The Stocked Kitchen: One Grocery List…Endless Recipes Review

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We’ve all had that moment during the day when we ask with a pit in our stomach, “What am I going to make for dinner?” We stand in our kitchens having a conversation with ourselves (hopefully silently), “I don’t have anything to make.… What I planned doesn’t sound good…. I don’t have any time to cook let alone get to the store.”

Families across the country are continually searching for a way to make the process easier. Many get discouraged into pre-packaged complacency, which doesn’t satisfy any real cravings. Bookstores contain myriad cookbooks toting catch phrases like “Quick and Simple” or “Cheap and Easy.” The recipes may be quick, but they often require readers to purchase random ingredients they’ll never use again. As a result, home cooks find themselves burdened with cluttered pantries, refrigerators, and cupboards filled with hundreds of dollars of cookbooks and specialty items like “red pepper paste” and are still left without an easy to use, versatile, and effective system for getting dinner on the table.

That’s where Sarah Kallio, Stacey Krastins, and The Stocked Kitchen comes in! The Stocked Kitchen™ is the first complete meal creation system with only one standard list of groceries. If your kitchen is “Stocked” with these ingredients you will always have what you need to create any of the 300 delicious recipes found in this book. These recipes have been used for all of the authors’ own dining needs, including meals for drop-in guests, special occasions, and every-night family dinners. The Stocked Kitchen encompasses all parts of the meal creation process from shopping, to storing, to cooking, to serving. The results are delicious, “guest worthy” meals made from real, basic ingredients. Sarah and Stacey have proven The Stocked Kitchen™ system works. It has reduced their grocery bills, stress levels, trips to the market, and food waste. Create more delicious meals while removing the handcuffs of pre-planning. One grocery list, endless recipes!

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The idea behind The Stocked Kitchen is simple.  Keep a standard set of ingredients and products in your house at all times and you will be able to make a wide variety of dishes at a moments notice.  No more randomly looking through cupboards wondering what to make.  No more dashing to the grocery store at the last second for one particular ingredient.  Simply keep the basic ingriedents in your house at all times and you’ve got it made.

The idea of a “stocked” kitchen is appealing.  Like most cooks I’ve had moments of panic wondering what I’m going to make for supper.  I try to plan my menu for the week, but sometimes, for various reasons,  my plans fall through.  What is especially great about The Stocked Kitchen is that the grocery list of basic items to always have on hand is truly simple and straightforward.  If you’ve read The Mama Report before I have mentioned several times that I am annoyed when recipes call for special ingredients.  There is nothing worse then chasing down one particular, exotic, difficult to find, EXPENSIVE, ingredient.  I usually end up using only a portion of it and the rest just gets thrown away.  This kind of cooking isn’t good for my bank account and it certainly isn’t a minimalistic approach.  I was pleased to find that most of the items on “the list” are items that I keep in my house at all times anyway.  I find The Stocked Kitchen to be a turn back to the old-fashioned common sense cooking approach that sometimes gets lost in today’s modern world.  Buy simple practical cooking items and use them.  It really is that simple.

Now for the recipes.  While I was a quick convert to the staple approach to stocking my pantry I was curious to see if the recipes could measure up.  One of my favorite cooking shows and books are America’s Test Kitchen and while they do use hard to find specific ingredients,  most often than not the end results are amazing.  Could a basic simple stocked kitchen compare?

My first recipes of choice were two simple marinades.  I am a big fan of marinaded meat.  If done properly the ingredients can add so much flavor to meat.  I often don’t think of marinading ahead of time, even though we love it.  I was hopeful that The Stocked Kitchen could make this process more of a ritual for me.  My first night I made the Asian Marinade.  I was fairly confident this recipe would be a winner with my family as we tend to love all foods Asian.  And indeed it was a success.  I marinaded chicken ahead of time using the recipe and simply baked it when I was ready to make supper.  I added rice and a vegetable to complete the meal.   This recipe provided an easy no fuss supper.  As a mother of three little boys I truly appreciate a recipe that does not require a great deal of my time.  The hour before supper (the witching hour for us) is my most difficult hour of the day.  The kids are cranky and hungry and I am tired and stressed attempting to prepare our supper.  It is a recipe within itself for trouble and anytime I can make this hour simpler is a wonderful thing.   My second marinade was the Moroccan Marinade.  This recipe was not received as enthusiastically by my family.  It was a good dish, but nothing fabulous.  I will just stick to the Asian Marinade instead.

After trying some of the meat recipes I turned instead to the vegetable section.  I was immediately intrigued by the Feta Peas recipe.  I had never seen a recipe for peas quite like this before.  With fresh basil and (of course) feta cheese it made for an interesting twist.  It was a success!  Check it out!

Next,  Nana made the Lemon-Butter Broccoli.  The adults all found this recipe to be delicious, but the kids were not convinced.  Here is my eldest son, happy with his broccoli before he tried it!:)  My kids are not huge broccoli lovers and the extra twist of lemon took their taste buds over the edge.  I’m afraid I won’t be making this dish again as I prefer to make something everyone will eat a bit more willingly.

There are MANY more recipes to try.  But based on my experience I found the recipes to be mostly hits.  Like any cookbook there are some recipes that are winners and other that are losers.  I am sure to make the Asian Marinade and the Feta Peas again and I look forward to trying some more in the near future.  Will I become a singularly dedicated Stocked Kitchen chef?  It isn’t likely, as I like to use many different cookbooks and magazine articles, but The Stocked Kitchen will have a permanent place in my cookbook shelf.  This book will be my go-to book when I want to work with ingredients I already have in the house.

 

The Stocked Kitchen is available for pre-order through Amazon for $15.98 and will be available for purchase at stores nationwide on July 5, 2011.

 

I was provided a review copy of the following books, all opinions are my own.

Comments

  1. This is wonderful, although I am an accomplished cook at 48 years old and with having raised 5 very different children (to include step children)… this book may have just what I am looking for! A simpler way to do food without much more effort. As much as I love my kitchen & cooking, I am entering a part of my life where I want less stress from the kitchen and more time for my art work. 🙂 Thank you!!
    Great Review!
    T.

    • Thank so much! It really is a stress free cooking approach. I can’t imagine cooking for 5 kids! What a job!

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