Thursday, November 06, 2008

Thursday Cookbook Series -- Cooking for Two

My apologies for the poor photo. I've mentioned that I'm not much of a photographer, haven't I?

This week I am featuring two books that I use frequently (or used to), but that you'd be hard pressed to find on a bookstore shelf. The first is Betty Crocker's Dinner for Two Cookbook, Copyright 1973. My mother gave it to me when I moved into an apartment back in college. It was probably a wedding gift or early-marriage purchase for her and my father. Given the vintage, it should be no surprise that it doesn't reference a microwave, or chipotle, or "low-carb", or any other modern cooking terms. And yet, before needing to feed two voracious toddlers, I used it constantly. The book has hundreds of recipes in categories like Everyday Favorites, More Dimes than Dollars, Planning Ahead (with main meals and leftover meals paired up), and When Minutes Matter (with few pre-packaged ingredients!).

Sometime in college or just after, I bought an updated book, called Betty Crocker's New Choices for Two (copyright 1995). This book has a lot fewer recipes, but all have much healthier profiles than many in the 1973 book. The newer diet fads--trans fats, and low-carb, etc,--are obviously not covered. But there are heart-healthy options, and low-fat options in every category. Some of my favorites have been the Oven Crisp Chicken (using wheat cracker crumbs in the topping), Easy Pepper-Jelly Chicken, and Cinnamon-Orange Breakfast Puffs (whichs makes 4-5 muffins...perfect for 2).

Flipping through these books is making me a little bit nostalgic this morning. Now that we're feeding four at every meal, I don't often reach for these for inspiration. The recipes and ideas remind me of the early years of my marriage, when it was a struggle to put decent meals on the table for 2 without wasting tons of food or resorting to restaurants.

And now, I feel old for using the phrase "early years of my marriage"...

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