A Good Read: Hey, what's for dinner?

Families are now returning to their busy fall routines.

Families are now returning to their busy fall routines.

While dealing with a hectic schedule, parents must also prepare meals for their hungry kids.

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Many cookbooks contain quick and easy recipes to make tasty food fast.

Jeanne Besser and Susan Puckett claim you only need 30 minutes — or less — and five ingredients to put an appealing, healthy dinner on the table. The two authors have written the suitably titled The 5:30 Challenge. This cookbook contains shortcuts, tips and almost 150 recipes to enable you to spend less time in the kitchen.

Many people turn to processed foods to solve their meal preparation dilemmas but Lisa Leake believes meals can be made quickly and easily using unprocessed foods. In 100 Days of Real Food: Fast and Fabulous, Leake explains why healthy, homemade food is worth preparing. Leake includes recipes for breakfasts, lunches, dinners, salads, sides, snacks, soups and treats. She also has suggestions for seasonal meal plans, which helps to ease the frustration of deciding what meals to make.

The Dinner Plan by Kathy Brennan and Caroline Campion offers 135 simple recipes that use five key cooking strategies: Make-ahead, Staggered, One-dish, Pantry and Extra-fast. The authors use simple ingredients and step-by-step methods to design recipes for a variety of delicious meals.

Most everyone dislikes scrubbing pots after making dinner. Food stylist and writer Rukmini Iyer’s recipes use only one pan, which makes cleaning up a breeze for busy cooks. Dinner’s in the Oven contains 75 recipes to make baking sheet dinners. Iyer also includes mix and match charts for adventurous cooks who would like to try new recipes using their own combinations of ingredients.

For those wanting to try vegan recipes but think vegan cooking is too time-consuming, try Melissa King’s Easy. Whole. Vegan: 100 Flavor-Packed, No-stress Recipes for Busy Families. King and her family follow a vegan, gluten-free and whole-food diet, and she includes recipes that her husband and two young daughters enjoy. King describes her pantry and includes time- and money-saving tips and advice on how to handle fussy eaters.

For parents who are struggling to make healthy, kid-approved lunches, check out Marie W. Lawrence’s The Organic Lunchbox. The author packs 125 “yummy, quick, and healthy” recipes into this appealing book. Lawrence is a mom and grandmother who has worked in elementary schools. She has learned that kids prefer food that is “fun to look at, fun to eat and… tastes delicious.” Lawrence includes many simple recipes using organic food, which will appeal to both children and adults.

Katie Wells created wellnessmama.com, a resource about healthy living. The Wellness Mama Cookbook has 200 easy-to-prepare recipes to make “healthy, delicious family meals in no time.” This cookbook contains recipes for salads and sides, soups, one-pot meals, desserts and drinks. Wells also provides meal planning suggestions and hints about how to overcome picky eating.

Visit your local public library to find more cookbooks with recipes to suit every palate and time schedule.

A Good Read is a column by Tri-City librarians that is published on Wednesdays. Lori Nick works at Terry Fox Library in Port Coquitlam. 

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