Tag Archives: 5 ingredients 10 minutes

5 for Friday: Make Ahead/Easy Cookbooks!


I’ve noticed that I’ve been on a kick on reading cookbooks that either have make-ahead recipes or those that utilize just a few ingredients and get food on the table FAST! You’d think I was feeding a big family, had a long commute or lots of extracurricular activities to attend to… but none of those are the case! Some days are just draining enough that even though I love to cook, I just don’t want to think. You know what I mean?

Here are a few of those cookbooks and my thoughts…


Make It Ahead
by Ina Garten 
(nonfiction, cookbook) – worth a flip


I loved that Ina admitted that she finds cooking for dinner parties exhausting and that making something ahead saves the day! That being said, the fish dishes seemed to speak to me the most – Her Herb-Roasted Fish is going on my next Trout Recipe of the Week list, while the Coquille St. Jacques recipe has been saved so I can make up those scallops I got from Aldi – yes ALDI! I’ve only made scallops once, probably about 10 years ago. I remember being surprised that they turned out really well! But that was the error before my blogging days, so I have no notes anywhere about what recipe I used.


Make Ahead Paleo
by Tammy Credicott 
(nonfiction, cookbook) – worth a flip

My first impression of this book was that it was laid out all wrong. I felt like the tips and tricks I read at the beginning would be forgotten soon after and would be better suited within a recipe so that they could actually be used. Also, I felt like the author was a bit condescending about health choices at first, too. But maybe that was just the mood I was in reading it at the time.

In any case, all of that was soon forgotten after reading the recipes! Some of them were a bit daunting with their ingredient lists and their efforts to make them Paleo, but overall Credicott stayed true to her word about make-ahead meals. In fact, some of her recipes and ideas were utterly genius. {Yes, they are genius if it’s something I never heard of before! 😉 }

After the initial explanation of what “should” and “should not” be in your your kitchen to make it Paleo, along with tips and tricks, the book is split into six parts:

  • Make & Freeze
  • Low & Slow
  • On the Go
  • Room Service
  • Travel Treats
  • Week in a Day

I feel like I’ve mostly mastered the Make & Freeze idea of make-ahead meals. {My freezer can attest to that!} And I have a bunch of tried and true slow cooker recipes that help me with Low & Slow. On the Go is great for busy families or – a road trip! Travel Treats are just what you’d expect, while the Week in a Day section offers what many other chefs and cookbooks are doing these days – a grocery list to prep meals on Sunday and throw together meals quickly all through the week.

However, I found the Room Service section to be the most ingenious! When I travel, I prefer to try the local cuisine, so you’d think that I would have skipped over this section entirely. But this section can be helpful for many different scenarios:

  • If you travel for work and are constantly eating at the same places – there are some ideas from breakfast, lunch AND dinner, here.
  • You are on a budget or are traveling with a family – eating one meal in the hotel or having a picnic will help you out!
  • You are getting up for an early day or a hike – make some eggs in the microwave! This will keep you from eating a sugary granola bar.

Endicott recommends that if you can’t reserve a hotel room with a kitchenette, requesting a room with a mini-fridge and microwave or even asking if small appliances such as an electric skillet are allowed in room will do you wonders!

Lastly, I found her Freezer Inventory sheet to be indispensable, especially with everything I have stored in mine right now! You can also download it on her blog. This is a list I’ve been meaning to make for a long time. Downloading this sheet (and having it separated into categories) has finally made me do it! I also try to use up those items that have been in my freezer longest first. It’s easier to do this and plan for this with a list on the outside rather than digging through that cold freezer!


Rocco’s 5-Minute Flavor
by Rocco DiSpirito (nonfiction, cookbook) – skip


I had high hopes… or maybe high expectations for this cookbook! Rocco’s one of those likable celebrity chefs. Reading through the introduction, he put a lot of heart into this book! However, there were a lot more pre-cooked/packaged ingredients suggested in these recipes than I would have liked. In addition, there was nothing really earth-shattering that I decided I’d like to even try to make. I will check out some of his other cookbooks, though, because I’m sure he can teach me something new. He’s the chef and I’m not! Maybe I was going through cookbook-reading-burnout?


