Cookbook Review: Ellie Krieger’s Weeknight Wonder

Friday, June 27, 2014

Weeknigh Wonders - Ellie Krieger - Cover - HR
By Stella Sarkisyan, Contributing Blogger

I love good food, and whipping up a cioppino (or fish stew) on the weekends is definitely my idea of a good time. But let’s get real. The hustle and bustle of daily life leaves little room for meal variety and creativity. Like most people, I find myself dining out or preparing large batches of the same quick recipe to last through the week. Ellie Krieger’s new book Weeknight Wonders is the antidote to your weekly meal fatigue. These quick, healthy, and delicious recipes will help you avoid the temptation of takeout and microwave meals.

About Weeknight Wonders
In an ideal world we’d all don fancy aprons and cook wonderful meals every night. But while cooking at home is the most desirable way to keep food costs down, we don’t always have the time or quick, tasty, healthy recipes on hand to make it a reality. Krieger’s’ book solves some of these problems by providing 150 dinner solutions that take 30 minutes or less to prepare. Unfortunately, fancy aprons aren’t included.
The recipes are impressive and run the gamut from Mahi Mahi with Mango and Avocado to Red Bean Stew with Walnuts and Pomegranate. Krieger helps make the 30 minutes or less a reality by guiding you through the cooking process and having you dice onions while the oil heats. Another great feature is the convenience of using many ingredients you probably already have laying around. Krieger finds great ways of combining these easy-to-find ingredients to make quick and delicious meals.

Most of the recipe ingredients are pure and minimally processed. As a nutritionist, Krieger’s background shines through with the incorporation of her non-dieting approach and “Usually-Sometimes-Rarely” food philosophy. You will find liberal use of the “Usually” ingredients, like vegetables, whole fruits, lean protein, and healthy fats. There is a sprinkled of “Sometimes” foods, like dark chocolate and sugar, and finally a dash of some “Rarely” ingredients, like cream and butter. Each recipe also includes the nutrition information along with listings of the ‘excellent sources’ and ‘good sources’ of the various nutrients found in each meal.

Recipe: Provencal Chicken and White Bean Stew

Here’s a tasty recipe I tried, which Ellie was kind enough to share with us. I found this to be a very versatile dish as adding more chicken stock and spices to taste can transform the stew into a soup! Keep in mind that the nutrition information provided is for the unaltered recipe.

Photo courtesy of Stella Sarkisyan

Photo courtesy of Stella Sarkisyan

Makes: 4 servings
Serving Size: 1½ cup

Ingredients:
1-pound skinless boneless chicken breast
¾ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 small onion
3 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 stalks celery
2 large carrots
One 15-ounce can low-sodium white beans
One 7-ounce jar roasted red peppers
½ teaspoon dried tarragon
½ teaspoon dried thyme
½ teaspoon dried basil
1-cup low-sodium chicken broth

Instructions:
Cut the chicken into ¾-inch cubes and sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon each of salt and black pepper. Slice onions thinly into half-moon and thinly slice the garlic. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a 10-inch skillet with a cover over medium-high heat. Cook the chicken until browned and nearly cooked through, about 4 minutes. Meanwhile, chop the celery and carrots into ½-inch thick pieces. Transfer the browned chicken to a plate, add the inions, garlic, celery, and carrots and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to soften, about 4 minutes.
While the vegetables are cooking, drain and rinse the beans and roasted red peppers, and slice the peppers. Add the beans, peppers, tarragon, thyme, basil, remaining ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon black pepper to the skillet and stir to combine. Add the broth, cover, turn the heat to high and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 3 minutes. Return the chicken to the skillet and cook, covered, until the chicken is cooked through and the vegetables are tender, 3 to 5 minutes more.

Photo courtesy of Stella Sarkisyan

Photo courtesy of Stella Sarkisyan

Nutrition Information (per serving): Calories: 360; Total fat 12g (Sat Fat 2g, Mono Fat 6g, Poly Fat 1.6g); Protein 32g; Carb 31g; Fiber 9g; Cholesterol 75mg; Sodium 880mg

Excellent source of: fiber, magnesium, niacin, pantothenic acid, phosphorus, potassium, protein, riboflavin, selenium, thiamin, vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin K
Good source of: calcium, folate, iron, manganese, molybdenum, zinc

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