If I had the chops to write a cookbook, this is exactly the one I’d want to write. It has chapters for one-handed meals (that you can eat with one hand, sadly not cook with one hand), slow cooker dinners, best foods for breastfeeding, and tricks for spreading out the prep among various nap segments. Yes!!!
When I sent out my plea for help getting dinner on the table last fall, the author Debbie Koenig got in touch and sent me an almost-complete version of Parents Need to Eat Too: Nap-Friendly Recipes, One-Handed Meals, and Time-Saving Kitchen Tricks for New Parents. I put it by the side of my bed and read through it like a novel. It turns out that Debbie has a great sense of humor and also doesn’t like cilantro. Unfortunately, reading about her dinner strategies still wasn’t preparing my dinner.
Last week, I put the book through its paces with my merry band of picky eaters. We made a whole bunch of recipes and are eager to try some more. Here are a few highlights:
- Black beans. Turns out it is stoopid easy to make black beans from scratch. I had no idea. Five minutes of prep and about two hours of oven time. Tasty. I used this huge batch for my own dinners and breakfasts for days! Holden declared them, “good enough for firsts, but not seconds.”
- Southwestern polenta lasagna. Delicious and pretty. Had some for company. Very quick to throw together (once I had cooked the beans for two hours!).
- Angel hair pasta with garlic and lemon-parm breadcrumbs. Alec made this one for us. Since the meal comes together quickly, setting up little bowls of ingredients is highly recommended. Adults said, “YUM” and kids said, “meh.”
- Barbecued brisket. Insanely easy and delicious. I had the last of the leftovers for lunch. Kids also loved it.
- Baked falafel. I’m not sure what went wrong here but this was not our favorite of the bunch. I rated it pretty good; Alec thought it was too mushy but good flavor; Holden said it was too spicy; Milo just pushed it around and ate hummus and pita. I got 12 balls out of the recipe rather than the projected 24 so the results could have been user error. Oh well.
We were overall very happy with this book and I highly recommend it. In fact, I like the book so much I asked Debbie to send me a finished version. It is ready for everyone now.
Debbie Koenig is a Brooklyn-based food writer and the author of Parents Need to Eat Too: Nap-Friendly Recipes, One-Handed Meals & Time-Saving Kitchen Tricks for New Parents, inspired by her own inability to cook anything more complicated than pasta with jarred sauce after the birth of her son. She writes the blog Words to Eat By and a column on babycenter.
Debbie sent me her book as a great kindness. And another one when I said to her, “Wah wah! Debbie, how can I find recipes when my review copy doesn’t have page numbers or an index?” Nice, huh?