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with one arm tied behind your back

Great meals: with one arm tied behind your back

Lisa Christiano Notar

So, you’re a stay-at-home mom or dad.

Dinnertime is quickly approaching, and so is your spouse. You’re still not showered, unfolded laundry sits stuffed in a basket, and lunch dishes are piled high in the sink. Your toddler is pulling at your shirt to read a book, you’re carrying your newborn under your arm, and the phone is ringing off the hook. You don’t have a clue as to what you are going to make for dinner. It’s looking a lot like a take-out night. Sound familiar?

Or, maybe you’re a working parent stuck in acceleration mode most days, juggling your job and family life. Let’s face it: Preparing dinner after picking the children up from the sitters is that “one more thing” that can send you over the edge.

Relax and draw a sigh of relief–The One-Armed Cook book has come to the rescue. It’s the quintessential cookbook we’ve all been waiting for–what some are calling the new millennium’s answer to Betty Crocker and Dr. Spock. This 236-page spiral-bound cookbook and handbook not only provides more than 120 easy-to-make, healthful recipes, but also offers advice on everything from childraising to meal planning, grocery shopping and dinner party preparation.

Fortunately for us all, the book’s two culinary-expert authors–former television cooking show producer Cynthia Stevens Graubart and R.N. and childbirth educator Catherine Fliegel, now full-time authors and moms–couldn’t keep their knowledge and recipes a secret. Together, they sifted through their favorite recipes, mixed in some wise parenting advice, stirred in loads of humor, and covered it all with a one-armed cartoon design by Elaine Dillard. The result is a book chock full of no-fuss recipes for anyone who lives a busy “one-armed life” and still wants to make sumptuous meals that family and friends will rave about.

No need to brace yourself for labor-intensive cooking. “No fancy culinary skills are required for success with these recipes,” the authors insisted during a recent interview. “There’s no whipping egg whites; no peeling fruit, dicing vegetables, or mincing fresh herbs; no cutting up raw chicken.” Many of the recipes include pre-packaged ingredients such as chopped frozen vegetables and onions, so basically you can pour them into a mixing bowl or frying pan while holding a baby or your favorite drink.

“When planning the book,” Graubart said, “we began testing, and tasting and testing again, all with an eye on our kitchen timers and one arm behind our backs. We no longer had a babe-in-arms in either of our families, so Catherine’s toddler was happy to be of service.”

“Then, we walked up and down the supermarket aisles looking for convenience items that we could substitute into the recipes without compromising the workability or the taste of each,” Fliegel added. “We took these convenience items, most of which can be stocked in your pantry, refrigerator or freezer, and put them all together into something wonderful. The result is a homemade meal on the table for your family in 30 minutes or less.”

“For instance, we’re in love with diced canned tomatoes,” Graubart said. “Every time I go to the store, I find new versions of a diced tomato, like tomatoes with basil and onion. Anytime you can start with a product that has an extra layer of flavor already built in, you’re going to come out with a bettertasting recipe.”

Aside from good recipes for appetizers, breads, soups, slow-cooking meals, meatless main dishes, vegetable side dishes, desserts and more, the book devotes whole sections to topics like kitchen and pantry preparation, menu planning, brunch, holiday entertaining and more. Its conversational style makes the reader feel like its authors are sitting at your kitchen table having a chat over coffee. The One-Armed Cook is unique in that it offers sympathetic words of encouragement for those taking the latenight feeding shift or getting the hang of the grandparent thing.

True, The One-Armed Cook is a perfect gift for expectant or new moms, but parents and non-parents alike will find it equally indispensable. In fact, after you begin enjoying your own copy, you’ll find yourself buying one for everyone you know.

Will there be a sequel? “Yes, definitely,” Graubart says emphatically. “We have so many more recipes to share!”

Vegetarian Chili

* VEGETARIAN

2 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil

1 10-ounce package frozen chopped onions

1 10-ounce package frozen chopped

green pepper

1 tablespoon bottled minced garlic

14 cup chili powder

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon salt

2 14-12-ounce cans Mexican-style

stewed tomatoes

1 15-ounce can lentils, rinsed and drained

1 15-ounce can red kidney beans or pinto

beans, rinsed and drained

1 15-14-ounce can whole kernel corn, drained

In large pot over medium heat, heat

vegetable oil. Add onion, pepper and

garlic, and cook until tender, about 10

minutes. Add chili powder, cumin and

salt, stirring well to mix. Cook for 2 minutes

to release flavors, stirring frequently.

Add tomatoes, lentils, kidney

beans or pinto beans, and corn, stirring

well to mix. Bring to boil, cover, reduce

heat to low, and simmer for 10 minutes.