Just Five Ingredients
by Ainsley Harriott (non-fiction, cookbook) – skip


This cookbook caught my eye by the name. I am unfamiliar with this British celebrity chef; but his recipes just weren’t my style. Some of the included ingredients I’d never use. That doesn’t mean that you won’t though.


Michael Symon’s 5 in 5
by Michael Symon (non-fiction, cookbook) – worth a read


Symon’s a chef Rob and I like to watch on TV. I haven’t seen him on The Chew because I’m never home during those hours; but I guess he has a Beat the Clock segment where he tries to whip up a meal in 5 minutes. Let’s get something straight here. When he says 5 ingredients he means ingredients you shouldn’t already have in your pantry and fridge like salt, pepper, oil, flour, butter, garlic… He takes some liberties there. But he also takes liberties with the 5 minutes – he’s talking 5 minutes of cooking. The time doesn’t include prep or boiling water or heating up your pan. That being said, these are still relatively simple-looking recipes!

I made one just this week: Pasta with Tomatoes and Olive Oil. We decided on it because we had all the ingredients and just returned from a long weekend in Green Bay. The recipe was delicious! But it said that it made 4 servings. With a whole pound of pasta, it was more like 8! Plus, Rob and I agreed that we’d like more sauce in the sauce to pasta ratio. While it was packed with so much flavor (San Marzano Tomatoes! 3 Tbsp of salt in the pasta water! 1 Tbsp of red chili flakes!), we decided to stick with our fave San Marzano Pasta.

We still are looking forward to trying some of the other recipes from this cookbook.



Okay, so those are the 5 Make-Ahead/Easy cookbooks of the week, but I need to include the one that still takes the cake for me:

5 Ingredients, 10 Minutes
by Jules Clancy (non-fiction, cookbook) – MUST READ

It just might be the best cookbook you’ve never read. Don’t be intimidated by the Australian measurements or some of the alternate names of ingredients. I’ve outlined the most important ones here.  But the recipes are very forgiving and you can approximate and swap out with her suggested variations at the end of every recipe!

When talking 5 ingredients, Jules means 5 ingredients except for salt, pepper, and your preferred cooking oil. When talking 10 minutes, Jules is talking how long it takes her to make from start to finish. You might take a bit longer. (Her recipes have taken me 7 minutes to 20 minutes, but probably averaging around 12.) But it’s still a quick meal, no?

Here’s the first recipe I made from it. I’m still making my way through the cookbook, but there is so much I want to try! I’m learning how to improvise more than I ever had in the past and throw things together in what feels like a blink of an eye compared to the normal amount of time I’d used to spend in the kitchen. Check out Jules Clancy’s blog The Stone Soup to download a free eCookbook or learn how to purchase 5 Ingredients, 10 Minutes.


What’s your favorite time-saving cooking trick?



Broccoli + Beans or Meat = Dinner Served


You can read about how I declared this the Best Cookbook You’ve Never Read <– here.

You can read about the first recipe I cooked from this cookbook here.

You can read about how I cooked tuna and salmon – {from a can!} – for the first time here.

You can read about how I made a stir-fry for some friends and made salads without dressing here.


But it was from this recipe out of 5 ingredients, 10 Minutes that I learned that if you have a bag of frozen broccoli and a half pound a meat or a can of beans, that you can have a dinner on the table any night of the week in just MINUTES…

Super Simple Broccoli with Almonds
Recipe Ingredients: broccoli, almonds, butter, lemon juice

I think this base recipe was originally meant to be a weeknight side dish. Here is a photo of the pic in the cookbook. Looks yummy, no?!

I was going to make this as a side to some burgers I whipped up for Rob and me one night. But as I’ve mentioned, Jules shares possible variations at the bottom of every recipe in her 5 ingredients, 10 Minutes cookbook.

