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Customer Review

42 of 48 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mostly Simple Recipes, March 27, 2012
This review is from: Weeknights with Giada: Quick and Simple Recipes to Revamp Dinner (Hardcover)
Weeknights with Giada: Quick and Simple Recipes to Revamp Dinner is a collection of mostly simple dinners that the chef makes for her own family, husband and four year old daughter and occasional extended family and friends. The With her busy schedule, Giada likes to keep weeknight meals simple. Her four year old has been eating what they eat for the past year, so this book contains recipes that she adapted for all of them to share at mealtimes.

A beautiful book with lots of photos that show off the food and and Giada and her friends and family. (Yes, they are so photogenic.)

The book is divided as follows:
Soups and salads
Bruschettas
Sandwiches and pizzas
Pasta and grains
Meat, poultry and fish
Change of pace
Breakfast for dinner
Veggies and sides
Desserts

Many recipes are healthy and look very good, as Giada incorporates more whole grains and pastas into her recipes. The family eats meatless on Mondays for health. That said, my chief complaint is how much meat is used in most recipes. For example, there is a full pound of bacon in the cauliflower soup. (It sounds delicious, however, and I will make it with about 1/3 of a pound.)

Giada explains to the reader how to save time cooking. As a former caterer/chef, I think she gives some good advice. For example, when using a food processor, if you need to process several items, do them in the order that you don't have to clean machine between ingredients. Great advice--I often think twice about using my processor because clean up is so time consuming.

Some time saving tips are silly; pre-cooked brown rice, for instance. Yes, brown rice takes about 50 minutes to make, but it is chiefly unattended. Start it when you begin to cook and it'll be ready when rest of meal is finished. Pre-cooked brown rice is just not that tasty and costs much more than raw does.

Giada shares what she considers staples in her kitchen: marinara sauce, store bought pizza dough, frozen vegetables like artichokes, peas and edamame....all good choices. (My two cents--Trader Joe's canned artichokes in water and great and instantly ready for any recipe.)

I am going to try the asparagus soup with herbed goat cheese tonight and will report back. Many recipes look terrific and I look forward to trying them. I also look forward to the cauliflower soup with (less) bacon.

I also like the "Change of Pace" chapter where the author gets away from her signature Italian food (not that there is anything wrong with that delicious cuisine) and explores dishes from around the world. Note--I tend to cook "around the globe," Korean being my latest kick, so I really appreciate this. Cooking different cuisines really keep meals interesting and varied.

If you are a beginner cook, you may not find this book that easy, but for the average cook, most seem easy and very fast. Lots of fresh veggies, too. Dessert is not my thing, but Giada includes some great looking ones.

Recommend.

Author, Harmonious Environment
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Mar 29, 2012 6:04:20 AM PDT
Nice review of the contents, but I'd like to see you actually USE the book before reviewing so you can report on if the recipes met their claims of easy, tasty, etc.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 29, 2012 6:52:54 AM PDT
I understand your sentiments, but as a professional chef, I am pretty accurate at judging recipes by simply reading them. I will be adding comments after trying several of her recipes, however.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 8, 2012 7:43:04 AM PDT
Naomi B. says:
I agree, Norma..I am not a professionally trained chef, but have cooked for 30 years at an "expert" level, have a food blog and have been encouraged to do a cookbook, I think an experienced cook can assess recipes by ingredients and how they are prepared/laid out. I am seeing criticisms like this all over Amazon cookbook reviews and find it absolutely INFURIATING, as though no criticisms are allowed!!
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