Top positive review
242 of 245 people found this helpful
Excellent cookbook, but deceptively titled
on February 19, 2002
First, I do enjoy this cookbook. Everything I have made from it has been wonderful, and if you like the recipes in "Simply the Best: 250 Prizewinning Family Recipes" then I think you will like the recipes in this book. They are slightly more gourmet and less homey than the recipes in "Simply the Best," so if "Simply the Best" was pushing the edge of the exotic envelope for you, then you might prefer a different WW cookbook than this one for your next purchase.
The book is organized into three color-coded sections (15 minute, 20 minute, and 30 minutes) and each section is organized into breakfast, lunch, and dinner recipes. Many of the lunch recipes would also work well for dinner or as part of dinner. This is the sort of cookbook that you will enjoy sitting down with and sticking post-it notes to promising recipes.
However, I give this book 4 stars instead of 5 because the preparation times for the recipes are frequently deceptive. They are not the times for fixing these recipes from start to finish, they assume that you have already performed your preps. So, a 30 minute recipe might not include the time for pulling all of the ingredients out of the pantry and refrigerator, and tasks such as slicing raw chicken breasts or steak into strips, chopping onions, mincing garlic, chopping parsley, or peeling, deseeding, and slicing cucumbers. The cookbook "Desperation Dinners" by Beverly Mills and Alicia Ross (not a lowfat cookbook), for example, is truly a 20 minute start-to-finish recipe cookbook; this one is not, although in most cases the actual time will not be too much more than the stated time. One exception is the Apricot Glazed Pork Skewers with Mango Quinoa, which is supposed to be ready in 30 minutes. Even if your preps are all ready ahead of time I think you'd be hard-pressed to prepare this dish in under 45 minutes. The 30 minutes includes thinly slicing 1-1/2 pounds of pork tenderloin and threading it onto 12 skewers, which alone took me a good 15 minutes.
One thing I like about this cookbook is that it finally got me to try cooking with Fat-Free Half-and-Half, and I have been very pleased with the recipes that use this, such as a Creamy Cauliflower Soup (saute leeks in a little olive oil, add frozen cauliflower and canned chicken broth, simmer, puree, then finish with FF Half-and-Half, nutmeg, and S&P). My favorites recipes in this book, so far, are the Banana Chocolate Chip Pancakes, Greek Chicken Pasta Toss, Chicken with Spicy Marmalade Glaze, Chicken Tacos with Salsa Verde Cream, and Sesame Glazed Shrimp with Snow Peas and Baby Corn.