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Cookbook Reviews
 
 
Desperation Dinners!
By Beverly Mills & Alicia Ross
Workman Publ., 1997
ISBN# 0-7611-0481-X
 

This is the latest addition to my cookbook collection, and I have to
confess that I haven't been so excited about a new cookbook since I got my
first Silver Palate Cookbook.  I have been cooking my way through the
recipes and all have been big hits so far.  The serving sizes are very
generous, and we find that the leftovers are even better than the
night-of!

All of the recipes are designed to be fixed and on the table in 20 minutes
or less.  Most have been that quick, but a few have taken me 30 minutes
instead.  Still, they are fast and delicious.  The flavors are bold and
authentic -- no skimping there.

The authors promise that the recipes are fast &  easy to prepare, can be
made without expensive equipment, and taste good.  The cookbook cover
quips "Home-cooked meals for frantic families in 20 minutes flat."
Lots of tips are given: from finding grocery store products that will help
to cut your time to skillet choice, use and care. Sections in the back of
the book include "the essential shopping list, organizing your pantry,
shelf life, and menus for the desperate week."

There are about 200 recipes, mostly main dishes, but also a chapter on
side dishes and a chapter on desserts.

If I could only keep one cookbook, this would be the one!  It is highly
recommended.


Order Desperation Dinners! from Amazon

paperback - $11.16
hardback - $17.47


Sample recipes from Desperation Dinners!
 
 

                     *  Exported from  MasterCook  *

                        Apple-Glazed Burger Steak

Recipe By     : Desperation Dinners! B. Mills & A. Ross
Serving Size  : 4    Preparation Time :0:20
Categories    : Desperation Dinners

  Amount  Measure       Ingredient -- Preparation Method
--------  ------------  --------------------------------
   1      large         egg
   1      pound         lean ground turkey -- defrosted
   2      Tablespoons   applesauce
   1      teaspoon      onion powder
   1      teaspoon      garlic powder
   1      teaspoon      seasoning salt, Lawry's
     1/2  teaspoon      poultry seasoning
   2      teaspoons     vegetable oil
   1      cup           warm water
   2      Tablespoons   all purpose flour
                        salt and pepper -- to taste

1.  Separate the egg, setting the yolk aside for another purpose.  Combine

the ground turkey, egg white, applesauce, onion powder, garlic powder,
seasoning salt, and poultry seasoning in a 2 quart or larger bowl and mix
thoroughly with your hands.
2.  Heat the oil over medium heat in a 12 inch nonstick skillet that has a

lid.  Meanwhile, shape the meat into four 3 1/2 inch patties about 1/2
inch thick, adding them to the skillet as you make them.  Cook the patties

for 5 minutes on the first side.  The meat will be very tender, so do not
move the patties while they cook.
3.  While the patties cook, combine the water and flour in a 1 1/2 cup or
larger container that has a lid and shake well until any lumps disappear.

Set aside.
4.  After 5 minutes, when the juices have risen to the surface of the
patties, carefully turn the patties over.  Cover and continue to cook
until the meat is cooked through, about 7 minutes.  Place each patty on a
serving plate.
5.  Shake the flour-water mixture again and pour it into the skillet.
Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring constantly and scraping any
brown bits from the bottom of the skillet, until the gravy reaches the
desired thickness, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper, spoon

the gravy over the patties, and serve.
 

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                     *  Exported from  MasterCook  *

                               Company Eggs

Recipe By     : Desperation Dinners! B. Mills & A. Ross
Serving Size  : 6    Preparation Time :0:20
Categories    : Desperation Dinners

  Amount  Measure       Ingredient -- Preparation Method
--------  ------------  --------------------------------
   2      Tablespoons   butter
     1/2  medium        onion -- 1/3 cup chopped
     1/2  medium        green bell pepper -- 1/2 cup chopped
   6      oz            reduced-fat cream cheese
  12      large         eggs
     3/4  cup           low-fat milk
   1 1/2  teaspoons     salt
     1/4  teaspoon      black pepper

