Sunday, June 20, 2010

Review: SOS! The Six O'Clock Scramble to the Rescue

Summary: Dinner with kids shouldn’t be a battleground. And it shouldn’t make a martyr out of the parent whose job it is to get it on the table fast, fresh and hot every day at 6 PM. Aviva Goldfarb’s cheerful Scramble system takes the hassle and worry out of mealtime. Her users and readers rely on her grocery lists, weekly meal plans and recipes not just for the healthy dinners themselves but for taking the stress out of dinnertime. She wants families to actually enjoy their dinners together! Now, with SOS! The Six O'Clock Scramble to the Rescue, Goldfarb is taking an extra of-the-moment stress away from meal planning for busy families: concern about the environment, about the cost of shipping out-of-season food halfway around the world, about packaging, about additives and preservatives.

In SOS! The Six O'Clock Scramble to the Rescue, readers will get a full year of weekly meals that:

--help readers eat seasonally without missing their favorite foods
--move toward a slightly more vegetarian menu for health and a lighter environmental footprint
--reveal when organic matters (and when it doesn’t)
--save money through easy, efficient planning, bulk buying, freezing and storing, and avoiding waste
--pack the power of achievable ethnic meals, such as Easy Cheesy Tex Mex Scramble and Greek Pasta Salad
--make grocery trips count -- St. Martin's Griffin

A few years ago, my sister-in-law was raving about a cookbook that I just had to get -- THE SIX O'CLOCK SCRAMBLE! I made quite a few healthy (and delicious) recipes from it, and I liked the cookbook so much that I told my sister and my mom that they had to get their own copies. They both really liked it too!

So when I discovered that Aviva Goldfarb had written another cookbook called SOS! THE SIX O'CLOCK SCRAMBLE TO THE RESCUE: EARTH-FRIENDLY, KID-PLEASING DINNERS FOR BUSY FAMILIES, I was extremely excited! If it were anything like the first book, I just knew I'd love it. I'm so happy to say that it's just as good (if not better) than the first one.

First of all, I just love how the cookbook is formatted. It's divided into sections based on the season of the year. For some reason, I like that it helps to limit what I have to read through when looking for dinner suggestions -- it's just more manageable. I immediately flipped to the Summer Section to see what meals I could plan for my family and I was pleasantly surprised by how many I flagged. Ms. Goldfarb tends to use not only use what's in season for these recipes but also what's practical. For example, many of the summer recipes are for grilled meats. She also suggests some quick and easy sides for each of the main dishes.

Each recipe has easy-to-follow directions with relatively normal (and easy-to-find) ingredients. She gives prep time as well as cook time, and all of the recipes are fairly quick (and doable for most moms.) I really appreciate that she includes "options" for each meal such as Scramble Flavor Boosters, Side Dish Suggestions, and even some Slow Cooker Directions. And, I also like that she included the nutritional information for not only the main dishes, but the side dishes as well.

Some of the other benefits of this cookbook include basic weekly, menu plans (by season), a seasonal guide to fruits and vegetables, and what to include in a well-stocked kitchen. Ms. Goldfarb also offer lots of other interesting advice like how to start your own garden, the ten best dishes for potlucks, and some light and delicious summer treats. I just love this cookbook! In fact, the only drawback is that it doesn't include any photographs of the meals -- but I can live with that!

I wanted to try a few of the summer meals to see what my family thought of them. The first one I made was Rotini Pasta with Sweet Sausage and Peppers. I was thrilled to find a pasta dish that our entire family could eat (allergy kid and all.) I just added the Parmesan cheese on our individual servings rather than the entire dish. It was extremely quick and I liked how healthy it seemed. The only thing out of a can was the tomato sauce and diced tomatoes. I used low-fat Italian sausage, and I liked that the meal wasn't full of chemicals and preservatives. My family's only issue was that there were too many tomatoes, so next time I will use just one can instead of two.

I also made Pollo a la Brasa or Peruvian Grilled Chicken. Basically, I just had to prepare a marinade with a few ingredients (that I had on hand) and let it sit for up to 24 hours. The recipe calls for a whole chicken, quartered, but my family isn't big on chicken with bones and skin. So I substituted boneless chicken breasts instead -- probably not exactly authentic, but it still worked for our purposes. I have to say that my husband and I thought the chicken was terrific, but my kids thought it was a little spicy! Having said that, they each ate an entire chicken breast so I consider the recipe a success. I will definitely be making this one again and again this summer.

I really like that this cookbook is all about main dishes because that's what I find myself cooking on a regular basis. I mean it's fun to look at dessert recipes, but when it comes down to cooking, I need practical ones. And that's exactly what this cookbook is all about -- quick and healthy recipes for families.

I love SOS! THE SIX O'CLOCK SCRAMBLE TO THE RESCUE! In fact, I highly recommend it to moms like me who don't have a lot of time to prepare dinner but want to fix some healthy meals for their families.

Thanks to Diane Saarinen for sending me a review copy of this cookbook.

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bermudaonion said...

That sounds like a fantastic cookbook! Both of the recipes sound delicious to me - I'd probably have to add extra tomatoes to the pasta dish to please us!

rhapsodyinbooks said...

You are so right that while it's fun to see and read about exotic recipes or categories of meals, what we really need are practical ones. This book sounds perfect!

Beth Hoffman said...

That pasta dish sounds fantastic. I'm in the mood for another cookbook, so I just might have to pick this one up. Thanks, Julie!

Anonymous said...

Great, a book that does what it promises. Often enough, a book says "quick recipes" and when it comes down to it, you still spend ages getting it ready.

Personally, on a busy day, I like recipes that you can start off quickly, then leave to cook while you get on with some other urgent matters. :-)

Beth F said...

I don't need to tell you how much I love Aviva's recipes. I have both her books too. Easy, tasty, healthy, fresh -- the best of all worlds.

Karlie said...

I cannot wait to get this one. I love the first Six O'Clock Scramble!

Dawn @ sheIsTooFondOfBooks said...

This sounds great, Julie! My family doesn't "do" skin/bones, either, so I often substitute chicken breasts.

My friend Sue has the subscription to the weekly Scramble and swears by the ease it has brought to their dinnertimes!

Heather said...

I've seen this reviewed quite a bit lately and each time I read a new one I want it more! It sounds perfect for me especially now that it's summer and the kids just want to be outside. Great review!