Quick, easy routes to good meals



Real Simple: Meals Made Easy

By Renee Schettler

Cheap. Fast. Good!

By Beverly Mills and Alicia Ross

Workman Publishing / 2005 / $13.95

The authors work together on the syndicated food column "Desperation Dinners!" and have published a pair of cookbooks on that desperation theme. With this cookbook, the goal is to feed their families of four for $100 a week with careful shopping and coupon clipping.

The result is a daunting collection of 250 recipes, plus plenty of chapters on the conventional ways to save money at the grocery store and in the kitchen.

As advertised, the recipes are cheap and fast. And the one for pizza with pesto sauce, ham and tomatoes is good. But this cookbook is more about assembling dinner than it is about the pleasures of cooking. This is the kind of cookbook for the busy parents of busy children: something different for dinner that is still acceptable to the masses.


Scallop-and-Corn Chowder

Serves 4

5 slices bacon

1 1/2 pounds sea scallops (about 16)

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced into half-moons

1/2 pound Yukon gold potatoes, cut into 1/2 -inch pieces (peel first, if desired)

1/2 cup dry white wine

1 cup low-sodium chicken broth

1/2 cup heavy cream

1 cup corn kernels, frozen or fresh (from 2 ears)

1/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Fry the bacon in a large skillet or stockpot over medium heat until crisp. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate; set aside. You should have about 2 tablespoons of bacon drippings remaining in the pan (if not, supplement with olive oil).

Rinse the scallops and pat them dry with paper towels. Season them with the salt and pepper. Increase heat to medium-high. Add some of the scallops to the pan, being careful not to crowd them.

Cook until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate. Repeat with the remaining scallops. Reduce heat to medium. Add the onion to the pan and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the potatoes, wine, broth and cream. Bring to a simmer.

Cover partially and simmer gently until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes. Add the scallops and corn and cook for 4 minutes. To serve, ladle into bowls and sprinkle with the parsley and crumbled bacon.

Per serving: 446 calories, 47 grams protein, 18 grams fat, 8 grams saturated fat, 22 grams carbohydrate, 2 grams fiber, 140 milligrams cholesterol, 1,021 milligrams sodium

From "Real Simple: Meals Made Easy"

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