Let’s face it, if you’re a busy mom, but you still want your kids to have homemade desserts and treats, bars or squares are the way to go. There’s no scooping or rolling. Make the batter, put it in the pan, bake it, DONE.
So, a blondie is just basically a brownie without the chocolate. It has a kind of chewy texture, with a butterscotch/caramel flavour. They’re pretty great. Part of the reason why is because they become like a blank canvas that you can add all kinds of flavours to. Like leftover Hallowe’en candy, tiny peanut butter cups, or chocolate chips.
Ahhh modern life. I don’t know when it got so busy. I feel like most average households these days see both partners working, as well as a host of before- and after-school activities to manage. So we all struggle with getting dinner on the table, and avoiding take out or delivery services, which know aren’t as healthy and are way more expensive.
I have a variety of different methods I use to mange this nuttiness. i try to do some meal prep at least once a month, and create meals which I freeze for later. My Instant Pot has become my best friend (taking the place of my slow cooker, because, let’s face it, it does that too!), making things that used to take a lot of time to cook (beans) happen in a short amount of time. I also keep frozen pizzas and veggie burgers always on hand for a quick meal, and we have a stir-fry at least once a week. Quiche is another staple here; I have frozen pie crust in the freezer at all times. The bonus of quiche is that it makes for a great lunch the next day.
The ideal weekday supper is healthy, comes together quickly (ideally 30 minutes or less), has simple, easily accessible ingredients, and isn’t super complicated in terms of technique. Ideally, it can be made with pantry ingredients… making use of what you have on hand.
All of those factors are what the Best of Bridge has built itself on. The recipes have traditionally been accessible, simple, quick, and most importantly, delicious. These are not cookbooks that are going to include the use of a sous vide machine or molecular gastronomy. But they do include solid, dependable, every day delicious recipes.
The most recent book in the franchise is Best of Bridge: Weekday Suppers. I recently met Emily Richards and Sylvia Kong, the most recent members of the Best of Bridge (and Robert Rose–my cookbook publisher) family while they were on their book tour. We had lunch a Nuba and talked cookbook talk.
Here’s the thing: Emily and Sylvia are just like us. They’re moms, they live in major Canadian centres (Emily just outside Toronto, and Sylvia from Calgary), they get the daily grind and hustle.
Modern Canadian life!
The book contains 175 recipes, and the idea is to get a healthy, yummy dinner on the table in a short amount of time. There are sections on dinner soups and dinner salads. Soup is an amazing weeknight meal, because you can make it in advance, it’s comforting and hearty, and makes a meal when served with crusty bread. I also love the idea of a dinner salad. There’s also a section on sandwiches, one on pasta (a total weeknight dinner staple), and chapters for various meats. But there’s also a whole chapter on vegetarian suppers, and oh joy! a section on dessert. Because in our house, we eat dessert every night, and I’m snobby about it not being homemade.
I have tried three recipes so far; the Mediterranean Frittata, Savoury Baked French Toast, and the Coffee and White Chocolate Blondies.
I made the frittata for a family that was not mine (for the sake of impartiality) and it was a big hit. It’s filling because it’s not just eggs; it gets bulked up with potatoes, and the saltiness of the feta and the olives gives it a really pleasant brininess.
I was intrigued by the idea of a savoury french toast. I’ve made stratas before, but they are mostly sweet. I’m a big fan of ‘brinner’ (breakfast for dinner), so I was really curious to try this one. Basically, you get french bread, and spread each piece with pesto, then top with ham (I omitted) and tomato slices. You stack that up in a baking dish, then cover the whole thing with eggs. Let it sit for 1/2 hour so the bread can soak up the custard, then bake. You finish by topping with cheese and broiling. It was good. Michael liked it (though he would have left off the tomatoes), I found it to be a little underseasoned, but I did leave out the ham, which would make it saltier.
Basically, if you’re looking for quick, easy and delicious weekday suppers, Best of Bridge: Weekday Suppers is going to be something you’ll come back to again and again. It’s not fancy. It’s solid, dependable workhorse weekday dinners.
You can save the mollecular gastronomy for your weekends. 😉