In my world, supper is never on the table before 8 p.m., and entrées are seldom simple. Fortunately, food writer Jennifer Chandler is more organized, and she's compiled a new collection of recipes and cooking strategies to help ease the pressure of evening meals.
Titled Simply Suppers, her book is a follow-up companion to Simply Salads and offers a streamlined approach to cooking without scrimping on taste. Many of her recipes are family classics like spaghetti or chili con carne updated with a modern twist. "My mac-n-cheese has the addition of fresh herbs and country ham," Chandler explains. For her green bean casserole, she uses white cheddar for the cheese sauce and pecans for the casserole topping.
Chandler's recipes come together quickly. I tried her crock-pot beef stew, and the recipe's ingredients (chuck roast, baby carrots, red wine, bay leaves, garlic, salt, pepper, and a large can of whole tomatoes) were browned and in the pot in 20 minutes. Dinner that night? Warm and delicious.
Chandler, who cooks for her family five or six nights a week, is her own best testimonial. She's starting her third book in the "simply" series, heading back to New York City for television and radio appearances, and organizing a national book tour with upcoming stops throughout the Mid-South. Meet her in East Memphis this week for back-to-back book signings: September 25th at Babcock Gifts and September 28th at Davis-Kidd Booksellers.
Jennifer Chandler signs "Simply Suppers" Saturday, September 25th, at Babcock Gifts, 4626 Poplar, 3 to 6 p.m., and Tuesday, September 28th, at Davis-Kidd Booksellers, 387 Perkins Ext., 6 p.m.