Rachael Ray Express Lane Meals...
I got this book about 6 weeks ago and absolutely LOVE it. Rachael gives you a whole shopping list of things you should keep in stock (and of course, I went out and bought EVERYTHING on the list, even clams, which I know I won't use as DH hates them - but maybe when he's away on business?).
Anyway - back to the book - Once you have your recommended stock of basic ingredients, each recipe in the book only requires you to buy a few fresh things, enabling you to dash through the express lane at the supermarket. To add to the convenience, the fresh 'express lane' ingredients are printed in red in a separate list, so you can quickly see what you need to buy without searching through the entire list of ingredients. This is the first recipe book that suits my personality - I like to cook what I fancy for dinner that day, rather than plan a weeks menu in advance, and this book allows me to dash to my local grocery store, pick up about 3 to 5 items and get back home again in around 15 minutes, knowing that everything else I need for the recipe is in the pantry. There are also a few recipes that use only ingredients from your pantry, for those days when you don't want to shop at all.
A clever thing about the way the book is layed out, is that there are only 3 basic sections of recipes according to how exhausted you are! I thought this was quite a novel and brilliant idea.
The other thing I like, is that the recipes use mostly fresh ingredients - no canned soups or packet convenience mixes that a lot of other 'quick meal' books use. Once I see the word 'Campbells' or 'Pillsbury' in a recipe, it immediately goes in the 'trash bin' section of my brain ;)
The recipes are all '30-minute' recipes - but you would have to cook them a few times to implant them in your memory and be able to actually cook them in 30 minutes. The first few times you cook them, you are wasting time referring to the instructions constantly, so they take a bit longer.
I've tried around 10 recipes from the book so far, and DH and I rated 9 of them as 'great', and 1 of them as 'could be better if we changed some of the ingredients next time'
Some of the meals are expensive to make - but I don't count cost when it comes to food. Food is a basic necessity of life, so it had better be good quality as far as I'm concerned. Some of the recipes are quite high fat/high cholesterol - but I just change the high fat ingredients, like cheese and heavy cream, to lower fat cheeses and fat-free half & half, and cut most of the fat off bacon, use low-fat chicken sausage instead of pork etc., and the meals turn out just as good, but a lot better for your heart.
I would definately recommend this book to anyone looking for fast, nutritious, delicious meals.
British ex-pat living in Colorado, USA