1.  Heat 1 tablespoon of butter in a 12 inch nonstick skillet over medium
heat.  Meanwhile, peel and coarsely chop the onion, adding it to the pan
as you chop.  Seed and chop the bell pepper and add to the skillet. Cook
until the onion is tender and the water from the vegetables has
evaporated, 2 to 3 minutes.
2.  Meanwhile, cut the cream cheese into small chunks and set aside.
Break the eggs into a 2 quart or larger bowl and add the milk, salt, and
black pepper.  Using a whisk, beat until foamy.  Add the egg mixture to
the skillet and reduce the heat to medium low.  Cook for 1 minute.  Add
the cream cheese and slowly scramble until the eggs are just done, 5
minutes.  Serve at once.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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                     *  Exported from  MasterCook  *

                        Cravin' Beef Curry (Thai)

Recipe By     : Desperation Dinners! B. Mills & A. Ross
Serving Size  : 4    Preparation Time :0:20
Categories    : Desperation Dinners

  Amount  Measure       Ingredient -- Preparation Method
--------  ------------  --------------------------------
   2 1/2  cups          instant rice -- 5-minute
     1/2  teaspoon      vegetable oil
   1                    onion -- large, 1 cup strips
  10                    baby carrots -- already peeled
   1                    green pepper, large -- 1 1/2 cups chopped
   1                    salsify -- 1 inch thick, 12 oz
   1      can           unsweetened coconut milk -- 14 oz
   1      teaspoon      bottled chopped ginger
   1      teaspoon      curry powder
   1      teaspoon      ground coriander
   1      teaspoon      crushed hot red pepper
     1/2  teaspoon      ground cumin
     1/4  teaspoon      ground cardamom
     1/4  teaspoon      ground turmeric
     1/4  teaspoon      salt -- or to taste
   1      teaspoon      bottled minced garlic

1.  Bring 2 1/2 cups water to a boil in a 2-quart saucepan.  Meanwhile,
begin steps 2 and 3.  When the water boils, add the rice, cover the pan,
and remove from the heat until ready to serve.
2.  Heat the oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Peel the

onion and cut it into strips about 1/4 inch wide, adding them to the
skillet as you cut.  Reduce the heat to low and cook while you prepare the

remaining vegetables, stirring occasionally to prevent the onions from
browning.
3.  Cut each carrot lengthwise into 4 strips, adding them to the skillet
as you  cut.  Seed the bell pepper, cut it into thin lengthwise strips,
and add them to the skillet.  Continue to cook, stirring occasionally.
4.  Meanwhile, trim the excess fat from the steak and slice it thin.  Add
all of the meat to the skillet at the same time and raise the heat to
high.  Stir-fry until the steak is pink only in the middle, 2 1/2 to 3
minutes.  Add the coconut milk and stir to mix.
5.  Reduce the heat to medium and add the garlic, ginger, and all the
remaining seasonings.  Stir well, then reduce the heat to low and simmer
for 3 to 4 minutes to blend the flavors.  Serve over a bed of the rice.
*If you don't like spicy food, reduce the crushed red pepper to 1/2
teaspoon, or to taste.  If you're feeding children, simply serve their
portion before adding the red pepper at the last minute.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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                     *  Exported from  MasterCook  *

                           Orange Butter Balls

Recipe By     : Desperation Dinners! B. Mills & A. Ross
Serving Size  : 35   Preparation Time :0:20
Categories    : Desperation Dinners

  Amount  Measure       Ingredient -- Preparation Method
--------  ------------  --------------------------------
     1/2  cup           butter -- 1 stick
   1      package       graham cracker crumbs -- 13 1/2 oz
   2 1/4  cups          confectioner's sugar
   1      can           frozen orange juice concentrate -- 6 oz
   1      cup           pecans -- chopped
   1      package       sweetened coconut flakes -- 2 2/3 cups, 7 oz

