Years ago, I read through all of Rachael Ray’s 365 something-or-other cookbook. I made a standard pantry list. I could cook almost anything in the book on the spur of the moment. My pantry was massive! And Rachael didn’t really help with breakfast or lunch. Also, I found out I was unable to digest grains. And milk. And sugar. Rachael had to leave. 🙁
Fast forward to today. I have teenagers. I am not the only cook in my home. My daughter cooks. My husband cooks. And if an ingredient is something that could be eaten alone, like corn chips for a Wednesday taco salad, grazers will get it well before then. So, if I do go buy ingredients for a set meal plan, I can’t guarantee that those ingredients will be there on Thursday for lunch, or Friday dinner, or whatever. I drooped into a cooking slump.
Then I ran across Mystie Winkler’s Ebook Simplified Pantry . I got the whole collection.
Then I begged her to do a review and giveaway. Here’s why:
- She uses a standard pantry of SANE shelf-stable ingredients, not fresh Asiago, fennel, or other nonsense.
- Every recipe uses the pantry. So if one of my “cooks” killed the zucchini or the salsa yesterday, I can easily make a new plan and still have dinner on the table without yelling or hoarding ingredients.
- It’s not fake stuff. “From scratch” seems like a pain until you realize how easy most things are and that you don’t have to buy separate ingredients. I don’t bake sandwich bread these days, but the “quick breads” are only 5 minutes faster from a can than from the base ingredients. And with the base ingredients, I have more flexibility.
- It’s breakfast, lunch, and dinner. With my diet, I only cook breakfast and lunch for the kids. I eat dinner leftovers in the early afternoon after I wear out the pot of coffee. So, dinner is grain, dairy, and sugar-free–but nothing else has to be. Wait, we ALL have ADD. I replace all of her sugar in the breakfasts with stevia. Otherwise, no one would ever get their math done.
- It’s standard recipes with variations.
Let’s hang on that last one for a sec. Back in the day when I first got married….
…Daisy taught me how to make standard recipes over the phone. Salad dressings has this much oil, this much acid, this much herb or spice, and a shot of emulsifier, like dry mustard. Pasta salads had this much protein, this much veg, this much of a “strong flavor” like goat cheese or kalamata olives, etc. She did the same for encrusting fish and a couple of other things. It was genius!
Mystie’s recipes are the same way. There’s a STANDARD macaroni and cheese recipe. Then there are variations. There’s a standard “Breakfast pudding” recipe, and then the variations. (We tried the chocolate version today, four kids’ thumbs up, one down.) I found this worked well with my picky eaters who won’t try anything. Here’s the SAME thing, but vanilla. They try it every time. Weird.
I highly recommend this collection, especially if you are in a breakfast-lunch rut like I was. If you haven’t cooked in ages, the initial outlay to get your pantry up to date might be substantial, but upkeep is minimal, since ingredients are common, readily-available USA ingredients.
This week, everyone who comments on this post will be in the giveaway.
It closes on Tuesday, March 1 at midnight. A random number generator will pick the winner.
All readers will still get a coupon code, so check back on Thursday morning for your discount!