Ellie shows you that contrary to popular belief, nourishing food need not be boring, as she showcases 150-delicious, easy meals that can be prepared and served up in an instant.
The cookbook is separated into categories such as soups, sandwiches, fish, and meats through to vegetarian and dessert sections, so there really are dishes designed to appeal to everyone. The book is as practical as it is beautiful, containing tips for healthy shortcuts, such as using precooked whole grains, prewashed greens, frozen vegetables, or canned beans, whilst featuring color photographs throughout.
Recipes are either complete meals on their own or come with suggested pairings to keep the food within the 30-minute time frame. For example, Ellie’s Savory Carrot-Cashew Soup goes beautifully with her Chicory Salad with Apples, Cranberries, and Blue Cheese, or plate Shrimp with Spinach, Garlic, and Smoked Paprika alongside her recipe for crusty Tomato Bread.
She also sticks to foods that are fresh and natural rather than relying on highly processed shortcuts that contain unwanted additives. Additionally, for those who are watching their fat and calorie intake, each recipe in WEEKNIGHT WONDERS includes complete nutritional data.
It just goes to show that with a bit of planning, the right ingredients on-hand and some fab recipes, scrumptious and quick meals are less than half an hour away.
Head to Toe was lucky enough to speak with Ellie on the eve of her book release:
Head to Toe Wellness: Can you give us a quick overview of the book and what types of recipes we’re going to find inside?
Ellie Krieger: This book is full of recipes that I designed to make delicious, healthy weeknight dinners not only totally do-able on the busiest days, but also totally inspiring. The variety is amazing…from all-time classics like Meatballs in Simple Marinara to Rush Hour Chili to easy to make new favorites like Shrimp with Garlic, Spinach and Smoked Paprika, Peach Chicken with Crispy Breadcrumbs and Halibut with Chorizo and Kale. There are also lots of hearty soups, fabulous salads, satisfying meatless entrees and desserts too
Head to Toe Wellness: Whom would you say your book is geared towards?
Ellie Krieger: This book is for anyone who loves food and wants to eat well but finds it challenging to get a meal on the table with the typical evening time-crunch. It's for people with high standards ---those who want to eat real, fresh food without artificial ingredients and preservatives, but who don't have a lot of time to spend in the kitchen. Ummmm... come to think of it, that is just about everyone I know!
Head to Toe Wellness: Will these meals really only take 30 minutes to cook?!
Ellie Krieger: Yes! I tested each of them with a timer. And I am not talking about 30 minutes if you have a sous chef. My 30-minute time frame includes pre-heating the oven, boiling water and any chopping that needs to be done.
Head to Toe Wellness: What were some of the book’s biggest challenges?
Ellie Krieger: It's funny because I developed the first 75 or so recipes fairly quickly. Then I hit a wall. For a moment I was certain that no more healthy, delicious 30-minute meals existed! But I took a little time off and went to Farmer's markets to get inspired and before I knew it I tapped a glorious well of inspiration to give you 150 great recipes.
Head to Toe Wellness: What are you most proud of about the book?
Ellie Krieger: I am proud to be able to give folks solutions for their lives that can really help them and their families enjoy food in a healthier way day-to-day. I am also proud that I put in whatever it takes to be sure the recipes really work and live up to their promise.
Head to Toe Wellness: What is your favorite recipe in the book and why? Is it possible to share a recipe with our readers?
Ellie Krieger: OK, not a fair question because I really LOVE so many of them. But one I am especially excited to share is the Peach Chicken with Crispy Breadcrumbs *(see attached recipe and picture).
Head to Toe Wellness: What are some basic ingredients we should always have on hand to be able to whip up something in 30mins?
Ellie Krieger: Always have pre-washed greens on hand---like arugula and baby spinach. Also, quick-cooking whole grains like quinoa, whole grain pasta and instant brown rice. And from protein always have cans of no-salt-added beans in your cupboard and a bag of shrimp in the freezer.
Head to Toe Wellness: What are some of your food trend predictions for 2014?
Ellie Krieger: I think kale with continue to be popular but people will start to find new love for other "old world" vegetables like cauliflower and Brussels sprouts. I also think you will see even more pre-prepped produce options in the stores, like different kinds of greens, as well as grain blends.
Here is a sample recipe:
Peach Chicken with Crispy Bread Crumbs
This dish has the savory, crispy-coated appeal of breaded chicken cutlets, minus the messy, unhealthy frying and with the added bonus of a sweet peach topping. The chicken is dipped in a homemade Italian dressing, then coated in freshly toasted seasoned bread crumbs, topped with the peaches, and baked until delightfully browned and crisp but still lusciously moist from the fruit. Toss some asparagus with a little olive oil and salt and pop it in the oven for a few minutes before you put the chicken in for a roasted asparagus side, or try it with Asparagus “Pasta” (page 246) or Pan-Steamed Broccoli with Lemon, Garlic, and Parsley Gremolata (page 253).
Makes 4 Servings
4 large ripe fresh peaches or one 1-pound bag unsweetened frozen sliced peaches
4 pieces whole-wheat sandwich bread (1/4 pound)
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
¾ teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 cloves garlic
¼ cup olive oil
1/3 cup white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon onion powder
4 skinless boneless chicken breasts (about 6 ounces each)
Preheat the oven to 375’F.
If using fresh peaches, pit them and slice each on into 8 slices. Otherwise, thaw frozen peaches in the microwave or in a saucepan on the stove.
Place the bread in the bowl of a food processor and process until fine crumbs form. Place them in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat and cook, stirring frequently, until they are crisp and toasted, 3 to 4 minutes.
Combine the bread crumbs, sesame seeds, ½ teaspoon of the paprika, and ¼ teaspoon each of the salt and pepper in a shallow dish. Mince the garlic and place it in a small bowl along with the oil, vinegar, oregano, sugar, onion powder, and remaining ¼ teaspoon each paprika, salt and pepper. Whisk well to combine.
Spray a 9x 13-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Dip the chicken in the vinaigrette, then press it into the bread crumb mixture and place it in the baking dish. Sprinkle any remaining bread crumbs into the pan, on and around the chicken, then drizzle the remaining vinaigrette on top to moisten the crumbs.
Distribute the peaches evenly across the top of the chicken and drizzle with any accumulated peach juices. Bake until the chicken is cooked through and begins to brown, 12 to 13 minutes.
SERVING SIZE 1 chicken breas, ½ cup peaches, and ¼ cup additional crumb mixture
CALORIES 480; Total Fat 20g (Sat Fat 3g, Mono Fat 12.2g, Poly Fat 3.0g); Protein 42g; Carb 32g; Fiber 5g; Cholesterol 110mg; Sodium 620mg
EXCELLENT SOURCE OF Fiber, Magnesium, Manganese, Niacin, Pantothenic Acid, Phosphorus, Potassium, Protein, Selenium, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, Vitamin K
GOOD SOURCE OF Copper, Iron, Riboflavin, Thiamin, Vitamin A, Zinc
Reprinted with permission from the publisher, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, from Weeknight Wonders by Ellie Krieger. Photography by Quentin Bacon. Copyright 2013. All rights reserved.
To purchase a copy of Ellie’s new book visit - http://www.amazon.com/Weeknight-Wonders-Delicious-Healthy-Dinners/dp/1118409493
To learn more about Ellie - http://www.elliekrieger.com/