How To Do Life

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Fast, Healthy, and Yummy

Six great cookbooks for busy people

George Bernard Shaw wrote, “There’s no sincerer love than the love of food.” Yet today, many of us don’t have time to make meals we can truly love.

The following cookbooks are the solution, full of meals that are fast, healthy and, yes, yummy:

Michael Symon's 5 in 5: 5 Fresh Ingredients + 5 Minutes = 120 Fantastic Dinners

The title’s promissory seems like hype but it’s not. Symon, co-host of ABC's The Chew first shows readers how to stock a pantry to ease dinner-making  Then you’re ready for his 120 lightning-fast recipes for pastas, skillet dinners, grilled mains, kebabs, etc. Great photos. The recipes make liberal use of fresh ingredients, almost all of which can be found in the supermarket. Particularly try the Chicken Marsala, no-bake mac and cheese, and grilled salmon with shaved cucumber salad.

The EatingWell Healthy in a Hurry Cookbook: 150 Delicious Recipes for Simple, Everyday Suppers in 45 Minutes or Less

Published by highly regarded EatingWell magazine, the 150 recipes, many with photos, include such yummies as Warm Salmon Salad with Crispy Potatoes, Garlic & Parsley Rubbed Lamb, Sauteed Chicken Breasts with Creamy Chive Sauce, Seafood Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette, Almond Crusted Chicken Fingers, Beer-Battered Tilapia with Mango Salsa, and Chipotle Flank Steak Tacos with Pineapple Salsa. They sound exotic but few exotic ingredients are needed.

The introduction tells readers how to stock the pantry, refrigerator and freezer, as well as plan menus. A chapter on side dishes includes, for example, how to cook 20 veggies five simple ways each. The book lies flat and has thick glossy pages.

Cooking Light The Essential Dinner Tonight Cookbook: Over 350 Delicious, Easy, and Healthy Meals

Cooking Light is the standard magazine for healthy cooking and this book aggregates 350 of its best meals. Each entrée recipes is accompanied by a menu and "serve with" recipes plus a game plan for getting your meal ready fast. Lots of ethnic recipes as well as plenty basic fare from Chicken Pot Pie to Filet Mignon with Cabernet Sauce. Also great: margarita-braised chicken thighs, sautéed pork chops with tomato-sage pan sauce, and pork with curried orange sauce, Each entry is accompanied a great photo.

Weeknight Wonders: Delicious, Healthy Dinners in 30 Minutes or Less

Written by Food Network host Ellie Krieger, this book uses minimally processed ingredients and the instructions are particularly simple and practical—for example, “While the onion is sautéing, cut 2 carrots into ½” thick slices.” 150 great recipes from Parmesan Chicken Breasts and Goat Cheese Frittata to Two Minute Mango-Coconut Sorbet.

Weight Watchers Make It in Minutes: Easy Recipes in 15, 20, and 30 Minutes

This isn’t at all just for Weight Watchers devotees. It contains more than 200 delicious meals, for example, Crab Cakes with Cilantro-Corn Relish, Pierogies with Creamy Mushroom and Sherry Sauce, Bourbon Barbecued Shrimp with Pecan, Berries and Cream Blintzes, Pepper-Crusted Flank Steak with Cucumber Relish, Cuban Sandwiches, Easy Paella, Tuna Panzanella and Wild Mushroom Risotto.

A small downside: there are fewer photos than are in the other books described here and the paper isn’t glossy so it isn’t stain-resistant but it’s well worth owning.

American Heart Association Quick & Easy Cookbook, 2nd Edition: More Than 200 Healthy Recipes You Can Make in Minutes

Overall, this book has the healthiest recipes among these six but there’s no need to have a heart condition to want it. It has yummy, fast recipes for anyone. For example, in fewer than 10 minutes, you can start your day with Confetti Scrambler or Mandarin Breakfast Parfaits. Kick off your dinner with Warm Chicken and Papaya Salad, have a main course of Baked Tilapia with Pineapple Reduction or Beef Tenderloin on Herbed White Beans. and end with the likes of  Chocolate-Banana Mini Cupcakes or Grilled Peaches.

Excuse me, this is making me hungry. Bye.

Marty Nemko's bio is in Wikipedia.

Marty Nemko is a career and personal coach based in Oakland, Ca. and the author of 7 books. 
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