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'Real Mom Kitchen: Keepin' it real in the Kitchen:' A cookbook for real moms with little time

By Shanell Dunn

For the Deseret News

Published: Tuesday, Oct. 25 2011 3:49 p.m. MDT

"REAL MOM KITCHEN: Keepin' it Real in the Kitchen," by Laura Powell, Cedar Fort, $16.99, 160 pages

Laura Powell, a mother of three, created a blog in 2008 to share some of her favorite recipes with other busy moms. Now she has her own website at realmomkitchen.com.

This year she’s compiled more than 150 recipes in a book titled "Real Mom Kitchen: Keepin’ it Real in the Kitchen" (Cedar Fort, $16.99). The question is do these recipes really help busy moms keep it real and what does that truly mean?

The book shares real experiences from a mother with a busy schedule.

The recipes contain ingredients you’d see in your own pantry. Some don’t always have time to make homemade pasta sauce or use homegrown green beans, so Powell has put together some “real,” simple recipes to cut down on time spent in the kitchen allowing for more time to be a “real mom."

"Keepin’ it Real in the Kitchen" is organized for moms on the go with practices, school, games, or grocery shopping. No more time recipe searching.

There are six categories included in the table of contents with a wide variety of recipes: easy to prepare appetizers and sides, breads, soups and salads, simple main dishes, and of course delicious and easy desserts.

Although there are a variety of recipes to try, Powell helps the reader explore new recipes they might not have ever thought of. She uses leftovers to create a brand new masterpiece.

Due to the large amount of recipes included in the book there aren’t as many photos. This might be a hindrance to those who like to look at a picture and try to create it. Sure the recipe is there, but a picture could make all the difference.

If one is looking for the unprocessed, homegrown, whole grain stuff, he or she might want to look at another cookbook; these recipes aren’t always the healthiest. But if one is looking for what’s most convenient, handy, and delicious (without choosing the fast food route), this is the book.

Don’t be surprised to see the recipes call for a can of pasta sauce, or a block of Velveeta cheese. Kids will love it of course, but is it the most beneficial in the long run? You can decide that.

So, bottom line, if you’re a busy mom with little time on your hands who wants to save a little time in the kitchen, give "Real Mom Kitchen, Keepin’ it Real in the Kitchen" a chance. Go spend more time with the kids, cook them something easy, then sit down and enjoy it with them.

Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup

Base:

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1 teaspoon celery salt

1 onion, chopped

2 quarts water

½ teaspoon poultry seasoning

2 large carrots, sliced

1 teaspoon onion salt

2 celery sticks, sliced

2 teaspoons salt

2 cups noodles, uncooked

Cream Sauce:

¾ cup butter

1 cup flour

4 cups milk

Salt and pepper to taste

To make the base:

  1. In a stockpot, boil base ingredients except noodles for one hour
  2. When chicken is tender, remove from broth, cut into 1-inch pieces, and set aside. If the liquid has reduced too much, you can add some more water at this point
  3. Add two cups of uncooked noodles and continue to boil for 20 minutes. Make the cream sauce while this cooks

To make the cream sauce:

  1. Melt butter in large saucepan
  2. Whisk in flour, stirring constantly
  3. Gradually add milk, stirring constantly until thickened
  4. Add salt and pepper

Add cream sauce to base mixture. If the soup is too thin after adding the cream mixture, continue cooking until it reached desired thickness.

Note: Once your cream sauce has thickened, do not allow it to reach a boil because it may separate. Also if cream sauce has a strong white sauce flavor, add ½-1 teaspoon lemon juice.

Serves 6-8

— "Real Mom Kitchen: Keepin' it Real in the Kitchen," by Laura Powell

Red and White Baked Pasta

4 cups penne pasta

1 (15 ounce) jar Alfredo sauce

1 (24 ounce) jar marinara sauce

2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded

1 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Cook and drain pasta according to package directions
  3. In a large bowl, combine the two sauces and cheese. Stir until well combined
  4. Mix in the cooked pasta and place mixture into a 9-by-13 baking dish
  5. Bake uncovered for 20-25 minutes until bubbly
  6. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and bake for another five minutes

Serves 6-8.

— "Real Mom Kitchen: Keepin' it Real in the Kitchen," by Laura Powell