Chef’s Easy Weeknight Dinners

Dana Cowen

Do you need a new cookbook with recipes for dishes you will actually make for your family – easy dishes not necessarily for guests – and not another one of those restaurant chef cookbooks that have recipes too complex or time consuming to ever cook without a sous chef?

That’s the idea behind Chefs’ Easy Weeknight Dinners (Time Inc. 2014) from Food & Wine, edited by Dana Cowin. It’s a very useful book with bright photographs by Fredrika Stjärne.

Chef's Easy Weeknight Dinners by Dana CowenThe word “easy” is inserted in the title with a carrot, to suggest that this is a collection of good recipes first, easy second.

The best chefs combine inspiring creativity with fierce efficiency, which is why F&W gave some of our favorites a challenge. Come up with delicious dishes for home cooks to prepare in 45 minutes or less.

There are 100 recipes from 25 chefs (four each) divided into chapters based on protein (chicken, pork, beef, etc.) then vegetables, pasta and desserts. If you like a particular chef from the television shows or from trying one of their dishes, then the bio page lists all their recipes. For instance, if you like Cathal Armstrong‘s Tangy Chicken Adobo (p. 38) then try his Crispy Branzino with Spinach (p. 118) or Creamy Pasta with Chicken and Vegetables (p. 192). If you are following Mourad Lahlou, then try Salt Crusted Rack of Lamb (p.96), and then expand with another of his Magreb influenced dish like Lentils with Butternut Squash and Merguez Sausages (p. 106).

Certainly many of these dishes are perfect for a fancier meal on a weekend. Chris Cosentino‘s elegant Halibut with Roasted Potatoes and Romanesco Salad (p. 125) or ‘s colorful Quinoa-Crusted Salmon with Spicy Orange-Miso Sauce (p. 128) are both complex recipes that can show off a beautiful, and often pricey, piece of fish. Use this book after you have gone to the market and chosen your ingredients. There are enough recipes to find the perfect one that will get you out of the kitchen and at the table in under an hour.

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