Her variations help those with dietary restrictions and even the pickiest eaters among us whip up something delicious and healthy. I am not allergic to nuts. In fact, I love them as a nice added roasty crunch to a dish. However, when I read Jules’s nut-free variation of this dish, I knew I’d be making it as a meal for myself instead:

Nut-free: leave them out or replace with a small can of chickpeas

I adore chickpeas {Rob doesn’t} and knew this was going to make a wonderful lunch for me. And it was:

This dish may not sound nor look exciting to you; but the results are all in the preparation. That is why I wanted to provide you with a few notes on why/how this is such a fantastic, versatile dish:

Notes with my adaptations in blue:

  • The dish calls for one head broccoli. I took a bag of broccoli out of the freezer and thawed over night.
  • I cut the broccoli into smaller pieces than they came, cutting them into “little trees” as instructed and thinly slicing the stems. This helps the broccoli cook faster and those little bits will get such a nice char! {I also personally like smaller pieces of broccoli, that this sounds like an obvious step I should have been doing anyway.}
  • I also liked Jules’s tip to get the pan on the heat before you chop the broccoli to get it nice and hot.
  • The variation suggested a small can of chickpeas. I’ve never heard of such a thing, so I just drained and rinsed a whole can and dumped them in, creating a more substantial lunch.
  • Even with my chickpea/garbanzo bean substitute, I did add a few crushed almonds. They did seem to get a little bit soft in the pan. I think if I made this dish with nuts, I’d add them at the end next time.
  • I generously seasoned this dish while cooking and after it was finished. I also added a little extra drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. I don’t think adding garlic, red pepper flakes, nor shredded parmesan would hurt either!
  • You can find this recipe in Jules Clancy’s cookbook 5 ingredients, 10 Minutes or her blog The Stone Soup {sans almonds, but the technique is there.}
  • This dish took me 12 minutes to make, including chopping.
  • I’d make 800 variations of this again! Here’s why:

While Jules lists 5 different suggested variations at the bottom of this recipe, the final one reads:

More substantial: toss in a drained can of chickpeas or serve with some hummus. {Okay, so I realize now that I didn’t get the idea to use a whole can of chickpeas to make it more substantial by myself.} Or toss with hot pasta and your best quality extra virgin olive oil. Or add a drained can of tuna in oil, allow to warm through and serve with a wedge of lemon. Or team with a fried egg.

You see? All you need is a head of broccoli (or a bag reserved in your freezer) and either a can of beans / can of tuna or salmon / egg / scoop of hummus / box of pasta / pre-cooked protein such as diced chicken and you’ve got dinner on the table in minutes. I’m sure you could cook up some ground beef or turkey and mix it in, too.

The possibilities are endless.

Do you have a go-to formula to get something on the table quick based on ingredients in your fridge-freezer-pantry? If so, please share!


Cooking with Canned Tuna & Salmon! (From the Best Cookbook.)


You can read about how I declared this the Best Cookbook You’ve Never Read <– here.

You can read about the first recipe I cooked from this cookbook here.

A few things to note:

You know what I find liberating? That just by reading all of the suggested variations Jules shares at the end of each recipe in her cookbook 5 Ingredients, 10 Minutes is that she’s given me the confidence to come up with my own.

It wasn’t until recently that I’d tweak a recipe rather than follow it to the letter. I’m always worried that something won’t turn out. But the more you try different combinations and learn what you like, the more you’ll get a feel for what you think will taste good.

So I think that this might be the best cookbook you’ve never read…

Not only because:

  • Each recipe is only 5 ingredients or less (save salt, pepper and EVOO)
  • The ingredients are real food, not pre-packaged ones like cream of mushroom soup or onion soup mix, for example (which generally contain lots of additives!)
  • The recipes take about 10 minutes to cook/pull-together

But also because:

  • The cookbook will end up teaching you how to cook by helping you learn how to throw ingredients together that you already have!


These next two recipes from Jules Clancy’s 5 Ingredients, 10 Minutes I cooked just so happened to use canned fish. I’ve never cooked with either before! It’s time to get away from plain ‘ol tuna salad.