1.  Place the butter in a microwave-safe dish and microwave 10 seconds,
uncovered, on high to soften.
2.  Combine the graham cracker crumbs and sugar in a 3 quart or larger
bowl and stir well.  Add the softened butter and oragne juice concentrate
and press into the dry mixture, using a fork.  Continue until alll the dry

ingredients are moist and the mixture looks like coarse meal.  Add the
pecans and stir well.
3.  Spread the cconut on a plate.  Place a large storage container next to

the plate.
4.  Pinch off enough dough to make a ball the diameter of a quarter.
Squeeze the dough in your fist and then roll it into a ball, using both
hands.  Place the ball on the coconut and repeat until about a dozen
cookies are formed.
5. Rinse your hands and dry, then roll the balls in the coconut to coat.
Remove them to the storage container and repeat until alll of the cookies
are formed and coated.
Makes about 6 dozen cookies.
 
 
 
 
 
 

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                     *  Exported from  MasterCook  *

                Orzo with Mushrooms and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Recipe By     : Desperation Dinners! B. Mills & A. Ross
Serving Size  : 6    Preparation Time :0:20
Categories    : Desperation Dinners

  Amount  Measure       Ingredient -- Preparation Method
--------  ------------  --------------------------------
   1      cup           orzo pasta
   1      cup           fresh mushrooms -- sliced
   8                    sun-dried tomatoe pieces
     1/2  cup           good quality Parmesan cheese -- grated

1.  Bring 2 quarts of unsalted water to a boil in a covered 4-quart or
larer pot over high heat.  Add the orzo and cook, covered, just until
tender, 7 to 8 minutes.
2.  Meanwhile, chop the mushrooms and place in a microwave safe casserole
dish that has a lid.  Using kitchen scissors, snip each sun-dried tomato
into 5 or 6 pieces, adding them to the dish as you snip.  Pour 1/2 cup
water over the mushrooms and tomatoes, pressing the tomato pieces down
into the water.  Microwave, covered, on high, for 4 minutes.
3.  Let the dish stand in the microwave, covered, 5 minutes to rehydrate
the tomatoes, then drain the mushrooms and tomatoes in a colander and
return to the casserole.
4.  When the orzo is done, drain it well and add to the casserole with the

vegetables.  Stir in the grated Parmesan and serve.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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                     *  Exported from  MasterCook  *

                              Picante Pizza

Recipe By     : Desperation Dinners! B. Mills & A. Ross
Serving Size  : 4    Preparation Time :0:20
Categories    : Desperation Dinners

  Amount  Measure       Ingredient -- Preparation Method
--------  ------------  --------------------------------
   1      large         partially baked pizza crust -- such as Boboli, 12in
   1      can           refried beans -- 16 oz
   1      cup           bottled salsa
   1      cup           Colby-Jack cheese, shredded -- 4 oz
     1/2  cup           corn kernels -- frozen
   5                    scallions -- 1/2 cup chopped
   1      can           black olives, sliced, drained -- 2 1/4 oz

1.  the oven should be preheated to 450 degrees
2.  Place the partially baked crust on a pizza pan or baking sheet and
spread the beans over it with the back of a spoon.  Pour the salsa over
the beans and spread it evenly with the back of the spoon.  Sprinkle the
cheese on top of the salsa.
3.  Rinse the corn in a colander under cold running water to defrost.  let

it drain while you wash and coarsely chop the scallions with enough tender

green tops to make about 1/2 cup.  Sprinkle the scallions over the pizza.

