What's for dinner? These books can help


January 10, 2007|By Susan Reimer | Susan Reimer,Sun Reporter

Super Suppers Cookbook

By Judie Byrd

Dream Dinners

By Stephanie Allen and Tina Kuna

William Morrow / 2006 / $19.95

Likewise, this cookbook is the result of a meal-assembly franchise begun by the authors from their home base in Washington state. The twist? These recipes include directions for multiplying the servings and freezing the results.

In addition, the authors provide quick tips for freezing - use dried herbs instead of fresh and don't try to freeze raw potatoes - and solutions for when the defrosted product doesn't measure up - add chicken stock if it is too dry, turn the oven up and remove the foil if it is too wet.

There are crockpot recipes and grilling recipes, and a primer on the basics of freezing, including the fact that freezing does not kill bacteria, yeast and molds. It merely renders them inactive. Only thorough cooking can destroy these things.

In addition, that space above your refrigerator is not a freezer if it does not maintain 0 degrees Fahrenheit. It is merely a very cold compartment. Use a thermometer to make sure.

There are no pictures - something cooks like and often need for guidance. But there is one helpful addition to this cookbook: three sets of labels for every recipe with thawing and cooking instructions for each dish.


Sweet-and-Sour Pork

Serves 6

one 20-ounce can pineapple chunks (in juice)

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup vinegar

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

2 tablespoons ketchup

2 tablespoons soy sauce

2 pounds boneless pork cut into 1-inch cubes

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1 large bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 large onion, cut into 1-inch pieces

hot cooked rice

Step 1: Drain pineapple, reserving juice in a bowl. Add water, vinegar, brown sugar, ketchup and soy sauce to pineapple juice; set aside.

Step 2: Sprinkle pork cubes with salt, garlic salt and black pepper. Preheat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Brown pork cubes in hot oil. Turn heat to low. Add 1 cup of the pineapple-juice mixture to the skillet. Cover and simmer gently about 20 minutes or until pork is tender.

Step 3: Add cornstarch to the remaining pineapple-juice mixture, whisking to break up any lumps; whisk into skillet. Turn heat to high, whisking constantly until mixture boils and thickens.

Step 4: Add pineapple chunks, bell pepper and onion to skillet. Cook about 5 minutes more or until vegetables are heated through. Serve over rice.

Plan ahead: Prepare through Step 2 up to 2 days ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Continue according to Step 3.

Freeze ahead: Prepare through Step 3. Place in a freezer bag and freeze up to 2 months. Defrost completely in refrigerator. Continue according to Step 4.

From "Simple Suppers Cookbook"

Per serving: 438 calories, 32 grams protein, 15 grams fat, 4 grams saturated fat, 44 grams carbohydrate, 2 grams fiber, 93 milligrams cholesterol, 1,131 milligrams sodium

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