Noodles with Tuna and Tomato

Here are my notes, with what I changed in blue:

  • My friend had an overabundance of cherry tomatoes, so she gave a bunch to me knowing how much I love them.
  • Wait… What?! I can throw tuna from a can in a pan? Seriously? Why didn’t I think of this?
  • My tuna didn’t come packed in oil, so I just drizzled some olive oil in the pan before cooking.
  • This also sounded like a Mediterranean-style dish, so I chopped a couple of garlic cloves and sauteed that for a minute or so in the olive oil before adding everything else.
  • I didn’t have any parsley and felt like it needed a little green, so I chopped up just a bit of kale and sauteed it in the mix.
  • I think this would be lovely with some green onions, too.
  • I was very generous on the S&P.
  • I thought about adding red pepper flakes at the end, but forgot.
  • I didn’t have an 2-minute/ramen noodles, so I made up my own variation with pre-cooked rice from my freezer! See:
  • You can find this recipe in Jules Clancy’s cookbook 5 Ingredients, 10 minutes, or a similar recipe on her website, The Stone Soup.
  • I didn’t write down how long this took me, but throwing everything into a pan until heated sounds like no time at all!
  • Will make again.


Salmon with Courgettes & Brown Rice

Here are my notes:

  • Just a refresher: courgettes = zucchini
  • To be quite honest, now that I write this, this recipe is quite similar to the one above, just changing out the ingredients – I’m learning!
  • Don’t get caught up with the sizes/amounts that are called for in the cookbook. This isn’t baking and these recipes are very forgiving. For example, my can of salmon was 170g, not the 200g called for in the recipe. And I have no idea how much 360g cooked rice is and didn’t take the time to look it up. I just pulled some pre-cooked rice from my freezer. {I always make a big batch and freeze it in smaller servings for later!}
  • With this recipe, I also sauteed some garlic in the olive oil to start, just for some extra flavor. And because I LOVE GARLIC!
  • I topped this dish with chopped green onions because you can never have enough green onions. Amiright?!
  • This recipe took me 10 minutes.
  • Will make again.


Have you cooked canned tuna or salmon before?
If so, what is your favorite recipe?


The First Recipe (from the best cookbook!)


I’ve now made a few recipes from the Best Cookbook You’ve Never Read. I do – for the first time ever with a cookbook – intend to make every single one, à la Julie and Julia. Well, kind of… I figure if I do about 3 per week, I should be able to get through this book in about a year. Think of all of the experience throwing healthy ingredients together to make a satisfying meal I’ll have under my belt by then!

A few things to note:

Jules points out that in her book 5 Ingredients, 10 Minutes that the five ingredients do not include things you should already have in your pantry like salt pepper and olive (or other cooking) oil. Also, these recipes take her about 10 minutes. While it may take the novice cook a bit longer, she does offer tips and tricks to cut down on the timing. And really, as long as a recipe takes me 30 minutes or less and doesn’t feel complicated on those nights that I don’t want to think, but I still want to eat something healthy and satisfying, it’s a win for me!

Oh! One more thing I never did mention on why this might be one of the best cookbooks is that almost all of the recipes serve just two people. In my book, that’s a win because it’s so hard to get my husband to eat leftovers. No more repeat dinners or extra lunches in the freezer! {I do enjoy having those leftovers for myself; but we’ve kind of met the max on the freezer right now.} Plus, if I’m making a chicken or fish dish, I will only have one leftover serving for myself rather than 3 or 5. For those of you with families, feel free to double these recipes. They’ll still be easy!

Lastly, I’ve been taking notes on each recipe page to remember what I did, how long the recipe took me to make, how I changed things up, or what I’d like to try next time. I’m including those in my summaries.

Now on to the very first recipe I tried from Jules Clancy’s 5 Ingredients, 10 Minutes


Broccoli and Green Curry Soup

My first recipe was a winner! I didn’t get any photos of it because this is before I decided to make all the recipes and document them on this blog. I made this for lunch for Rob and me and was going to combine it with the Super Simple Sang Choi Boa, also in the cookbook. That part didn’t happen, but I’m so glad it didn’t, because who knew a broccoli soup could be so filling on its own!

