Friday, January 19, 2018

Dinner For Two: Easy and Innovative Recipes For One, Two Or A Few by Julie Wampler

Whether you are a newlywed, have a small family or are enjoying rediscovering yourselves as empty nesters, Dinner For Two should be on your short list of must reads.  I think of all kinds of folks would benefit from this book of quick and easy to prepare meals that are already designed for just a few people.  Coming from a family of nine where I was often in charge of making meals, as second oldest, it took me a long time to change my mindset to not cook for an army. Not having to do the math to reduce a recipe's serving portions seems like a real bonus.  Also grabbing prepared meals from your local market deli or ordering meals to go from your favorite eateries can be a time saver for busy folks but can be cost prohibitive for most of us on a modest or even average budget to take advantage of the "chef prepared"meal choices on a regular basis.  This book can help you same money.

The book, Dinner For Two by Julie Wampler is filled with many creative and tasty dishes that any home cook can prepare in lower volumes.  Julie has done the math for you already so there is nothing to calculate. If a recipe in the book calls for half a can of something, she has included another recipe in the book that will help you eliminate kitchen waste and is budget friendly.  Her recipes are based on an average serving size, so there is the possibility that there may be occasional leftovers but they will make a great portion size for lunch the next day.

I love the fact that cooking at home this puts you in control of your food intake as many of us are counting calories or watching what we eat for other health reasons.  Before the listed ingredients, Ms. Wampler has calculated the prep time.  Most of the dishes require only about 20-30 minutes to make that will help you plan which recipes to prepare during your work week schedule.  Other recipes that require longer baking times, might be more suited for weekends or days off.  She also separates the ingredients list into what is needed for the main part of the dish and then what is required for the sauce or filling.  There is also a chapter on Breakfast for Dinner filled with yummy choices that also would lend themselves nicely to being served for brunch with a friend.

I love the Spinach Lasagna Roll-Ups recipe that uses the technique of rolling the ingredients in teh pasta noodle instead of stacking the them in layers which makes it easier to serve.  The Slow Cooker White Bean and Kielbasa Soup will be sure to hit the spot during this chilly winter weather.  I am keeping the Ranch Chicken Bacon Burgers on my list of things to make when I need something to prepare quickly. 

If you are looking for more options for cooking in small batches, my first recommendation would be to try Mr Food Test Kitchen The Ultimate Cooking for Two Cookbook.  It has a similar appeal as Dinner for Two.  Great photography and easy to cook meals.  It also has a bit more diversity in ethnic dishes for broader appeal.  America's Test Kitchen Cooking for Two: The Year's Best Recipes Cut Down to Size and The Complete Cooking for Two Cookbook 650 Recipes for Everything You'll Ever Want to Make, also by America's Test Kitchen, are good but the recipes seem to be more be more tutorial in layout and the recipes do not seem to have the eye appeal with the great photography that Dinner for Two by Julie Wampler offers.

If you are looking for a sweet finish for your smaller portion meals then Dessert for Two: Small Batch Cookies, Brownies Pies and Cakes would be my go to suggestion.

PS.  Dinner For Two might also be a gift worthy choice for newlyweds or someone on their way to college.

Review by Phyllis


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