My cookbook of choice for April was Skinnytaste Fast and Slow: Knockout Quick-Fix and Slow Cooker Recipes by Gina Homolka. This recipe collection perfectly fit the 2018 cookbook challenge guidelines by being a book that has sat largely untouched on my shelf for months. I love the original Skinnytaste cookbook, but for whatever reason I never became that interested in trying many recipes from Homolka’s follow-up book. Thanks to this challenge, though, I’ve quickly discovered some “keepers” from Fast and Slow, and now I know that this is a cookbook to keep.
In order of ranking, here are the four recipes I tried from Skinnytaste Fast and Slow during the month of April:
1. Greek Chicken Sheet Pan Dinner – p. 158 – 4.5 stars
One-pot and one-pan recipes always receive a second glance from me, so I was excited when John seconded my interest in this recipe while looking through the cookbook. We love Mediterranean food, so we both found this recipe particularly interesting. I was a little nervous about the amount of lemon that is called for (1 sliced lemon, 1 juiced lemon, and 1 TB of lemon zest), as neither of us love a strong lemon flavor, so I omitted the lemon zest. I’m glad that I did, because the balance of flavors was perfect.
This came together quickly – perfect for a weeknight dinner. I used regular carrots, halved, as heirloom carrots are not to be found at our grocery store. I also subbed out dried oregano for fresh (and reduced the amount called for), as apparently there was a run on fresh oregano the day that John went grocery shopping.
The recipes says it serves four, but between John, James, and myself, we about finished the entire recipe. Only a few carrots remained on the sheet pan when we all finally called it quits. Not only is this a “keeper,” I’m already planning on which night to cook it again.
2. Burnt Broccoli – p. 255 – 4 stars
On the same night that I prepared the Greek Chicken Sheet Pan Dinner, I also made this side dish in order to add a little green to our dinner plates. Roasted broccoli is a staple in our house, but the addition of the whole garlic cloves and the trick of broiling the broccoli for two minutes at the end of its baking time elevated this particular roasted broccoli recipe to another level.
Peeling the six garlic cloves did add to the prep time for this, but it was worth it. Again, this was a recipe that serves four, but a couple of broccoli spears was all that we put in the fridge for leftovers at the end of the meal.
3. Brussels Sprout Hash with Bacon and Eggs – p. 26 – 4 stars
This recipe is filed under “Healthy Mornings” in the cookbook, but Homolka notes that it’s delicious any time of the day. I made it for dinner and served Baked Sweet Plantains (see below) and toast with jam on the side.
I loved, loved this hash. Brussels sprouts are one of my favorite green veggies, and I’m always on the hunt for new ways to prepare them. The bacon and shallots added a lot of flavor, and the sprouts ended up soft without being mushy – perfect. Each serving of the hash is topped with a fried egg, which I cooked until the yolk was firm. Runny yolks gross me out.
This hash also would be delicious without the egg, served on the side of a main. This is yet another “keeper.”
4. Baked Sweet Plantains with Cheese – p. 259 – 2.5 stars
The one disappointment from the cookbook were these plantains, but it’s likely due to the fact that my plantain was still green (and therefore lacked sweetness) when I made this recipe. I had left the plantain on my counter to ripen for over a week, but it remained as green as ever. I wanted to make this fourth recipe by the end of the month, though, so I decided to just see how the recipe would turn out with a green rather than a ripened yellow plantain.
As expected, there was no “sweet” to the baked plantain slices. The additions of grated mozzarella and chopped cilantro at the end were tasty, however.
John enjoyed these more than I did, but I haven’t given up on the recipe just yet. I have a second green plantain still sitting on my counter, so once it finally ripens, I’ll give this recipe a do-over.
I have yet to decide which cookbook I’ll cook from during May, but stay tuned!