Drain the olives and sprinkle them on top.
4.  Give the corn in the colander a firm shake to remove as much water as
possible, then sprinkle it over the olives.  Bake the pizza for 12 minutes

until the cheese melts and the edges of the crust are browned.  Cut into
wedges to serve.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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                     *  Exported from  MasterCook  *

                          Speedy Black Bean Soup

Recipe By     : Desperation Dinners! B. Mills & A. Ross
Serving Size  : 6    Preparation Time :0:20
Categories    : Desperation Dinners

  Amount  Measure       Ingredient -- Preparation Method
--------  ------------  --------------------------------
   1      teaspoon      olive oil
     3/4  cup           onions -- frozen, chopped
   2      cans          black beans -- 15 oz. each
   1      can           fat free chicken broth -- 14 1/2 oz
   1      can           corn kernels -- drained, 15 1/4 oz.
   1      can           Mexican style stewed tomatoes -- 14 1/2 oz
   3                    bay leaves
   1      teaspoon      minced garlic -- bottled
   1      teaspoon      dried thyme
   1      teaspoon      balsamic vinegar
     1/2  teaspoon      ground cumin

1.  Heat the oil in a 4 1/2 quart Dutch oven or soup pot over medium heat.

 Add the onions and cook until slightly brown, stirring occasionally.
2.  Meanwhile, pour 1 can of beans and their liquid into a large cereal
bowl.  Using the back of a serving size spoon, mash the beans against the
sides and bottom of the bowl until the beans are broken up and pasty.
3.  Raise the heat under the pot to high and add the chicken broth, mashed

beans, and the can of whole beans and its liquid.  Stir well.  Drain the
corn and add it to the pot, then add the stewed tomatoes, bay leaves,
garlic, thyme, vinegar, and cumin.  Cover the pot and bring the soup to a
boil.
4.  Reduce the heat to low and simmer to let the flavors blend, 8 minutes,

stirring often to prevent sticking.  Remove from the heat and serve.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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                     *  Exported from  MasterCook  *

                   Turkey Salad with Grapes and Pecans

Recipe By     : Desperation Dinners! B. Mills & A. Ross
Serving Size  : 4    Preparation Time :0:20
Categories    : Desperation Dinners

  Amount  Measure       Ingredient -- Preparation Method
--------  ------------  --------------------------------
   4                    lettuce leaves, large
     1/2  cup           reduced fat mayonnaise
   2      Tablespoons   reduced fat sour cream
   1      Tablespoon    lemon juice -- fr frozen concentrat
     1/4  teaspoon      salt
     1/8  teaspoon      black pepper
   4      cups          cooked turkey breast meat -- cold
     1/2  pound         seedless grapes -- red or green, 1 cup
   3                    scallions -- 1/4 cup sliced
     1/2  cup           chopped pecans

1.  If the lettuce is not prewashed, rinse it, drain, and spin or pat dry.

 Place a lettuce leaf on each serving plate.
2.  Combine the mayonnaise, sour cream, lemon juice, salt, and pepper in a

2 1/2 quart or larger bowl, and whisk to blend.
3.  Cut the turkey into bite sized chunks and add to the bowl.  Using a
small serrated knife, cut the grapes in half and add them to the bowl.
Cut the scallions into thin slices, including enough tender green tops to
make 1/4 cup, and add to the bowl.  Stir gently but thoroughly to mix with

the dressing.
4.  Top each lettuce leaf with 1 cup of salad, garnish with 2 Tbsp.
pecans, and serve.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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                     *  Exported from  MasterCook  *

                              Tuxedo Chicken

Recipe By     : Desperation Dinners! B. Mills & A. Ross
Serving Size  : 6    Preparation Time :0:20
Categories    : Desperation Dinners

  Amount  Measure       Ingredient -- Preparation Method
--------  ------------  --------------------------------
   6      cups          bow tie pasta, farfalle -- 12 oz
   4                    skinless boneless chicken breasts -- 1 1/3 pounds total
   1      Tablespoon    butter
   1                    onion, small -- 1/2 cup chopped
   2      cups          frozen chopped broccoli
   1      container     reduced fat sour cream -- 8 oz
   1      cup           half-and-half
   1      Tablespoon    Dijon mustard -- grainy
   2      teaspoons     Worcestershire sauce
     1/4  teaspoon      garlic powder

1.  Bring 2 1/2 quarts of unsalted water to a boil in a covered 4 1/2
quart or larger Dutch oven or soup pot.  When the water reaches a rapid
boil, add the bow ties and cook until tender, 9 minutes.
2.  Meanwhile, if the chicken breasts are frozen, run them under hot water

so you can remove any packaging.  Place the chicken on a microwave-safe
plate and microwave 3 minutes, uncovered, on high, to begin defrosting.
While the chicken defrosts, melt the butter on medium-low in a 12-inch
nonstick skillet.  Peel and chop the onion, adding it to the skillet as
you chop.  Cook until the onion is soft, about 3 minutes.
3.  Slice the chicken (fresh or partially defrosted) into 1/2 inch strips.

 Raise the heat to medium high and add the chicken.  Cook until the
chicken is no longer pink in the center, 3 1/2 to 4 minutes, stirring
often.  Meanwhile, place the broccoli in a microwave safe dish and
microwave 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 minutes, covered, on high, until it is just warm.
4.  Remove the chicken from the skillet with a slotted spoon and set
aside.  Reduce the heat to medium-low.  Stir the sour cream and
half-and-half into the chicken juices to blend well, then add the mustard,

Worcestershire sauce, and garlic powder.  Stir well and continue to cook
until the sauce is slightly thick, about 2 minutes. Do not boil.
5.  Return the chicken to the skillet and add the broccoli, then raise the

heat to medium-high and bring the sauce almost to a boil.  reduce the heat

to low and simmer to blend the flavors, 1 to 2 minutes.  Do not boil.
6.  Meanwhile, drain the bow ties and place some on each serving plate.
Top with the chicken mixture and serve.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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                     *  Exported from  MasterCook  *

                       White Bean and Chicken Chili

Recipe By     : Desperation Dinners! B. Mills & A. Ross
Serving Size  : 4    Preparation Time :0:20
Categories    : Desperation Dinners

  Amount  Measure       Ingredient -- Preparation Method
--------  ------------  --------------------------------
   3                    boned and skinned chicken breast halves -- 1 pound total
   1      teaspoon      olive oil
   1                    onion -- 1 cup chopped
   1      tablespoon    bottled minced garlic
   1      can           great northern beans -- 15 oz
   1      can           cannellini beans -- 19 oz
   1      can           chopped green chiles -- 4 1/2 oz
   1 1/2  teaspoons     ground cumin
   1      teaspoon      pepper -- preferably white
     1/8  teaspoon      cayenne pepper
   1      can           fat free chicken broth -- 14 1/2 oz
   2      tablespoons   cornstarch
   2      tablespoons   water
     1/2  cup           Monterey jack cheese -- shredded
     1/4  cup           reduced fat sour cream

1.  If the chicken is frozen, run it under hot water so you can remove any

packaging.  Place the chicken on a microwave safe plate and microwave 2
minutes, uncovered, on high, to begin defrosting.
2.  Meanwhile, heat the oil on medium in a 4 1/2 quart Dutch oven or soup
pot.  Peel and coarsely chop the onion, adding it to the pot as you chop.

Stir occasionally to prevent sticking.
3.  Cut the chicken (fresh or partially defrosted) into bite-size chunks,
add them to the pot and stir occasionally.  Add the garlic and continue to

cook, stirring occasionally.
4.  While the chicken cooks, rinse and drain both of the beans and drain
the chilies.  Add the chilies to the pot along with the cumin, white
pepper and cayenne pepper.  Raise the heat to high and add the broth and
drained beans.  Cover the pot and bring the chili to a boil.
5.  Meanwhile, combine the cornstarch and water in a small container that
has a lid.  Shake well to remove any lumps.
6.  When the chili boils, the chicken should be cooked through (even if
you began with partially defrosted.)  Add the cornstarch mixture a little
at a time, stirring constantly.  Continue to boil until the chili reaches
the desired thickness.
7.  Remove from the heat and serve, or let the chili rest until you're
ready to eat.  Garnish with cheese and sour cream.
 
 

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