Summary: In Perfect One-Dish Dinners, the New York Times best-selling author Pam Anderson shares her secret for having people over without breaking stride: Make just one dish. Instead of a parade of offerings, she focuses attention on a single main course—a rustic tart, paella, grilled platter, or homey stew. Perfect One-Dish Dinners showcases about forty such meals, perfect for every season and occasion, all designed to wow guests, calm the cook, and relieve the dishwasher at the end of the night.
Stews for All Seasons
Roasting Pan Complete
Big Summer Salads and Grilled Platters
But that’s not all. If the cook wants to make something extra, Pam provides a compatible appetizer, salad, and dessert for every one dish. And as a special bonus, she throws in “nearly instant” alternatives for each—more than 200 mixable, matchable recipes. Whether for a book group, church get together, birthday party, or family supper, Perfect One-Dish Dinners makes easy, shareable meals perfectly doable. -- Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
I do love looking at cookbooks, and I'm even starting to enjoy trying out new recipes. So when Swapna reviewed PERFECT ONE-DISH DINNERS: ALL YOU NEED FOR EASY GET-TOGETHERS on her blog a few days ago, I knew I needed to get my hands on this book. Her review made it sound like this cookbook might have some recipes that my family might enjoy.
A huge thanks to Swapna because I really liked PERFECT ONE-DISH DINNERS! I found quite a few recipes that I thought sounded interesting as well as new twists on some classic recipes. What really stood out to me about this cookbook (beside the gorgeous photos!) was the format of the recipes. The book is divided into the following chapters -- Stews for All Seasons, Worldly Casseroles, Roasting Pan Complete, and Big Summer Salads and Grilled Platters. Within each chapter, there were main dish recipes (just like I was expecting) but there were also recipes for appetizers, sides and desserts that complemented the main course.
In addition to the many recipes in this cookbook, there were "Instant Alternative" tips that made the recipe ideas even more versatile. I also liked that there were drink suggestions for each meal; i.e. types of wine and/or beer. I think PERFECT ONE-DISH DINNERS is ideal for people who entertain on a regular basis, but I also liked that many of the recipes were easy enough to make for a regular family dinner.
There are quite a few recipes that I plan on trying, but I decided to go with something really simple first -- Shells and Cheese for Everyone. Since I made this on a night with play practice and karate, I didn't even attempt any of the sides. It was the easiest homemade mac and cheese recipe that I've ever made, and it was also probably the richest. Despite substituting 1% cottage cheese and low-fat sour cream, it was still very creamy and I thought it was delicious. I also substituted panko for the regular bread crumbs because isn't panko always better?
Shells and Cheese for Everyone
serves 8 to12
serves 8 to12
1 pound medium-size pasta shells
1 pound grated sharp cheddar cheese
1 container (16 ounces) cottage cheese
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
1 container (16 ounces) light or regular sour cream
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup plain dry bread crumbs
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
3 tablespoons butter, melted
Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 13-by-9-inch baking dish with vegetable-oil cooking spray.
Bring 2 quarts water and 1 tablespoon salt to a boil in a large soup kettle over high heat. Using package directions as a guide and stirring frequently at first to keep it from sticking, boil pasta, partially covered, until just tender. Drain.
Meanwhile, mix cheese and sour cream in a large bowl. Add hot pasta and toss to coat. Adjust seasonings, including salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to baking dish.
Mix bread crumbs, parsley, and butter in a small bowl and sprinkle evenly over shells and cheese. Bake until casserole is bubbly and crumbs are golden brown, 30 to 35 minutes. Serve.
If you are looking for a cookbook that's very user-friendly, but also has over 200 mix and match recipes, then look no further than PERFECT ONE-DISH DINNERS.
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