Ellie Krieger’s New Cookbook: You Have It Made
The queen of healthy cooking, Ellie Krieger, is back; her new cookbook is filled with delicious, healthy make-ahead meals. I had the pleasure of talking with Ellie about her new cookbook (released Jan. 5, 2016) and even got a peek at one of her newest casserole recipes.
Ellie Krieger: I am always looking for ways to make cooking easier and more attainable — ways to take the stress out of meal prep — so people can relax and enjoy home-cooked, healthy food more often. Making meals ahead is one of the strategies that really works, and these recipes are my own survival tools for those crazy-hectic weeks.
EK: I feel like so many make-ahead books leave you hanging when it comes to how to store and reheat. They provide just general how-to instructions at the front of the book and leave it to the reader to figure out the rest. I wanted to make it a no-brainer for people so they would know exactly how best to store, thaw and reheat. It was a lot of extra work on my end, because I tested multiple methods for each recipe before I landed on the best, but I really think it was worth it to make it as easy as possible for the person cooking from the book.
EK: When you make a recipe from the book, make twice what you need for that meal and refrigerate or freeze the rest. This way you can cook once and eat twice, which is the ultimate in efficiency! Also, on a weekend, when you have a little more time on your hands, set aside a little time to plan two or three make-ahead meals for the week (or weeks) to come. Then you will have amazing meals at your fingertips on those crazy-hectic weekdays. It's amazing how good that feels to know!
EK: Yes, thawing in the microwave is fine. Just make sure you put the food in a microwave-safe dish. In this book I give both microwave and conventional (stove or oven) thaw and reheat instructions for most recipes, so you can choose what is best for you.
Heat the oil in a large, deep ovenproof skillet over medium heat, add the scallions and cook, stirring, until they are softened, 2 minutes. Add the orzo and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes more. Add the stock and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the orzo is about halfway cooked, 5 minutes.
Stir in the tomatoes, spinach, parsley, dill, lemon juice, salt and pepper, and cook until the spinach is wilted, 1 to 2 minutes. Gently stir in the fish, then cover and cook, stirring once or twice, until the fish is cooked on the outside but still a bit translucent inside, 4 to 5 minutes. The mixture may be refrigerated or frozen at this stage.
To continue, preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Sprinkle the feta over the top of the skillet, then place in the oven until the feta is lightly browned and melted, 8 to 10 minutes.
Transfer the mixture to one 9-by-13-inch baking dish, two 8-inch square baking dishes, or 6 individual oven- and microwave-safe baking dishes. Sprinkle the feta on top, then cover tightly and refrigerate for up to 2 days. When ready to serve, allow to sit at room temperature while the oven preheats to 375 degrees F. Bake, covered with foil, for 20 minutes, then uncover and bake 10 to 15 minutes more. Alternatively, to heat a single serving in the microwave, uncover, then re-cover with a splatter guard, and microwave on high for 60 to 90 seconds.
Transfer the mixture to one 9-by-13-inch baking dish, two 8-inch square baking dishes, or 6 individual freezer-, oven- and microwave-safe baking dishes, and chill in the refrigerator, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Then sprinkle the feta on top, cover with an airtight lid or with plastic wrap and then foil, and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator for 18 to 24 hours, then heat according to the “to refrigerate” directions. Or, to thaw quickly, uncover, then re-cover with just foil and place in a cold oven set for 375 degrees F. Once the oven reaches temperature, continue to cook for 35 minutes, then remove the foil and cook for 15 to 20 minutes more, until heated through. Alternatively, to microwave a single serving, uncover, then re-cover with a splatter guard and microwave on the defrost setting for about 7 minutes, then on high for 1 minute.
Text excerpted from You Have It Made, © 2016 by Ellie Krieger. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved. Photo by Quentin Bacon.
Well-known as the host of Food Network’s hit show Healthy Appetite and now host of the upcoming Public Television cooking series Ellie’s Real Good Food, Ellie is a New York Times best-selling, James Beard Foundation and IACP award-winning cookbook author. She is a weekly columnist for The Washington Post and has also been a columnist for Fine Cooking, Food Network magazines and USA Today.
Ellie is a registered dietitian nutritionist who earned her Bachelor of Science in clinical nutrition from Cornell and her master’s in nutrition education from Teacher’s College Columbia University. Her latest book is You Have It Made: Delicious, Healthy Do-Ahead Meals (January 2016).
Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, is a registered dietitian and consultant who specializes in food safety and culinary nutrition. She is the author of The Greek Yogurt Kitchen: More Than 130 Delicious, Healthy Recipes for Every Meal of the Day.