I was really excited to receive How to Feed a Family
for review when I was pregnant. I also received this as a gift (signed by the author!). While my kid won’t be eating the meals in this book for awhile, I don’t have the same luxury of time to be in the kitchen for hours. It’s tiring work growing a human being, so a lot of the cooking was done by R. He can cook, but he doesn’t like recipes. His meals are much more laid back: grilled cheese sandwiches, pasta, nachos and cheese, tuna melts or a frozen meal. While he is happy to eat that all the time, I need some variety. So I made him test out the cookbook.
He bookmarked a bunch of recipes to try which is always a good sign.
Apple and chicken curry was simple to make and the directions were straight forward. It’s quick enough for a weeknight dinner and the yogurt gives the dish a nice creaminess. It wasn’t too spicy so it’s very kid friendly. 2 chicken thighs didn’t seem enough, so we used more. I wish the weight for the chicken was given as pieces can vary in weight.
For an easy breakfast, I made the Oatmeal and Strawberry Blender Pancakes. Because all the ingredients are just thrown in, the batter comes together in no time. The pancakes tasted…well…healthy. I’m used to making fluffy, not very wholesome, but delicious pancakes on the weekend. I understand as a parent you want to feed your kids more nutritious meals. Would I serve these to my kids? Absolutely! Would I make them for a brunch with friends? Probably not. Balance is key so I would consider these as everyday pancakes and the version I usually make as a weekend treat.
The last recipe I tested was Risotto, Spinach and Kale Cakes with Parmesan. These are bite sized and easy to take on the go. Once I made it, I had to make it again that same week. Doubling the recipe and freezing it would make an easy last minute dinner option. I’d also mow down these as a snack. I usually take pictures of what I make, but none of the pictures turned out.
There’s a handy legend letting you know which ones are quick to make or my favourite, the ones that make little mess. I would have also liked to see a quick index for the legend. That way I can see a list of make ahead meals at a glance.
The book is geared to older children so you won’t see any first foods like purees. While I still have a couple of years before my baby will be eating any of the food in this book, I like how it’s fast and uncomplicated.
image courtesy of Random House
Risotto, Spinach and Kale Cakes with Parmesan
Prep time: 30 minutes
Total time: 1 hour
Makes: about 8
1/2 cup (125 ml) arborio rice
1 Tbsp (15 ml) butter
1/4 cup (60 ml) chopped onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup (250 ml) chopped kale, fresh or frozen
1 cup (250 ml) chopped spinach, fresh or frozen
1/2 cup (125 ml) Parmesan cheese
Preheat the oven to 400F(200C). Using a nonstick spray, grease a muffin tin.
Cook the arborio rice according to the package directions. If you’re using fresh greens, wash and remove any tough stems then chop. If your greens are frozen, thaw them for a few minutes and squeeze out any liquid.
Meanwhile, in a small frying pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic. Sauté for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the onion is translucent. Add the kale and spinach and sauté for about 5 minutes. Transfer this mixture to a food processor and pulse until finely chopped.
Transfer to a medium-size bowl and add the rice and cheese. Beat the eggs and then add to the rice. Stir to combine. Pour the mixture into the prepared muffin tin, leaving about 1 inch (2.5 cm) space at the top. Place in the oven and bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until the egg is set and the edges are golden brown.
Allow to cool for a few minutes. Loosen the edges with a knife and turn the cakes onto a plate. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
Excerpted from How to Feed a Family. Copyright © 2013 by Ceri Marsh and Laura Keogh. All rights reserved.
Thanks to Random House for sending me a review copy. As always, my opinions are my own and I did not receive any compensation.