Amazon.com Review Written by two working moms with four kids between them, Desperation Dinners! fulfills its promise to supply you with more than 250 recipes that can be made from start to finish in 20 minutes. With the help of Beverly Mills and Alicia Ross, you can serve up appealing and nutritious home-cooked meals on nights when that might seem impossible. There are meaty dishes (Fiery Chinese Beef) and meatless ones (Very Vegetarian Chili), as well as Ravioli with Roasted Red Pepper Cream for pasta-lovers, and even Magic Brownies for those with a sweet tooth. The authors' technique, which calls for using convenience foods (canned, frozen, boxed, bagged, or jarred), is based on the idea that the time saved justifies extra cost and sacrificed quality. Their Desperation Pantry includes staples such as canned beans and broth, along with onion powder, frozen lemon juice, pre-shredded cheeses, and produce that is ready to use, such as chopped garlic and sections of citrus fruit. This is not great cooking, but the meals will rescue families from a surfeit of fast food and boxed-pasta dinners. Read more Review Mills and Ross set out to share their solution to preparing meals when working moms come home tired and in no mood to start fussing over the family dinner. All separately employed cooks face this dilemma, and Mills admits to feeling panic at the situation even though she is a newspaper food editor. The authors' prudent first line of defense is a well-stocked pantry, which makes daily trips to the grocery store superfluous. But their cooking thoughtfully avoids using merely prepackaged foods loaded with preservatives and commonplace flavors. Mills and Ross instead recommend combining fresh, frozen, and canned items to produce foods dominated by the cook's personality and taste. Thus, a bit of freshly chopped onion and garlic and additional herbs enliven jejune bottled spaghetti sauce. The imaginative cook will find inspiration here to follow in Mills' and Ross' footsteps. -- Mark Knoblauch, Booklist Read more See all Editorial Reviews
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