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Visit the Cook for Good blog for wildly good cooking tips, money-saving ideas, book reviews, and more from Linda Watson and guest bloggers.

Friday
Oct172014

Two wildly easy shortcut dinners under 15 minutes with gluten-free options

You can make healthy, tasty dinners in fifteen or twenty minutes using shortcut ingredients available at most grocery stores. Clean up in about five more minutes. Go as organic as your budget and store allow. Go gluten-free too if you'd like. These shortcut dinners are healthier, cheaper, and at least as tasty as most restaurant dinners. If you have ten more minutes to spend cooking, make homemade pasta sauce for better flavor and nutrition. Read on for two dinners and the shortcut ingredients that make them possible.

A "home-cooked meal" doesn't have to be made from scratch

In my post last Friday, I disputed a claim by NCSU researchers that cooking dinner is "nearly impossible" for mothers these days. Rather than resorting to food trucks and reheated dinners from their children's school cafeterias as the researchers suggest, modern moms and dads can find plenty of help at the grocery store. They can help you stay independent when your priorities, budget, or body prevent you from cooking from scratch.

Use the scratch-made dinner as an ideal to guide your choice of ingredients. Avoid processed foods and ingredients that aren't recognizably food. Minimize added sugar and salt. Choose ingredients that are organic, local, and in season when possible.

Choose healthy ingredients at the grocery store to cut your cooking time without resorting to processed food.

Shortcut dinner 1 (gluten-free) ready 13 minutes with ...

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Friday
Oct172014

My summer of cooking shortcuts

I usually cook from scratch, with a few shortcuts such as dried noodles, canned tomatoes, peanut butter, and soy sauce. This summer, though, I had a bad case of shingles followed by post-shingles pain. I was sensitive to touch despite heavy doses of pain killers and sensitive to light because of them. Rinsing leafy vegetables was out because they splashed tiny drops of water on my face, something I didn't even notice before becoming super-sensitive.

My Taster cooked and got take-out. Dear friends brought over food too. When I did cook, I used shortcuts that don't usually find their way into my kitchen. Maybe some of them will help you through illness or busy times. Read on for details.

breakfast smoothie using frozen blueberries, salad mix, and banana

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Thursday
Oct092014

On "The Joy of Cooking?" and in praise of apron power

Home cooking is a "burden" foisted on women by clueless foodies, according to The Joy of Cooking?, an article in the American Sociological Association's magazine Contexts. The article reduces over 250 hours of interviews to soundbites, but provides no data to back the stories. The illustrations indicate its time-warped nature, with idealized 50s-era housewives frosting layer cakes and cooking in high heels. The authors make an astonishing claim::

Utopian family meals are nearly impossible to create, no matter how hard mothers try.

Utopian here is a misdirection. Plain old family meals are enough. In fact, they are wonderful: healthy, nutritious, and satisfying. A home-cooked meal doesn't require Mrs. Cleaver's layer cake any more than it demands Iron Chef styling. I bet you make such meals most nights. One of my favorites takes about 20 minutes to prepare using pantry staples and sturdy, inexpensive vegetables. Very, very possible, even with the fancy chive garnish.

home-made easy dinner for just $1.11 per serving organic

The Joy of Cooking? authors, sociologists Sarah Bowen, Sinikka Elliott, and Joslyn Brenton from North Carolina State University, mix aspiration with ...

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Thursday
Oct022014

Antipasto for week 1 of Harvest Challenge

Today begins the Cook for Good Harvest Challenge. Join in if you want to become a Wildly Good Cook before Halloween! 

We'll savor the challenge as we would a month of classic Italian meals: in five courses. Today is the first antipasto, which whets our appetites for the adventure to come. Start by making a kitchen journal to hold recipes, meal plans, class handouts, and your notes as you become a Wildly Good Gook. This week, we'll focus on making the best use of your resources when you shop, plan, and cook.

Make your Wildly Good Cook Notebook

Think about why you cook, what sort of delicious food you enjoy, and how your cooking can make a difference. Illustrate your notebook with

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Thursday
Sep252014

1 simple shift with 7 benefits to revolutionize your cooking and health

You already do this. Every day. If it's before 4 pm, though, it's likely that you haven't done it yet. 

Quick, tell me: what are you having for dinner tonight?

You have to decide, even it it's eating whatever is put before you by your beloved or your warden. I've found that just the tiniest bit of planning results in a huge increase in enjoyment and value.

Here's the shift: decide today what you will ...

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