Here are my notes:

  • There are only 4 ingredients in this recipe!
  • I used a bag of frozen broccoli from Costco – worked just fine.
  • I love green curry, but I wasn’t sure if my husband had before, so I erred on the side of caution and used 3Tbsp green curry paste. I’d use at least 4 Tbsp next time!
  • I forgot to add the green curry paste when instructed, so I added it later and it still turned out just fine.
  • I used the rest of my leftover can of coconut milk with some leftover farro and fruit for breakfast the next few mornings!
  • My husband thought this soup was very filling, too. He liked it, but didn’t love it. I guess I’m much more of a green curry fan.
  • I like a bit of heat, so add some red pepper flakes if you do or a squeeze of Sriracha like I did!
  • This recipe took me 12 minutes.
  • Will make again.
  • You can find this recipe in Jules’s free e-Cookbook on her blog The Stone Soup! It is the first recipe in the book and here is it called Addictive Green Curry of Broccoli Soup.
  • P.S. Remember when I didn’t like broccoli? LOL!



I promise to have photos of my next several results! Okay, writing this made me want to make this soup again… plus the weather is getting colder…

Do you have a favorite easy soup recipe?


The Best Cookbook You’ve Never Read


I have absolutely know idea how I came across Jules Clancy’s blog The Stone SoupWhen I did, I wasn’t reading it regularly; but suddenly something clicked!

I may or may not have mentioned that over the past year I’ve been checking out one cookbook from the library per week in an attempt to cook more and learn how to cook better. But I also know that when I’m really busy working, the last thing I want to do is think about what to make and spend the time in the kitchen concentrating on making something new, with the risk of it not being a winner.

I do like to try new recipes and styles of cooking. When I have the time and the energy, it is a fun thing to do! But other times, I want something quick, tasty and healthy. I want something that requires minimal effort, but is still satisfying. Is that too much to ask?!

Enter the cookbook:

Every single recipe in this cookbook offers variations, so this one is for everyone. 

~ Vegetarian or Vegan? She’s got you covered with substitutes.
~ Carnivore or Paleo? She suggest add-ins for those vegetarian dishes!
~ Dairy-free? You’ll get some great ideas for what works best in each recipe.
~ Don’t like or have an ingredient? Perfect swaps are suggested!

While I’ve been perusing cookbooks from my local library before I make the decision to buy, my library did not have Clancy’s cookbook on hand. So I bought it out right.

How do I  know that you’ve probably never heard of this cookbook?

It only has 39 ratings on Good Reads! Also, it was published in Australia and Great Britain. At first glance, you might look through it and put the book back down when you see measurements in grams and milliliters instead of our U.S. measurements. But don’t let that deter you! The conversions are simple and the recipes are forgiving.

Obviously, you can easily look these up on your own; but these are the basic, most used measurements and items you will need to know to use the book:

  • 500 g of meat = approximately 1 lb
  • 400 g can of diced tomatoes, etc. = standard U.S. 14.5 oz can
  • 180 g cooked rice = approximately 1 cup
  • courgettes = zucchini
  • aubergine = eggplant
  • coriander = cilantro

So put it on a post-it in the front of the book and forget about it!

How can I claim that this cookbook just might be THE BEST?

When I started reading it, I found that I had thumbed through a few quite a few pages and noticed that there was not one recipe that I would not makeI couldn’t believe it. Jules {can I call you Jules, now?!} notes variations at the end of each recipe that I couldn’t find an excuse not to make each one. That is, until I got to a recipe that called for tofu. I knew I wouldn’t be making that Japanese Kettle Soup… that is until I read the variations at the bottom!

It’s now on my list! I suddenly realized that I didn’t need to flag each recipe that I might make someday. I was willing to make them all! Instead I flagged recipes that I had the ingredients that I could make now.

You know the story of Julie and Julia? Well, I’ve never seen the movie nor read the book, but I understand that the protagonist attempts to make all of the recipes from Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking. While that sounds incredibly daunting to me, I think I can do this with Jules Clancy’s 5 Ingredients, 10 Minutes.

I’ll be making notes of my variations and posting on the blog my findings! I was intending to do the first few in this post, but it’s getting rather long… so we’ll save that for the next one. In the meantime, you can check out The Stone Soup blog to view the recipes and tips Jules has posted there and sign up for a free e-cookbook.

If you want to join me, here are a few links to where you may able to find 5 Ingredients, 10 Minutes:


What’s the best cookbook you’ve read?