About 10 pm on Friday night, I started reading The Stocked Kitchen, by Sarah Kallio and Stacy Krastins. By midnight, I was finished. Seriously, I read a cookbook cover to cover and was so excited, I couldn’t go to sleep. It seems a little silly to call this just a cookbook. It’s more like “kitchen curriculum”. I’ve been cooking for at least 40 years, and I would venture to say I’m fairly good at it. Yet, I learned so much from The Stocked Kitchen that I had never previously considered. I can’t wait to share it. It is going to take a busy woman’s view of her kitchen, and cooking, and literally turn it upside down. I will venture to say that you have never seen another cookbook like it and though there will probably be many who will try to copy this ingenious concept, you get to hear about the one and only original, right here, on Busy-at-Home. (Enter to win a copy for yourself, at the end of this post!)
The first two “chapters” of the book are made up of a total of only three pages. After reading them, however, I was hooked. I felt a kinship with these women who knew exactly what the challenges are in a busy woman’s kitchen, day-to-day — you know, that 4:30 or 5:00 standing and staring into an open refrigerator or pantry and feeling like you have nothing to make for dinner challenge? They’ve been there, done that, AND they have a solution. The difference between understanding a dilemma, and solving a dilemma, is action. Sarah and Stacy’s actions are going to rock your cooking world! The system and recipes they have developed are going to save you time — they’re going to save you money — and they’re going to give you a confidence in the kitchen that will leave smiles on the faces of your family and guests at every meal. (I’m just a little stoked about this cookbook. 🙂 ) Frugal, fast and made from scratch — everything we love at Busy-at-Home!
The short and sweet of the premise behind this book is one awesomely simple, yet comprehensive grocery list. Keep your fridge, freezer and pantry stocked with these items and you will always have what you need to create ANY of the more than 300 recipes in this book. The grocery list is included in tear-out pages in the back of this wonderful, hard cover cookbook. Stick it to the fridge, check off items as they are used (and train others in your house to do the same), so you know it needs to be replenished and then carry the list to the store with you every 7-10 days to restock your kitchen with the few items you need. You could easily just make copies of the page to have one for each week, or even simpler, visit The Stocked Pantry website and print the list on your printer at home. Do you realize how this will revolutionize the way you shop — how many “extra” things you will not be buying — how much time and money that can save? It boggles the mind.
So, what’s the secret to this grocery list? What makes it so magical and special? Have you ever seen a recipe online or in a magazine and thought it sounded amazing and decided to make it, only to find you needed some exotic ingredient that you have never purchased in your life, much less have sitting in your pantry? Have you made an extra trip to the store to get that item, and a few others you find along the way, just to bring it home, make the recipe and have the rest of that product sit untouched on your shelves for months or even years? I definitely have. The secret to The Stocked Kitchen grocery list is that all the items are everyday, normal food that you probably keep in your kitchen most of the time. When I first glanced at the list, I thought, “That’s a LOT of groceries!”, but after taking the time to read through it, I already had about 85-90% of those items in my kitchen. The few things that aren’t on your normal list of staples, will quickly become familiar to you, because they are so commonly used in these recipes. You won’t be buying exotic, but you WILL be buying cost-effective, common ingredients that can be used to create delicious, nutritious meals and that will save you money on 1) pre-packaged, processed food and 2) going out to eat at the last minute because you “don’t have anything to cook at home”.
