Sunday, March 20, 2005

Sunday Book Review: Miserly Meals

A few weeks ago, I pined for a book about cooking healthy on the cheap. Yesterday, my wife and I went out and picked this one up.

I'm glad we did. First off, the layout of each recipe is great. It includes the recipe, the number of servings, the nutritional values for each food (including calories, protein, fat, and even sodium and cholesterol), the preparation time and the cook time. No matter which diet you're on, this book will give you the info you need to know which recipes will fit it.

It also contains the "cost per serving" for each meal, and the book brags that every recipe costs less than 75 cents per serving.

(The catch, which the author mentions in the introduction, is that the "cost per serving" is assuming you are a savvy shopper who follows frugal shopping techniques. Unfortunately, these frugal shopping techniques are not outlined in this book--they're in her other book, Miserly Moms. So when Amazon reviewers gripe about her use of boneless, skinless chicken breasts, they're missing the part where it explains how to get those cheap, which I'm sure involves the words "sales" and "freezer.")

I'm a fan of recipes for pre-made "mixes" that you can keep on hand for when you need to whip up a quick batch of something. This book has a few of those, the most notable being a Bisquick-like mix you can keep on hand for quick baking.

Other chapters contain beverages, appetizers, and an entire chapter on various ways to prepare turkey.

And the "kitchen tips" that end each recipe make the book interesting easy chair reading--I know, it's not Alton Brown, but I like a readable cookbook.

If any readers have their own cookbook suggestions, please feel free to share.

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