Cookbook review: Week in a Day by Rachael Ray
All of us lead busy lives, no matter what it is we're up to. Sometimes, making a meal at the end of the day is the last thing we want to do. Rachael Ray to the rescue!
You may have seen the Food Network show, Week in a Day, with Rachael Ray. Rachael's new cookbook by the same name is now out, offering a step-by-step guide for how to make a week's worth of meals with minimal effort. If you think that's — ahem — a crock, think again.
The idea behind the cookbook is that you spend one day cooking (Cook Day) so that you can prepare several meals in advance. That way, when you have one of those nights when you can't imagine whipping up a meal, all you have to do is pop a previously prepared dish in the oven before sitting down to dinner.
The recipes included in this cookbook were chosen because they're good candidates for advanced prep. Follow Rachael's tips, make your shopping list and cook. Whether you choose a few recipes to make for the week, or one for each night of the work week, you'll still use one day as your Cook Day — the day you prepare your subsequent meals. You'll find Rachael's Foundation Recipes helpful, too. These are recipes that call for making a big batch of something that you can use to create other dishes (think poached chicken that can be used in a salad, soups or casseroles).
Dinner tonight... or tomorrow
You'll find the 250 recipes in the book span the four seasons and include globally-inspired dishes and side dishes, too. Each main dish recipe also details how to proceed with cooking (or where to stop), whether you're making it to enjoy on another day or later that night. Within the book are tags that you can access for digital content, like bonus recipes or Rachael demonstrating techniques. The last section in the book, 1 Grocery Bag 3 Meals, is noteworthy: Everything you need to make three mouth-watering meals is detailed. You'll find a shopping list for the grocery store, a list for ingredients to pull from your pantry and, of course, three recipes.
With some great tips, recipes and some advanced prep, Week in a Day can help you get dinner on the table no matter how busy things seem.
Try a recipe from Week in a Day:
Bacon & Brussels Sprouts Mac 'n' Cheese
Serves 6 as an entree or 10-12 as a starter
- 2 pints Brussels sprouts (on the larger side)
- Salt and pepper
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/3 pound center-cut bacon or pancetta, chopped
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 onion, chopped
- 3-4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 3 cups milk
- Freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 cup shredded sharp white cheddar cheese
- 1 cup shredded Gruyère cheese
- 1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- 1 pound cavatappi or penne pasta
- [If making this to serve on Cook Day, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. If making this to serve later in the week, you'll preheat the oven on the night of.]
- With the tip of a sharp paring knife, dig out the core of the Brussels sprouts and separate the leaves. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt the water, add the Brussels sprout leaves, and cook to tender-crisp, about 2 minutes. With a slotted spoon, scoop out the leaves and spread on a kitchen towel to drain and cool. Add more water to fill the pot back up for cooking the pasta; return to a boil.
- Heat a deep skillet over medium heat. Brown the bacon. With a slotted spoon transfer the bacon to paper towels to drain. Pour most of the bacon grease out of the pan. Return it to the heat and melt in the butter. Add the onion and garlic, season with salt and pepper and cook to soften, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with the flour and cook 1 minute. Whisk in the wine. Whisk in the stock and milk and season with salt and pepper and a little nutmeg. Cook the sauce until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Add 2/3 of the cheeses and stir in a figure-8 until melted. Reduce the heat to low.
- Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook just shy of al dente, 5-6 minutes. Drain the pasta, toss with the Brussels sprouts, and top with the remaining cheeses.
- [Make-ahead: Let cool and refrigerate.]
- [Night of: Return the casserole to room temp while you preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.]
- Bake the casserole, loosely covered, for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake until browned and bubbling, 10-15 minutes.
Copyright © 2013 by Rachael Ray from WEEK IN A DAY published by Atria Books, a division of Simon & Schuster Inc.
About the Author
Rachel Ray has a wildly successful career as a syndicated TV star, an iconic Food Network TV personality, best-selling cookbook author, founder and editorial director of her own lifestyle magazine, Every Day with Rachel Ray, and founder of the Yum-o! organization. Ray also recently signed another three book deal with the Atria Publishing Group and her imprint with Atria Books — Rachael Ray Books — just launched its first title, Beating the Lunch Box Blues by J.M. Hirsch.