Weeknight recipes you can count on

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“ What’s for Supper: 5-Ingredient Weeknight Meals” by Vanessa McNeil Rocchio

Oxmoor House, $19.95

256-page paperback

A quick perusal of the latest Southern Living cookbook, “What’s for Supper: 5-Ingredient Weeknight Meals,” might leave the casual reader confused.

Many of its recipes list more than five ingredients, sometimes twice as many. So, what gives?

Contributing editor Vanessa McNeil Rocchio, a more than 20-year veteran of the Southern Living Test Kitchen, doesn’t count the basic ingredients she says you should always keep stocked in your pantry and refrigerator to be able to quickly make the book’s recipes.

It’s not unusual for editors and writers to ignore salt, pepper and water in a recipe’s ingredient count, but Rocchio also doesn’t count oils, vinegars, granulated and brown sugar, Worcestershire and soy sauces, flour, baking soda, baking powder, mayonnaise, yellow mustard, ketchup, honey and butter.

Still, even the recipes with more than five ingredients will take less than 30 minutes to get on the table, she says. That, of course, is if one can pick up all the needed ingredients at one store on the way home from work.

I went to four grocery stores before finding a package of seasoned corn and black bean mix (Pictsweet at Albertson’s) needed to make Chicken Tortilla Soup.

If I had not been testing the recipe, I would have made an ingredient swap, which Rocchio sometimes suggests in her “From My Kitchen” tips.

She also includes Budget Special tips and plenty of attractive full-color photographs of completed dishes.

Recipes are divided into seven chapters, including Hot Off the Grill, No-Cook Suppers and 3-Ingredient Desserts. Among the recipes are BBQ Bacon Burgers; Wild Mushroom and Butternut Squash Pizza; Asian Calamari and Citrus Salad; Tortellini Tomato Soup; Spaghetti With Mushroom-White Bean Ragout; Sloppy Joe Biscuit Pie; and Cookies-and-Cream Ice-Cream Sandwich Pie. For a family with somewhat adventuresome eaters, this book offers good ideas for cooking healthful, quick weeknight meals.

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

Advocate-tested recipe

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Serves 8. Recipe is from “Southern Living What’s for Supper: 5-Ingredient Weeknight Meals” by Vanessa McNeil Rocchio.

23 cups shredded deli-roasted chicken

2 (4.5-oz.) cans chopped green chilies

1 (32-oz.) pkg. chicken broth

1 (12-oz.) pkg. frozen seasoned corn and black beans, thawed (see editor’s note)

3 cups tortilla chips, coarsely crushed

Chopped avocado and tomatoes, for garnish, optional

31. Combine chicken, chilies, broth, and corn and black bean mix in a Dutch oven. Cook over medium heat 10 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

2. Ladle soup into serving bowls. Top with chips. If desired, garnish with3 chopped avocado and tomatoes.

From my kitchen: Stir in hominy for extra flavor. Top the soup with chopped fresh cilantro for added color and flavor.

E ditor’s note: For testing, I used a 12-ounce bag of Pictsweet brand seasoned corn and black beans which I found at Albertson’s.