Cookbook Love: Weeknights with Giada

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Weeknights with Giada
Quick and simple recipes to revamp dinner

Giada De Laurentiis and I have a couple of things in common: we both have daughters the same age and from the tagline of her new cookbook (see above), we both enjoy making recipes that are quick. I no longer have the time to spend hours in the kitchen making complicated dishes, even when I’d like to, because I have a dear 4-year old daughter pulling at my apron, articles to write and a business to run. Nowadays it’s all about easy, while not compromising on flavor, which is what Giada has done in her latest cookbook.

In her introduction, Giada says that being in her kitchen is where she feels most at home. She goes on to say that she could spend hours at a local market and then cooking a three-course meal for dinner, but now there’s something she enjoys even more: her 4-year old daughter. Which is why she created these quick and simple recipes.

The chapters in the book are organized into types of food:

  • soups & salads
  • bruschettas
  • sandwiches & pizzas
  • pasta & grains
  • meat, poultry & fish
  • change of pace
  • breakfast for dinner (can’t wait to make the peach and cherry frittata)
  • veggies & sides
  • desserts


If you’re a busy person (and who isn’t?), you’ll love some of these recipes:

  • Asian quinoa with salmon
  • Potato, orange and arugula salad
  • Fig and brie panini
  • Chicken meuniere with tomato and parsley sauce
  • Sweet corn and basil lasagna
  • Halibut kebabs with garlic butter
  • Wagon wheel pasta with panetta and peas
She even offers some ideas for breakfast for dinner, which we’ve certainly done around here.

Last night I made this and it was a hit:

Balsamic-glazed salmon

This salmon with balsamic glaze is so easy to make—and so flavorful.

3/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons of maple syrup
1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, minced
Vegetable spray
4 (6-ounce) salmon fillets, skinned
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 teaspoon of kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly-ground pepper

Place oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Farenheit.

In a small saucepan, bring the vinegar, maple syrup, mustard and garlic to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat and simmer until thick, about 12 minutes. Set aside to cool for 5 minutes.

Spray a small baking sheet with vegetables oil. Arrange the salmon fillets in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Drizzle both sides of the salmon with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 8 to 10 minutes, until the flesh flakes easily when prodded with a fork.

Transfer the salmon to plates and drizzle with the glaze.

I served the salmon with:

Carrot and yam puree
From Weeknights with Giada (I like spice so I added in crushed chili pepper)

1/3 cup olive oil
1 large onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 pounds of carrots, peeled and sliced thinly
2 pounds of yams, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch pieces
Kosher salt + freshly ground pepper, to taste
Pinch of crushed chili pepper
4 cups of chicken stock

In a saucepan or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, until aromatic. Add the carrots, yams, salt and pepper, to taste and a pinch of crushed chili pepper.

Cook for 5 minutes, until slightly softened. Pour in the stock and 1/2 cup of water, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 25 minutes.

Using a ladle, remove 2 cups of the cooking liquid and reserve. Using an immersion blender, puree the mixture until slightly chunky, adding the reserved liquid., 1/4 cup at a time, if needed. Season with salt + pepper.


Read more about Weeknights with Giada on Amazon:

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