My husband has a teensy-weensy bromance with Chef Michael Symon. We’ve eaten at B Spot Burgers. We own his Carnivore cookbook. He’s our most-watched Iron Chef. And he’s probably our second-favorite Food Network personality. (Alton Brown takes the top spot.)
And now we have a new reason to love his work.
5 in 5 For Every Season is the perfect cookbook for busy families who also like to eat–and cook–good food that doesn’t come from a box. No judgment, though, because we do that sometimes too. (Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the book through the Blogging for Books program in exchange for my review.)
So far we’ve tried three recipes from the book, all in one week. Each was low-prep and full of flavor, and after we had the ingredients in hand came together quickly. Dinner prep for us can be tricky between my husband’s work schedule and the kids coming home from school. Sometimes we’re scrambling to throw something together at 6 o’clock so we can eat before the kids have to go to bed. These three recipes were lifesavers, and like I said, so tasty you would not know how little work went into them.
The concept behind the book is this:
“You can get a from-scratch meal on the table for you, your family, and your friends in very little time, for not a lot of money, and without a lot of fuss.” (6)
I could hardly believe it was true. And what’s neat about this book, as opposed to his 5 in 5 cookbook, is that it’s divided into seasons, so you can cook with ingredients in season. I love this idea.
First, we tried spaghetti puttanesca from the fall section. Garlic, red pepper flakes, capers, kalamata olives and crushed canned tomatoes created a simple sauce unlike anything I’ve tried from a jar. “Why would we ever buy a jar of sauce again?” I asked my husband. Super easy, and delicious. I was sold after one recipe, but for thoroughness, we tried a couple more.
Next up was mushroom Philly cheesesteaks from the winter section. This one was a little more expensive because I had to make a quick run to the store for shiitake mushrooms, and they were not cheap. I think if I could have gotten to a farmer’s market, I might have been able to get them cheaper. Pennsylvania is home to the mushroom capital of the world, so they are plentiful. We already had a rib eye steak thawed from a previous meal, so this one came together quickly as well. In fact, we decided that it’s best to do all the chopping and prep ahead of time because there is little down time between steps. These were messy and sloppy but we gobbled them up.
Finally, we tried the spicy beef tacos with fresh salsa, also from the winter section. We used ground turkey instead of beef, and added queso fresco at the end because we like a bit of cheese. The meat is seasoned with a combination of chipotle powder, cayenne pepper, paprika and cumin seeds. No need for the store bought taco season. The down side to these was the quality of our corn tortillas. Our tacos fell apart, but we still ate the filling. Our kids don’t care for raw onions, so they disliked the addition of red onion, but the red onions, tomatoes and cilantro were the perfect topper for the meat.
I can’t wait to explore more of the book. There’s a holiday section, drink recipes, and a variety of meats used. Each time I flip through, something else draws my attention. Especially as more fresh ingredients become available in spring and summer, I expect to use this book often.
Add this one to your cookbook collection!