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The Cookstr Weekly: The Mom 100

April 11, 2012

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Let’s face it: Most parents don’t actually have an expansive repertoire of creative, wholesome and delicious dishes. To many, a dinner at home is limited to a few tired dishes or, worse, involves a take-out menu or something from the supermarket’s frozen food section. And breakfast, when moms have three minutes to feed sleepy children, often results in choosing between sugary cereal or frozen waffles. But not any longer – help is here! The Mom 100 Cookbook by Katie Workman, founding editor-in-chief of Cookstr.com and a mother of two, delivers solutions to the 20 most common dilemmas that every modern mom faces, providing recipes and tips for parents who are so baffled by their kids’ food preferences that mealtime has become a minefield. Katie’s straightforward approach to tackling everyday cooking dilemmas makes for a candid read, with wise tips, personal anecdotes, and wry one-liners sprinkled throughout. Exemplifying the deliciousness of simplicity, each of her smart, crowd-pleasing recipes masterfully combines basic ingredients and ingenious techniques for extraordinary results.

The Mom 100 Cookbook is released April 3. Here’s a sneak preview for Cookstr readers:

“It had been dawning on me that the surest way
to achieve brownie nirvana, the kind of fudgy chocolatiness that wimpy people say is too chocolaty (and then go on to polish off another brownie or two), is best achieved by combining cocoa powder and melted chocolate. This is the ultimate one-pot result. Fifteen minutes of hands-on time, max, and well worth every minute.” – Katie Workman

“My kids like Kraft macaroni and cheese. There, I said it. I haven’t made it in a long time although, like most of us, I have succumbed to the call of the blue box at times. Still, they seem to be willing to shovel in this homemade version at a pretty fast clip, and we can pronounce all of the ingredients. Laced with a blend of cheeses and enriched with milk and cream, even grown-up guests tend to sigh with pleasure while looking at the browned panko crust sitting atop a bubbling casserole of cavatelli nestled in a sauce fragrant with a mixture of Gruyère and cheddar. And, no, this isn’t low fat. Thanks for asking.” – Katie Workman

 

 Kitchen Tips from The Mom 100 Cookbook
1) There must be a better way to get honey or molasses out of the measuring cup! Spray your measuring cup with nonstick cooking spray before pouring the sticky ingredient in. it works every time!

2) Bake your bacon instead of frying it. If you lay the bacon strips on a wire rack placed on a rimmed baking sheet and bake them in a preheated 400 degree F oven for 20 minutes, you’ll get nice crisp flat strips, and save yourself the trouble of cleaning an oil-splattered stovetop.

3) Use two different vinegars for a delicious basic salad vinaigrette. This creates a very nice kind of layering of flavors and takes the vinaigrette to a slightly higher level. Some favorite combos: red wine and sherry vinegars; balsamic and red wine vinegars; white wine and unseasoned rice vinegars.

4) Cook in big batches. There is little point to making a small batch of tomato or meat sauce, soup, chili, or stew. Making a big batch, or doubling the recipe, usually takes only a small amount of additional time and enables you to freeze enough for another meal (or two!) for your family.

5) Freeze unexpected foods in freezer-safe zip-top bags. Soups? Stews? Chili? Yes! Fill the bag about an inch shy of the top, zip the bag almost completed closed, gently press the air out, then seal completely. Freeze food in the portions you will likely want to defrost, and label all food with the name of the dish and the date you froze it.

6) Prep the coming week’s produce in one sitting. If you mince and chop garlic, shallots, onions, broccoli florets, and other veggies ahead of time, you will thank yourself all week long. If you have a food processor, you can just pulse everything up, one at a time, and have yourself an arsenal of prepped ingredients at the ready. Store each ingredient in a tightly sealed, labeled container in the fridge.

7) Experiment in a comfortable way. If you’re interested in trying a new spice, add it to some of the roasted potatoes you’re making. This way, if it turns out the flavor is not your thing, you’ll see if you like it without jeopardizing all the potatoes or a more involved main course.

8) Everything tastes better on a stick. Trying to get your kids to forgo processed chicken nuggets for the homemade version or think of fruit as a dessert? Serve it on a skewer! Presentation can be the secret weapon in the battle to get kids to eat something.

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