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The 5:30 Challenge: 5 Ingredients, 30 Minutes, Dinner on the Table Paperback


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The 5:30 Challenge: 5 Ingredients, 30 Minutes, Dinner on the Table + The Six O'Clock Scramble: Quick, Healthy, and Delicious Dinner Recipes for Busy Families + SOS!  The Six O'Clock Scramble to the Rescue: Earth-Friendly, Kid-Pleasing Dinners for Busy Families
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (October 3, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743266382
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743266383
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 7.4 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #958,503 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

How could any low-carb or low-calorie or low-fat meal be prepared in half an hour? Atlanta Journal-Constitution food writers Besser and Puckett share their super secrets of healthy main dishes: lots of prewashed, precooked, preprepared foodstuffs that belie the low number of ingredients and quick fixes. Close to 150 recipes prove their point, categorized mainly into types: sautes, stews, pasta, grilled, baked, wrapped, nuked, and sweet dishes that require no little ingenuity. Accompanied by chatty blurbs almost as long as the instructions, and followed by tips, recommended additional ingredients, and variations to consider, the recipes represent a variety of cuisines, such as Mexican fish fillets, beef and broccoli stir-fry, microwave lasagna (believe it or not!), and bulgogi (Korean beef). A treat for singles and families. Barbara Jacobs
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

About the Author

Jeanne Besser has written The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's "5:30 Challenge" column for more than three years and is the author of The First Book of Baking and Working Mom's Fast and Easy Family Cookbook. She lives with her husband and two sons in Atlanta, Georgia.

Susan Puckett has been the food editor of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Food & Drink section since 1990. She has won national awards for food writing and editing and has authored four previous cookbooks including A Cook's Tour of Mississippi and Dips. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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See all 12 customer reviews
I was so excited to finally receive this book!
usa.cutie
I found it very hard to find a cookbook that provided good recipes that are truly fast, easy to prepare and require only a few ingredients.
Christian Colby
I'm new to cooking, so I was in search of a cookbook with easy recipes with few ingredients that can be found at a regular grocery store.
Lisa W

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Del on July 2, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I checked this out from the library and ended up ordering a copy from Amazon two days later. I've made four or five of the meals so far. All have been tasty, and the prep time is amazingly short; that "30 minutes" includes cooking time, so usually I can get the sides whipped together and the kitchen cleaned up before it's time to eat.

I love books that give you a shopping list, side dish suggestions and a "game plan" of instructions; it's the next best thing to somebody else doing the work for you. The limit of 5 ingredients is a fun gimmick, and for the most part those ingredients are "real" food, not cream o' mushroom in a can.

Some portions were a little small for our family, which includes 2 healthy teenagers. And relying on pre-packaged convenience foods can get pricey--I will probably continue to cook raw potatoes, boil ordinary rice, and chop whole onions. But as the authors point out, it's nice to know we don't have to.

Final comment: the lasagna recipe alone is worth the price of the book.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Stacy Lynch on March 24, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
At last a quick-recipe cookbook that offers healthy meals that still taste good! Several of the recipes are now part of my regular stable of dinner ideas because they use fresh vegetables and a minimum of cans. Even better, the recipes are so simple that I can keep the grocery list in my head. No more elaborate shopping lists. I love the variety of ideas -- a friend and I actually hosted a party using only recipes from the cookbook and it was a fabulous success. Nobody would have ever guessed it came from a quick and easy cookbook.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Richie Malone on January 2, 2006
Format: Paperback
Finally, a cookbook that really does make my life easier instead of more complicated! These recipes make me look like a gourmet cook when really I have just "whipped it up" in less than 30 minutes with only 5 things to throw together. I was so impressed with this book that I ordered 2 cases and gave them away to my friends and family for Christmas. It was a hit!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Christian Colby on December 12, 2008
Format: Paperback
Many cookbooks claim to contain fast recipes -- think Rachel Ray -- but have endless (often expensive) ingredients to track down and then require four arms to do all the chopping and stirring and still finish in 30 stressful minutes. Other cookbooks have only a few ingredients per recipe but take hours to cook. I found it very hard to find a cookbook that provided good recipes that are truly fast, easy to prepare and require only a few ingredients. The 5:30 challenge delivers on all points with recipes with surprisingly sophisticated tastes. I've liked all the recipes I've made, and my wife all but one (disagreeing on the chili). If you don't want to spend a lot of time shopping and cooking after work, but want something you could serve to guests, this book is for you.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Lisa W on February 11, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm new to cooking, so I was in search of a cookbook with easy recipes with few ingredients that can be found at a regular grocery store. I bought 3 cookbooks and I like this one the best.

The main dishes do have 5 ingredients, but if you choose to make the suggested side dishes, it can be a little over 5. Like 6 or 7 ingredients, still not alot. It takes me longer than 30 minutes to make, but that could be because I'm going slow and being careful to do everything right since I'm not very confident in the kitchen yet.

I like how the recipes are a little unusual, not the boring typical American diet. I'm making things I would not have thought of and that are a little adventurous, but they are always delicious. It's not super gourmet, but it's a little gourmet, which I like. It makes eating at home now a pleasure instead of wanting to go out to a restaurant all the time.

The Atlanta Journal Constitution website also has more recipes from their 5:30 challenge column.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Reese on January 27, 2008
Format: Paperback
Minimal ingredients, quick & easy to follow recipes! My husband has tried fixing several of the recipes too. This is a great book if you (like most of us) don't want to spend your whole night in the kitchen, but you want dinner to taste like you did!
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