you would have to look at each recipe and see if you have the ingredients. A simple list of No Cook Recipes to start the section or at the beginning of the book would have been a tremendous help. You can go to the index and look under No Cook Meals or chicken for example but I feel this could have been done in a more effective manner where it was easier to locate and use.

Overall lots of mouthwatering recipes, great ideas and yummy visuals - a nice complement to your kitchen!
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Format: Hardcover
`meals made easy' by Renee Schettler and the staff of `Real Simple' magazine is their first culinary book, which reflects the editorial philosophy of the magazine, especially since everything in the book is reprinted from the magazine's pages.

It is not surprising that this book has a strong similarity to `Martha Stewart Living', as `Real Simple' magazine came out shortly after Martha created her own company by buying her way out of her contract with Time-Life. Both magazines have a very clean look about them, strongly distinguishing themselves from the rather dowdy `Better Homes and Gardens' and `Good Housekeeping' aesthetic which seem to be stuck somewhere in the 1950's. `Real Simple', as it should be easy to guess, distinguishes itself from `Martha Stewart Living' by focusing on the interests and resources of the energetic young professional couple where both partners work and have relatively little time for elaborate techniques for window treatments or even novel new techniques for decorating Easter eggs.

The design of this book reflects everything I like about the `Real Simple' aesthetic. Layout is clean and sparse, allowing you to focus on the essentials. I am somewhat impressed by the cleverer than average cover picture, where a logical sequence is depicted by the front and back photographs. For an especially reasonable list price of under $25, I am also impressed by the book designers' including a built-in bookmark ribbon (I'm certain there is a really good technical term for these little devices, but I don't know what it is. I only know that very few cookbooks come with them, and more should include them, especially those that will find their way to the kitchen table after a quick browse in your favorite armchair to find an attractive recipe).
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