Side Dish: Book offers quick weekend meals

BY CHERAMIE SONNIER

Southern Living What’s for Supper Six o’Clock Solutions: 30-Minute Meal Plans for Delicious Weeknight Meals”

by Vanessa McNeil Rocchio.

Oxmoor House, $19.95.

256-page paperback.

Vanessa McNeil Rocchio has a solution for those busy parents and home cooks who stress over preparing a home-cooked dinner at the end of a busy day.

The Southern Living Test Kitchens contributing editor offers quick family-friendly and company-worthy recipes in her second book in the “What’s for Supper” franchise.

The book, “Southern Living What’s for Supper Six o’Clock Solutions: 30-Minute Meal Plans for Delicious Weeknight Meals,” provides checklists for essential pantry ingredients and weekly menu plans for fast and easy dinners. There are also special recipes to welcome guests on busy weeknights, simple sides and quick-fix desserts.

Each recipe includes a grocery list and all have been tested in the Southern Living Test Kitchen. But, what’s missing is a nutritional breakdown — a feature those on special diets would welcome.

Rocchio offers well-seasoned recipes sure to appeal to Louisiana palates, such as Dirty Rice, Quick Crawfish Étouffée and Cajun Shrimp Casserole. Other recipes include Grilled Flank Steak Fajitas, Lemon Pork Chops With Quinoa Salad, Skillet Chicken Pot Pie, Blueberry Fields Salad, Key Lime Pie and Fettuccine-and-Asparagus al Burro, which she says is a more authentic version of the popular Alfredo.

The book is attractively illustrated with plenty of full-color photographs.

As might be expected, the author takes advantage of many convenience products in order to make the recipes meet the 30-minute criteria.

While some might quibble with that, many harried cooks will love a good guide that helps answer the question “What’s for supper?”

Cheramie Sonnier is The Advocate’s Food editor. Her email address is csonnier@theadvocate.com. Taco Salad

Serves 6. Recipe is from “What’s for Supper Six o’Clock Solutions: 30-Minute Meal Plans for Delicious Weeknight Meals” by Vanessa McNeil Rocchio, who says the dish takes about 25 minutes from start to finish.

211/2 lbs. lean ground beef

1 (16-oz.) jar medium salsa

1 (16-oz.) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed

2 tbls. taco seasoning mix

2 avocados

1/2 cup sour cream

2 tbls. fresh cilantro

Bite-size tortilla chips

3 cups shredded lettuce (about 1/2 head)

Toppings: chopped tomato, finely chopped red onion, shredded cheese

21. Brown ground beef in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, stirring often, 5 to 8 minutes until meat crumbles and is no longer pink. Drain and return to skillet. Stir in salsa, beans and taco seasoning; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes.

2. Peel and mash avocados; stir in sour cream and cilantro.

3. Place desired amount of tortilla chips on a serving platter, and top with shredded lettuce and beef mixture. Serve with avocado mixture and desired toppings.