As a busy mom, I find easy-to-prepare meals a must. However, I don’t want to sacrifice the flavor and complexity of a take-your-time homecooked meal. That’s what makes Homemade in Half the Time a treasure. This new cookbook by Shea Waggoner (Rodale, 2006) has more than 200 delightful recipes, and a quarter of those use only five ingredients. Waggoner includes helpful resources for busy cooks as well, such as information on organizing your kitchen space for efficient cooking and mastering quick-cooking techniques.
Many recipes use “shelf-ready shortcuts” in unexpected ways. For instance, the two recipes included here use an Asian sauce to add flavor to a hearty meal. If you don’t usually visit the Asian section of your grocery store unless you’re going to cook a traditional Chinese dish, try snooping around the shelves the next time you’re there. You’ll be surprised at the ways you can combine premade sauces with your favorite ingredients to come up with your own easy, flavorful meals.
Roasted Chicken and Turnips in Peanut Sauce
1 1/2 pounds turnips, peeled and cut into walnut-size chunks
4 1/2 pounds skinless chicken thighs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 cup bottled Thai peanut sauce
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place the turnips in an 8×8-inch microwaveable baking dish. Add enough water to come 1/4-inch up the sides of the dish. Cover with plastic wrap, leaving a small corner vent. Microwave on high power for 5 minutes, or until partially cooked. Drain and set aside.
Coat an 11×17-inch baking pan or other large shallow baking pan with cooking spray. Place the chicken in the pan, overlapping slightly if necessary. Scatter the turnips in the pan. Sprinkle with the salt. Drizzle with oil.
Bake for 45–50 minutes, or until it is sizzling, the chicken is no longer pink, and the juices run clear. Drizzle the sauce over the chicken and turnips. Stir to coat well. Turn on the broiler and place the chicken approximately 6 inches from the heat source for about 4 minutes, or until browned. Makes 6–8 servings.
Turkey and Kale in Chinese Black-Bean Sauce
4 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
1 tablespoon preminced, oil-packed garlic
1 bag (1 pound) kale leaves
1 pound turkey breast tenderloin, cut into walnut-size chunks
1/4 cup jarred Chinese black-bean sauce with garlic
1/4 cup water
In a large skillet or wok, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil and the garlic over medium-high heat until sizzling. Add the kale. Stir to coat with the oil. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for
2 minutes, or until wilted. Remove to a plate and set aside.
Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in the skillet or wok set over medium-high heat. Add the turkey. Cook, stirring frequently, for 4 minutes, or until the turkey is browned. Return the reserved kale to the pan. Add the black-bean sauce and the water. Stir to coat the turkey and kale with sauce. Simmer over medium-low for 3 minutes, or until the turkey juices run clear. Makes 4–6 servings.