There’s the red, white and blue of the Berry Shortcakes with strawberries, blueberries and whipped cream that make it a patriotic dream. The image of Easy Ice Cream Cake made with ice cream sandwiches, whipped cream and chopped chocolate chips practically had me drooling. Toasted coconut is showered all over the Apricot-Coconut Cake, a combination that makes me want to head for the kitchen.
And that’s just the dessert section.
The recipes throughout are, in fact, simple, whether you’re whipping up an appetizer of Rosemary Pecans or making a Simple Roast Chicken with onion and new potatoes. A spinach salad gets a boost from pan-fried salami. Spaghetti is dressed up in bacon and eggs. Sausages are paired with warm tomatoes and hash browns to create a meal that’s hearty, rustic and winning. Macaroni and cheese blends Gruyère and Cheddar with a kick of cayenne pepper. All come together in a matter of minutes, so dinner will get on the table in practically no time.
Dry-rubbed Baby Back Ribs go together in 10 minutes and take only 45 minutes to cook. Pork with Sautéed Granny Smith Apples takes 20 minutes prep time and only 30 to cook. The longest one of the recipes took was the hour that the pie crust needed to rest before rolling out.
If you’re avoiding carbs, this may not be the book for you. There’s an entire pasta section, followed by a vegetarian entrée section in which most of the dishes are made with rice, potatoes, gnocchi, bread, bread and more bread. Then the side dishes include Parsleyed Corn, New Potato and Watercress Salad, Cheddar and Scallion Grits, and Roasted Parsnips and Carrots with Sage. Then there are those desserts again.
In the end, Real Simple’s recipe editors Lygeia Grace and Kate Merker have put together a collection that lives up to the magazine’s theme. These dishes are simple to put together, yet the flavors are excellent and should have your family asking for seconds.