My favorite Food Network star, Giada De Laurentiis, has come out with a new cookbook, "Weeknights with Giada."
De Laurentiis mentions in her introduction that her goal for this book, as a working parent, is to help other working parents to be able to make a simple, home-cooked meal for their families with quick dishes.
The book is divided into Soups and Salads, Bruschettas, Sandwiches and Pizzas, Pasta and Grains, Meat, Poultry and Fish, Change of Pace, Breakfast for Dinner, Veggies and Sides and Desserts.
In Soups and Salads, there's Rustic Vegetable and Polenta Soup, Creamy Cauliflower Soup with Bacon, Grilled California-Style Chopped Salad with Shrimp, Roasted Salmon, Snap Pea, and Cucumber Salad and much more.
Bruschettas, Sandwiches and Pizzas range from Bruschetta with Lamb, Fontina and Greens, Grilled Pork and Fontina Sandwiches, Arugula Pesto, Ricotta, and Smoked Mozzarella Pizza and more that doesn't take hardly any time at all and serves a family.
Pastas and Grains range from Risotto with Currants, Pine Nuts and Feta Cheese, Sweet Corn and Basil Lasagna and Ricotta Cheese, Lentil and Brown Rice Rolls.
Meat, Poultry and Fish recipes range from Filet Mignon with Rosemary and Mushroom Gravy, Herbed Lamb Chops with Homemade BBQ Sauce, Chicken Meuiere with Tomato and Parsley Sauce and Salmon Cakes with Lemon-Caper Yogurt Sauce. Many of these dishes are grilled, which would be great for the warm spring weather.
Change of Pace are dishes without an Italian-bent, like Sweet and Spicy Greek Meatballs, Vegetables in Red Curry, Chicken with Peruvian Chile Sauce and more.
Breakfast for Dinner (the only time I like to eat breakfast dishes) are such satisfying dishes as Almond Pancakes, Eggs Florentine, Smoked Salmon Crostata and Crepes with Peanut Butter and Jam, which all bring new flavors to classic breakfast faire.
Veggies and Sides include Fried Smashed Potatoes with Lemon, Broccoli Rabe with Pecorino and Lemon and Snap Pea and Edamame Saute.
The book wraps up with something sweet with Desserts like Peanut Butter Cookies with Blackberry Jam, Gingerbread Affogato and Mini Pumpkin Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting.
I tried Orzo with Smoky Tomato Vinaigrette. I unfortunately could not find the smoked salt, so it wasn't smoky, but I still persevered. Tomatoes are cooked in a skillet, then combined with basil, vinegar, olive oil and honey and then blended together for a sauce to pour over top of cooked orzo. I did the variation De Laurentiis mentioned and added ground beef to the mix. It was really good and filling and made an astounding amount - the recipe said 4 to 6, but I'd go 6 to 8 at least - so there was plenty for me and the girls with lots of leftovers.
There's a great variety in this book and all the recipes look fairly simple and quick, which will please rushed home cooks.
"Weeknights with Giada" is published by Clarkson Potter. It is $35.
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