cover image Sara's Secrets for Weeknight Meals

Sara's Secrets for Weeknight Meals

Sara Moulton, . . Broadway, $29.95 (358pp) ISBN 978-0-7679-1659-2

Moulton, a Food Network and Gourmet chef, wants to help home cooks produce elegant meals without excessive fuss. For each dish in this assemblage, she indicates hands-on time and total cooking time, with most calculated to require under 45 minutes (though cooks who are less efficient at prepping than Moulton may dispute some of the estimates; Mexican Chicken Salad, for instance, indicates 15 minutes of hands-on time, but with all the chopping and washing, some amateurs will soon reach the 25 minutes allotted for the whole process). Besides chapters on soup, pasta, meat and so on, there are several revolving around time-saving tips: "Shop and Serve" has recipes like the fast but tasty Tortellini Pepperoni Spinach Soup, and dishes in "Just Open the Pantry" use items from a kitchen stocked with Moulton's long list of recommended staples. "Cooking Ahead," meanwhile, unleashes the gourmet chef in Moulton with lengthier recipes that can be made on the weekend and reheated. Moulton's readers may not get these dishes on the table as quickly as she can, but cooks willing to put in some time in the kitchen each night will appreciate this book's excellent international range as well as its helpful shortcuts. Color photos. (Oct. 18)