Weeknights can be tough. From driving your kids home from after-school activities, long days in the office and even planning a grocery list, we couldn’t blame you for feeling tempted to head towards the take-out menu. But wait! We’re celebrating (and breathing a sigh of relief) the launch of our newest cookbook “Simple Weeknight Favorites.” The team here at America’s Test Kitchen has created more than 200 easy-to-make, 30 minute recipes that guarantee impressive results from a minimum of effort. And to celebrate this cookbook, Suzannah McFerran, a Senior Editor at America’s Test Kitchen teamed up with The Motherhood this afternoon for a “Simple Weeknight Favorites” themed chat. So if you were busy running around after kids or working in the office this afternoon, don’t worry! We’ve compiled a recap of our favorite moments during the chat.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
Emily: Hi Suzannah! Welcome! My first question – could you say a little bit about putting this cookbook together? I imagine being an editor at ATK is a blast. Was it fun to create this great book?
Suzannah McFerran: Hi Emily, Being an editor is a blast. It was fun and challenging to put this book together. Simple is not always easy to figure out!
Joprah: What were the requirements for Simple Weeknight Favorites? Was it few ingredients? The time it takes to prepare?
Suzannah McFerran: Most of the recipes can be prepared under 30 minutes, all of them are under 45 minutes. The concept was: Dinner on a page, minimal ingredients. Take the guesswork out of making the meal. While we were making the cookbook, the test cooks had timers around their necks.
DINNER TIPS AND TRICKS:
Onceamonthmom:What are your favorite, go to easy meals – the ones you always go back to in a crunch?
Suzannah McFerran: Hi onceamonthmom, these days my kids love turkey tacos.
Erin O: Welcome, Suzannah!! I would love to know about basic TIME SAVERS. I’m always tired at the end of a workday and don’t necessarily want to spend hours in the kitchen making dinner!
Suzannah McFerran: Hi Erin O, about basic time savers: in this book we have numerous recipes where ingredients play double and triple duty. For example, making a marinade for chicken, and then saving some for the base of a salad, then the rest for a finishing sauce for the chicken.
Thienkim: Ok, a lot of crock pot lovers. I HATE cleaning the crockpot. Any tips for a person who doesn’t enjoy washing dishes?
Suzannah McFerran: Always take care of it right away — don’t let it sit. It’s a lot easier to clean it while it’s hot rather than cold.
RECIPES AND INGREDIENTS:
Emily: Chavlene asked a great question in the comments on putting a budget friendly meal on the table in less than 30 minutes. I loved Suzannah’s recommendation to use chicken thighs. Anyone else want to weigh in on ideas?!
Suzannah McFerran: Here’s a great way to speed up a meal: Vegetables can be jump-started in the microwave then finished in the oven… same with rice. Here’s an example: Risotto – no tedious stovetop stirring! We do this “jump starting” a lot in this book.
Sandy: never tried quiona- is it a rice or pasta? have heard alot..where do you find it in store
Suzannah McFerran: Quinoa is a seed (but often mistaken for a grain). For healthy meals, this is great. I love to use it in kale, feta, lemon and quinoa salad.