Sunday Supper: cooking big with One-Dish Dinners

I received a free copy of Perfect One-Dish Dinners; All You Need for Easy Get-Togethers a few weeks ago and took it for a spin. Recipes are sized up to serve 6 to 12 hungry eaters so they are great not only for a weekend dinner party but also if you and your partner can do “one big cook” and get ahead for the rest of the week.

Each dinner recipe includes a suggested side dish and dessert. Like a friend, Anderson gives helpful suggestions about shortcuts and steps that can be done in advance. I don’t know how to explain this without sounding cheesy here, but I found her tips refreshing and helpful.

This week, Rookie Dad Alec and I tried a couple different dinner recipes from the One-Dish Dinners cookbook in the hopes that I would be able to share one positive experience with you. Both were so good that I wasn’t sure which one to talk about.

The Quick, Creamy Lasagna was simple (for lasagna!) and so delicious that everyone had seconds (or thirds). Alec prepared it one day in about 30 minutes and I baked it the next (for about 45 minutes). To make this meal more practical for rookie parents, I suggest preparing the lasagna during nap or after bedtime, and pulling it back out an hour before dinner. We made the accompanying salad from the arugula in our garden (now I’m just bragging). I think even Whitney would like it.

The Spicy Coconut Shrimp Stew was quick and easy. In fact, the long pole (as we geeks like to say) was the sticky rice. Anderson’s instructions and my husband’s skills in the rice-making department made sure that our rice was perfect. The shrimp was delicious despite my one major error (use thawed shrimp, not frozen, people!). And the recipe was fast enough for a weeknight (as long as you start the rice before playing the two episodes of Curious George).

I made a list of all the meals I still want to try from this cookbook. Next up: One-Pot Penne with Spinach-Feta Balls. If we can clear off the dining room table from toys, crumbs, and art projects, we may try to use this book for its intended purpose of improving our social life. If not, we’ll keep using it happily for cooking large.

Related Rookie Mom Activities:

Disclosure and a second opinion: I was given a copy of this book when I volunteered at La Petite Soiree (a BlogHer Food party) a few weeks ago. In a virtual dinner party of sorts, you can read what some other (real) food bloggers experienced with their Sunday Suppers not at my house: