I had an epiphany one day while working on my latest book. My last book, Just a Bunch of Recipes, was based on simple stuff: simple ingredients, simple steps, simple whatever – that was it. So if this book was going to be about shortcuts, it needed to be even more simple, right? Right. So one evening I share this idea with my wife, Kelly, and she totally disagrees. “If you do that,” she said, “it’ll just be a bunch of recipes using a can of mushroom soup, and that’ll be gross.” Wow, can’t you just feel her anger? Why you hatin’ on the mushroom soup, Kelly? So of course I do the same thing I always do when we have a moment like this: I put my hands over my ears and scream, “I can’t hear you, I can’t hear you!!”
But I’ve pretty much made a career out of showing people they can eat well without it taking forever – hassle-free, simple recipes with only a few ingredients. And the simpler the better, it seems, because no matter where I go, people always mention the easy shortcuts that have really changed the way they cook (and eat). Whether it’s using a deli-roasted chicken for a fake pulled-pork sandwich, combining previously frozen pasta with sour cream and chili sauce for a really quick dinner or busting out a tub of premade pesto for about a jillion things – hopefully it’ll get people cooking.
Here are three of our favorite quick and simple family recipes from Sam the Cooking Guy.
This is a shortcut on the basic pulled pork sandwich, which, as it turns out, isn’t so basic because it takes many hours of cooking. And whatever you do-do NOT leave out the onion rings.
Here’s why you want extra mashed potatoes. This is another dopey-sounding recipe, but it’s not. Well, it is dopey-sounding, but it’s really good. [Yeah, we thought it was dopey too until our photo editor tried it and loved it.]
I’m convinced the title “The Most Important Meal of the Day” was bestowed upon breakfast by a man, and no, I’m not being sexist. It’s just that if there’s one meal a man can make – it’s this one. Once you learn the key, you can stuff bread with anything:
Recipes from Sam the Cooking Guy: Awesome Recipes and Kitchen Shortcuts by Sam Zien. Copyright © 2010 by the author and reprinted by permission of John Wiley & Sons, Inc.