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America’s Test Kitchen: The Make-Ahead Cook

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The Make-Ahead Cook came in a few days ago and I’ve already made two recipes from it. My verdict? If the rest of the recipes are as good as these inaugural dishes, this will become a go-to cookbook for me.

The Make-Ahead Cook is a collection of recipes that are meant to be assembled on one day, then finished and enjoyed hours–or days–later. It’s a collection of make-ahead braises, casseroles, slow-cooker dishes, and ready-to-cook meals that hold up well in the refrigerator. So, for instance, the make-ahead fried pork chops are coated in crunchy cornflakes, not breadcrumbs, which would get soggy during the wait. They also created recipes with an eye towards dishes with flavors intensified as they sat.

These guys are too good. The bastards turned me into a vegan,for a night anyway. I made their Butternut Squash and Swiss Chard Stew (confession: I used kale) and it was great the night of; it was divine the next day. So it’s a soup that really does benefit from many hours of simply sitting. (I didn’t have the time to let it sit for the recommended time.) I served it over rice and it was a hearty, complete vegan meal in a bowl.

I also made the Asian-Braised Slow-Cooker Beef Short Ribs, an astonishingly simple and delicious recipe with 6 ingredients, total. Which brings me to my next point: If you know anything about ATK recipes you know that at times they can be a bit…fussy. To be fair, they nearly always use ingredients that any home cook can get easily. However, some of their instructions can seem a bit, oh, pain-in-the-butty. But if the two dishes I made are any indication, this cookbook is decidedly unfussy.

I’m all in. For folks who like to who like to free up time in the evenings this collection is straight up a must-have.

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