cover image The Family Dinner Fix: Cooking for the Rushed

The Family Dinner Fix: Cooking for the Rushed

Sandi Richard, . . Scribner, $22.95 (192pp) ISBN 978-1416541233

Food Network Canada star Richard presents a wealth of quick, family-pleasing recipes for harried cooks in a compilation that redefines “user friendly.” Emphasizing fresh over prepared ingredients without going overboard (she's not above the occasional can of Campbell's Cream of Mushroom), Richard's time-conscious approach begs comparison to megastar (and fellow Food Network personality) Rachael Ray. Though Richard's far more personal style is an obvious difference, the key innovation Richard contributes is in her meticulous organization: aside from ingredients and steps, each recipe includes a list of necessary equipment, nutrition and exchange information for U.S. and Canadian readers, and “real photos” that do away with image-enhancing special effects: “if the dish is ugly, I think the reader needs to know that ahead of time!” But that's not all: there's also a primer on “Meal Planning for the 21st Century,” shopping lists for each week's dishes, indexes organized by protein, fat content and total time commitment, and even ratings from her family (veggie-laden Mediterranean Pizza rates a solid 10, while a faithful take on Fettuccini Carbonara scores an 8.5). Skilled cooks will appreciate the emphasis on easy crowd pleasers like Thai Chicken Wraps, Red Snapper with Pineapple Salsa, and Baked Ham with Apricot Sauce, while novices will find a surefire confidence boost in Richard's encouraging, detailed recipes and delightfully off the cuff commentary. (Nov.)