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Cheap. Fast. Good! Paperback – December 12, 2005
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From Publishers Weekly
The focus in this collection aimed at working parents like the loyal fans of Mills and Ross's "Desperation Dinners" syndicated newspaper column is far more on how to save money than on quality or speed. The authors offer many helpful penny-pinching ideas, such as finding bread outlet stores and getting reasonably priced salad greens. Most of the recipes are quick to assemble, even for less experienced cooks, as long as frozen or canned ingredients are used and not the optional fresh or from-scratch versions. How tasty the food is will depend on the family; almost all the dishes, such as the simple, warming A Chicken in Every Pot, have an unfussy feel to them, which is great for picky kids but may strike some as too bland. The authors make gestures to international cuisine, as with the Moroccan-style Lentil and Chickpea Soup with Cilantro, and Mary's Greek-Inspired Pasta, but to minimize costs they use few spices or special ingredients, often resulting in inauthentic takes on another country's food. But cooks who are too thrifty or frazzled (or both) to be snobbish about the sophistication of what they prepare will undoubtedly relish the authors' familiar, easygoing but expert manner and the satisfying variety of recipes. (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Who doesn’t want to eat cheaper? And who doesn’t want to eat better? And who wouldn’t like to sit down to a dinner of Salmon Pasta with Tomatoes and Dill, or Pan-Fried Pork Chops with Pepper Medley, or Enchanting Enchiladas, or Moroccan Meatballs over Couscous—and know that any one of these meals (for four) costs less than $2 a serving?
In their two previous cookbooks, Desperation Dinners! and Desperation Entertaining!—together with over 330,000 copies in print— Beverly Mills and Alicia Ross showed us how to save time in the kitchen without ever sacrificing flavor. Now the Desperate duo turns to the universally appealing idea of saving money, too. Cheap. Fast. Good! is not a penny-pinching cookbook—it’s a “get smart” cookbook. It’s about planning smart, shopping smart, cooking smart, and, not coincidentally, about eating smart. The work of two brilliant problem solvers, it presents 275 delicious recipes that are thrifty, quick to prepare, and intrinsically family-friendly and healthy, too: Barbecued Chicken and Black Bean Burritos, Sweet Onion Chowder, Bayou Stew, Ham and Asparagus Crostini, Basic Beef Brisket, Perfect Spinach Pesto Pizza, Gayle’s Country-Style Steak, Souped-Up Chicken Stroganoff. Recipes are filled with techniques for pushing flavor, substituting ingredients, and using what’s in the refrigerator or pantry already, and every chapter includes strategies for running a kitchen more economically—The When, Where, and How of Shopping, The Miracle of Menu Planning, Making Your Own Convenience Items, Cutting Up a Roasted Chicken, and more. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
I don't know what the other reviewer was talking about with there being too many chilis, too many "batch" meals requiring a premade roast. If that is putting you off, you should know that those roasts can be made in a slow cooker, easily. The only overabundance I found was "skillet" recipes, and they point out that these one pot meals are money savers. But I found plenty of variety, not to mention lots of non-batch options.
For those who are health conscious, I'm following Weight Watchers, and I don't forsee any trouble adapting the recipes to my needs.
Most of the recipes cover the "but we don't have any meat thawed" dilemma by walking you through the steps of getting it partially thawed so you can work with it. And I plan on trying the batch recipes later this week.
Additionally, the practical advice about saving money when you grocery shop, the non-recipe parts, is great. I plan on incorporating several suggestions right away, such as cutting up my own chicken parts, only buying meat when it's on sale, limiting my warehouse club buys to the most valuable deals, and making my own broth.
Because of the advice in this book, I've reevaluated my grocery needs, and while I was certain we "needed" to go grocery shopping early this week, I've since figured we can probably make it through the week, only needing to pick up a few things.
Even though I considered myself a very frugal shopper, this showed me that there is much more I could do.
One word though: if you want to make your own beans, I believe the blog "A Veggie Venture" has a better recipe (because it involves a slow cooker and no soaking-a winner as far as I'm concerned."
But, as you can see, I can't say enough. Good advice, and not too preachy... you pick what to do based on your values and your needs.
As with any book emphasizing low cost foods you will have to prep and then cook quickly later.
If you don't mind doing this, the book does have a nice selection of tasty recipes.