6 servings. Per serving: 292 calories;

53 calories from fat; 6g fat; 1g saturated

fat; 0mg cholesterol; 46g carbs;

14g fiber; 12g protein; 1,245mg

sodium,; 81mg calcium; 2mg iron

Snacking Corn Bread

2 large eggs

12 cup vegetable oil

8 ounces sour cream

7 ounces canned creamed corn

1 cup cornmeal mix

Preheat oven to 375F. Coat 8″ square pan with

cooking spray. In large mixing bowl, combine

eggs, oil, sour cream and corn, stirring well to mix.

Add cornmeal and stir until thoroughly mixed.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 35

minutes or until lightly browned around edges.

8 servings. Per serving: 275 calories; 189 calories

from fat; 22g fat; 5g saturated fat; 72mg cholesterol;

18g carbs; 1g fiber; 5g protein; 303mg

sodium; 76mg calcium; 1mg iron

Meatball Minestrone

1 cup frozen chopped onion

2 teaspoons bottled minced garlic

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 15- to 19-ounce can cannellini beans,

undrained

32 ounces chicken broth

1 1.4-ounce package dry vegetable

soup mix

16 ounces frozen cooked meatballs

2 14-12-ounce cans Italian-style diced

tomatoes

12 teaspoon crushed red pepper

1 cup ditalini pasta, uncooked

10 ounces fresh washed baby spinach

In large saucepan over medium-high heat, cook

onion and garlic in olive oil until onion is tender,

about five minutes. Stir in beans and chicken

broth, and bring to boil. Stir in vegetable soup

mix until dissolved. Add meatballs, tomatoes

and crushed red pepper, and return to boil. Add

ditalini and cook, stirring often, for 15 minutes

until ditalini are tender. Add spinach and stir

until wilted, about one minute.

6 servings. Per serving: 406 calories; 118 calories

from fat; 13g fat; 4g saturated fat; 67mg cholesterol;

49g carbs; 8g fiber; 22g protein; 1,702mg sodium;

147mg calcium; 5mg iron

Herb Cheese Bread

1-14 cups milk

13 cup grated Parmesan

13 cup shredded sharp cheddar

3 cups bread flour

1 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon onion salt

12 teaspoon dill weed

12 teaspoon dried basil, crushed

12 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed

1 tablespoon bread machine yeast

Place all ingredients in bread machine pan in

order your bread machine suggests. Process on

basic/white cycle.

1 loaf. Per loaf: 1,940 calories; 233 calories from

fat; 26g fat; 12g saturated fat; 79mg cholesterol;

329g carbs; 14g fiber; 86g protein; 1,710mg

sodium; 1,111mg calcium; 20mg iron

WANT TO KNOW MORE? Visit www.one-armedcook.com

Tortellini and Bean Soup

2 32-ounce cartons chicken broth

2 14-12-ounce cans Italian-style diced

tomatoes

1 16-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and

drained

1 tablespoon bottled minced garlic

9 ounces refrigerated or frozen cheese

tortellini, uncooked

1 tablespoon dried parsley

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan

In large saucepan over medium-high heat, combine

chicken broth, tomatoes, chickpeas, garlic

and salt and bring to boil. Stir in tortellini, reduce

heat to low, and simmer for three to four minutes,

until tender. Add parsley and Parmesan, stirring

well to mix.

8 servings. Per serving: 218 calories; 39 calories

from fat; 4g fat; 1g saturated fat; 22mg cholesterol;

33g carbs; 4g fiber; 10g protein; 1,668mg sodium;

92mg calcium; 2mg iron

Garlic Parmesan Spread

* LOW CALORIE * LOW CARB

1 stick butter or margarine, softened

13 cup grated Parmesan

14 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon dried parsley

In medium mixing bowl, combine all ingredients,

stirring well to mix. Spread soft mixture on your

favorite bread, or cover and refrigerate until

ready to use. Preheat broiler and coat cookie

sheet with cooking spray. Slice loaf of French or

Italian bread in half lengthwise and place on prepared

cookie sheet. Spread garlic Parmesan mixture

smoothly and evenly over cut surfaces of

both halves. Place on middle oven rack and broil

for 5 to 10 minutes or until cheese is melted and

bread is golden brown around edges.

6 servings. Per 2-tablespoon serving (spread

only, without bread): 167 calories; 156 calories

from fat; 18g fat; 11g saturated fat; 50mg cholesterol;

0g carbs; 0g fiber; 2g protein; 203mg sodium;

94mg calcium; 0mg iron

COPYRIGHT 2006 Coincide Publishing LLC

COPYRIGHT 2007 Gale Group