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Sara Moulton's Everyday Family Dinners Hardcover – April 6, 2010

4.5 out of 5 stars 47 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Moulton, famed Food Network and public television star and author of Sara's Secrets for Weeknight Meals, shares 200 recipes for busy home cooks. While many cookbooks offer quick recipes for weeknight meals, Moulton takes the concept several steps further by creating dishes that reflect the way Americans truly eat at home. Inspired by the recession, she creates meals that are inexpensive yet flavorful and offers suggestions for variations, such as making the dish lighter, vegetarian, or with different ingredients. She offers two-for-one dishes, where a second new meal is created with leftovers from the first meal as well as five-ingredient main dishes. She also devotes entire chapters to vegetarian dishes and whole grain meals, and her poultry section includes turkey meatballs. She not only condones but advocates appetizers for dinner and dedicating a night for sandwiches and another to soup. Recipe highlights include black bean soup with quesadillas, Peking duck wraps, Thai-style beef stir-fry with chilis and mint, sautéed beer-batter shrimp with tartar sauce, and three-ingredient apple crisp. This refreshing, accessible, and tasty collection more than lives up to the promise of its title and will delight the legions of Moulton fans, earning her more than a few new ones. (Apr.)
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From Booklist

Moulton is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, former executive chef of the now-defunct Gourmet magazine, a TV host, and a cookbook author (Sara’s Secrets for Weeknight Meals, 2005). Despite these credentials, don’t expect lengthy recipes demanding weekends in the kitchen, exotic and hard-to-find ingredients, and complicated “new wave” cooking techniques (sous vide, anyone?). No, the author’s 200 recipes are accessible and span all major cuisines, from Korea, South America, and Britain to down-home U.S.A. There is also an educational component packed into almost every single page; sidebars explain, for instance, the selection of a good soy sauce, the difference between hamburger and ground beef, and the best place to store eggs. The recipes, each prefaced with a personal narrative, are seductive, and include individual huevos rancheros, Peking duck wraps, speedy moussaka, vegetarian paprikash, deviled bones, Peruvian baked chicken thighs, and fruit pot stickers. --Barbara Jacobs

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; 1st edition (April 6, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1439102511
  • ISBN-13: 978-1439102510
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 1.2 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #50,018 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

By Judy Lesley TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 3, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
To my way of thinking Sara Moulton has always been one of those "food" personalities who prepares food I actually "need" to make. She gives me hints, tips, ideas, and alternative thinking which shows me that I'm not totally bored with cooking quite yet. Maybe teetering on the edge, but Sara can pull me back. Several factors are involved here. #1. There are just two of us now for me to cook for. We don't want the heavy meals I've been cooking for 46 years. #2. I do exactly what Sara mentioned, I prepare the same dishes over and over until I'm tired to death of them. #3. I hear about all these interesting sounding ingredients but don't know what they are or how to use them. Once again, Sara to the rescue.

Now, a little information concerning how the book is designed. First we get to sit down with Sara and have a chat (at least that's what it feels like) about her philosophy behind this book and what specifically she means when she lists certain ingredients in her recipes: salt is Kosher, butter is unsalted, avocados are Haas, canned tomatos should be fire roasted if possible, etc. Then we get into the recipes. There are 200 listed recipes in the book, 65 of those are vegetarian. (Seventy-eight recipes show the vegetarian icon, but 13 of those are desserts.) There are chapters which focus on soup as the main course of your meal, the fact that it's okay to have a sandwich for supper, combine two or more different appetizers as a main meal, a spirited defense of the egg as a main ingredient, five ingredient main meals, how to cook one time for two meals, a total of 16 chapters of recipes. And those recipes are written by a real person who talks you all the way through them. Don't have a specific item to complete this ingredient list?
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Format: Hardcover
It depends on where you are coming from...., April 22, 2010

This review is from: Sara Moulton's Everyday Family Dinners (Hardcover)
I love Sara Moulton! I own all her books. And still watch reruns on weeknight meals on NY25. BUT, I also think Ruth Reichl's Gourmet Cookbook is excellent. I too, love Jacques Pepin. So, having been raised from THAT group of cooking instructors, Sara's recipes are natural, a delight, and evidence of an active exploratory mind in the kitchen. Who can't think of Pepin's omelette with Perigod Truffles and Caviar Canapes?- and this is what he calls his "FAST FOOD my way."

Now, if you are coming from Rachel Ray, Guy Fieri, and Giada....and are taught to throw meals together in 30 minutes with your bare fists, you are in for a rude awakening: you will get the Smackdown. Witness Chicken Saltimbocca with Artichoke Sauce (artichoke hearts (from can) with Proscuitto di Parma , fresh sage leaves, and homemade chicken stock). Although simpler substitutes are given, Sara admits that she feels restricted when asked to cook with five ingredients. She's been trying to water it down for a few books already. My guess is, you can't change a personality. If you sincerely have a complex palette, so be it!

I will say this though: Cooking, to me, is like haute couture. You look at the difficult dishes, and even when you simplify, you still end up at a higher plateau of flavors than making a simple dish well. That's not to say Sara's recipes are all that difficult. But you do need a fully stocked pantry. You may have trouble if the only place you can shop in town is the Walmart or Target. You need to review the recipe and make sure you have all the ingredients before hand.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Moulton's first book, a delightful family scrapbook hidden in a cookbook, met with some hand-wringing from fans who bemoaned the fact that there wasn't enough time to put together a meal (a nice way, I suppose of saying one of "her" proposed meals). Always attentive to her fans however, she then came out with the streamlined "Sara's Secrets for Weeknight Meals" and accompanying TV series. After that, Food Network, for reasons only known to insiders, did not renew the contract of one of the few who brought them to where they are today. Then Gourmet magazine shut its doors.

Sara makes a good case in the intro to her new book: with tons of recipes and advice on the internet, how does one decide which ones to follow? I myself have gone down that path many a new dishes. What you get in this book is years of hands-on experience, professional expertise, and an American angle -on Moulton's fascination with American and ethnic foods (don't worry, an appendix for finding more obscure ingredients online - even though substitutes are given- are provided). True to the title of the book, the dishes were tested out on her husband and kids. ("The Meathead Husband" has been promoted to "The Husband" since the last book) You'd be surprised how many cookbooks and recipes out there appear good on paper, but have never been tested in a kitchen. No so here: Sara has worked as executive chef and in the test kitchen of this country's most prestigious culinary magazine for 23 years, so is it any surprise that you can take Sara out of Gourmet, but you can't take the gourmet out of Sara?

The book also features an innovative "leftovers" chapter (two-for-one), giving recipes that can act as a lead-in to the next night's dish (which is provided as a next recipe).
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