These recipes are certainly family-friendly, but they will be equally great for entertaining. There are options for every palate and quite a few vegetarian options, as well. That was actually one of my biggest concerns before reading the book — “Won’t we get tired of having the same old dishes day in and day out? How can there be enough variety, with only one shopping list?” Let me ask you a question. In a 30-day span, are there any of your family’s favorite dishes that you prepare more than once? We sure do and sometimes it’s because we want it, sometimes it’s because I can’t think of anything else to make. The Stocked Kitchen has enough soup, pasta, and meat main dish recipes that you would be able to eat a different dinner (no repeats) every night for more than two months. I know, because I counted. 🙂 Our family is not huge on seafood, (though I may try incorporating it more often with these recipes), so I counted how many meals I would be able to make if I never used ANY of the seafood recipes. There were over two months worth and that doesn’t count the times we will eat breakfast for supper or have a baked potato bar, etc. This grocery list doesn’t limit you, it uses ingredients you typically keep on hand, anyway, and provides you with the recipes to help you create a delicious, expanded repertoire of meals for your family without needing to run to the store before you cook each night. If you’re like me (and I know you are 😉 ), you’ll immediately recognize how many of your family’s own recipes fit the grocery list, which expands your possibilities even further. I don’t know about you, but that’s exciting to me. What has become a drudgery and a chore — grocery shopping — will become streamlined, simple and quick. Happy, happy mama!
I also believe there are many recipes in the Stocked Kitchen that would lend themselves well to freezer cooking, another of my favorite time and money savers. The Stocked Kitchen has recipes for main dishes and soups, pasta dishes, appetizers, desserts, pizzas, breakfasts and brunches, salads, breads, beans, potatoes, rice and veggies! Plus, you’ll learn to make your own sauces, salsas, dressings and condiments from ingredients on the list, saving money and space in the fridge. What’s left? What’s not to love? It’s pure genius!
You’ve read a lot of my reviews, so you know I take pretty seriously what I recommend. It’s one thing to be able to like and recommend a product. It’s another to say you need it. We have a pretty clear understanding of the difference between wants and needs in our house. So, understand I am not speaking lightly when I say, “You NEED this book.” I seriously believe it will save you time and money, help your family to eat healthier and take the panic out of mealtime preparation. You will do your job more efficiently, effectively and happily because you have the tools you need to pull it off. I will be giving this book as a wedding or bridal shower gift each time I receive an invitation. If it were the only cookbook a new bride owned, she’d be set. Seriously! Yes, it’s a cookbook, but it’s also a tool, it’s a plan for being successful in the kitchen. It equips you to masterfully prepare tasty meals, from ingredients you already have in your kitchen and enjoy doing it. I wish I had had it years ago. You’re going to love it!
Here’s one recipe, I’ve been given permission to reprint for you. You need to put a batch of this in the oven every time you are going to have company, because your house smells AMAZING while it is baking!
- 3 Tablespoons sugar
- 1 Tablespoon cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons unsalted butter
- 2 teaspoons honey
- Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. (In my oven, this worked better at 275 degrees)
- Cover a jellyroll pan (cookie sheet with sides) with aluminum foil.
- In a bowl, combine all ingredients with a fork until crumbly and evenly blended.
- Spread onto the jelly roll pan.
- Bake for 30 - 40 minutes, until melted and bubbly.
- Cool completely on the pan.
- Break into small pieces.
THE GIVEAWAY!!! The Stocked Kitchen publisher, Atria Books (a division of Simon & Schuster), has generously sponsored a giveaway of one copy of the book for a Busy-at-Home reader.
You must be 18 or older and a US resident to enter. Mandatory entry must be completed before any optional entries will be counted. Winner will be selected in a random drawing using random.org. Deadline for entry is midnight (CST), Sunday, August 7, 2011.
In a comment below, share how The Stocked Kitchen would benefit you and your family.
OPTIONAL ADDITIONAL ENTRIES:
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- Tweet this giveaway (maximum of 1x per day, please). Win “The Stocked Kitchen” and revolutionize the way you shop & cook! @busyathome @AtriaBooks @thestockedkitch http://ow.ly/5Qi1i Leave a comment below with a link to your tweet.
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I received a copy of The Stocked Kitchen, in order to test recipes and conduct this review. No monetary compensation was received and a positive review was not required. As always at Busy-at-Home, the views and opinions expressed are wholly my own.