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Like most mere mortals, making a hot, nutritious meal during the rush of a busy week may seem like a daunting task. But Chef and cookbook author Eric Akis makes it easy to put a good meal on the table with a minimum amount of fuss in his new book, “Everyone Can Cook Midweek Meals- Recipes for Cooks on the Run.”
As the title implies, the book caters to those on the run who want to make good food fast. Over 120 very accessible recipes make the job attainable while helping you avoid buying expensive, prepared meals full of salt, fat and every kind of unpronounceable preservative.
Why it’s Better to Make It Yourself!
Here’s what Akis himself has to say on the “meal in a minute” pre-packaged obsession so many have when they’re pinched for time: “… It instills the notion in younger people that instant meals are what people normally eat. In fact, when you do take the time to bake from scratch, they may turn up their noses because it won’t be using the large amount of salt and artificial flavourings that make processed food so addictively intense.” Exactly! Which is why this book is a crucial step in getting the family round the table for one meal a day – one healthy, homemade meal you can all feel good about eating! When Akis says that cooking is a pleasurable way to relax and “put the memories of a busy day behind you,” some of you may be saying, “Yeah, right!” But Akis in my estimation is correct- plus some of anyone’s fondest childhood memories are of a parent, grandparent or family member taking the time to make something that you know is going to taste great and that’s made with some TLC- even during the week. That’s a gift that keeps on giving!
Akis, a food writer for the Victoria Times Colonist in British Columbia, worked as a chef in numerous operations before the journalism bug bit. His readers keep him apprised of what they want to read and eat- and hence his Everyone Can Cook series of books was born.
About the Book
In this particular edition, you’ll find a handy tip sheet for stocking your pantry (found in many books that have come across my desk lately- and this one is geared at making sure you have some essentials at home to put together a solid meal), chapters on breakfast, lunch, main course soups and salads for lighter fare, noodles, slow cooker options as well as sides, stews, braises and globally inspired meals.
If you like some granola and frozen yogurt in the morning, Eric’s Maple Crunch Granola recipe is a keeper. Same goes for his Salad Niçoise (beats paying the usual $10-$13 at lunch for this when you can make it at home and bring it in to work for lunch or make it for a light, satisfying dinner). Other popular dishes on offer include: Green Thai Curry Chicken, Chickpea Burgers and Sweet and Lemon Angel Cake – perfect for a sweet ending to a BBQ perhaps. The Red Onion Soup with Brie is a winner and the Chicken –Fried Steak with Pan Gravy is pure Southern Comfort Food! Plus, Akis provides cooking tips throughout the book to make sure you prepare your pasta just so, how to store nuts and notes about other ingredients such as Feta cheese.
Most of the recipe’s prep time is kept at around the 20 minute mark and most meals will be on the table in less than an hour. And if you’re lucky, you may have some leftovers for a satisfying, hot lunch the next day!
While you’re here, be sure to check out our kitchen product reviews!