September 29, 2015

Dinner Solved! with Katie Workman + Book Giveaway

Dinner Solved with Katie Workman | The Naptime Chef

My friend Katie and I are on the same page. We both love to feed our families and we both agree that delicious food doesn’t have to be complicated. This is why I am loving her new book so much, Dinner Solved!: 100 Ingenious Recipes that Make the Whole Family Happy, Including You! In it she shares 100 scrumptious recipes that aren’t overly complicated and are completely family-friendly. Many of the recipes also offer slight variations so you can make something a few different ways when you are in the mood for a change. Today I am thrilled to share a little chat we had recently and give away a copy of the book to one lucky reader!

1) The Mom 100 is already a classic cookbook for many home cooks. How did you come up with this book idea based on your feedback from the first one?

The Fork in the Road idea, which was introduced in The Mom 100 Cookbook, struck a chord with a lot of home cooks.  They really liked the idea that you could make one meal, one recipe, and divide it in someway during the process so that it would please everyone at the table.  So, fried chicken could be spicy or mild, a chicken chili could be made in part vegetarian, burgers could be made simply or super flavorful, but the person at the stove wouldn’t have to feel like a short order cook to make everyone happy.

2) I love all the variations you give for standard basic recipes. What inspired your variations? For example, you present such a wide range of burgers, and I love all of your different takes on pasta dinners which all have basically the same base recipe.

What I love the most about cooking is how happy I feel when I am making something a while bunch of people will like, and having fun in the kitchen.  I think so many people are not comfortable in the kitchen, so my goal with the recipes and the writing is to be clear, encouraging, and help people find their comfort zone.  Making home cooks more confident is the purpose of all of the recipes, so that’s why I like to give variations and ideas so people feel more assured about riffing on a recipe, or using up the vegetables they have in their fridges.

3) It is clear that you and your family love to cook and eat. How do their opinions influence you as you come up with new recipe ideas and develop new tweaks for old favorites.

I don’t have to tell you that kids are honest!  They – and my husband – will not hesitate to tell me what they like and don’t like.   And now they have a pretty good vocabulary to express feedback.  And they are enthusiastic eaters for the most part.  Charlie loves soups and stews, everyone loves all things Asian  pasta always wins the day, Gary will never like anything better than the beefy cheesey noodley dishes in both books, and there’s a reason why there is a chapter in Dinner Solved! devoted to tacos and enchiladas.  All of this and more is reflected in my books.
Lemon Horseradish Potato Salad

4) School is back in session! Can you walk us through how you plan family meals for the a typical busy week? What influences you? Do you solicit ideas from your kids?

I love checking out what’s on sale at my favorite markets, not just because it’s always nice to save money, but because it provides inspiration?  Chicken thighs on sale?  I’m making this or this. Tilapia on special?  I’ll make this.  It helps prevents the cooking rut we all can fall into.  I also keep containers of minced garlic, chopped onions, freshly squeezed lemon juice, and so in my refrigerator so that if I’m starting dinner at the end of the day, I have a head start.

I just put together this week’s worth of dinners for thekitchn.com, because it’s definitely the meal planning — not the cooking itself — that holds so many cooks back from making dinner.

5) Is there a recipe or technique that didn’t make it into this book because you are still working on it? For example, I am still figuring out vegetable “noodles” and how to make them a satisfying meal for the family.

Oh, that’s such a good question! And please et me know when you figure that out!  I want to make polenta a thing in my house, but I’ve not yet jumped into it.  Especially soft polenta, with some great savory toppings.  I haven’t made it in a while, and I have the feeling my family will feel like I am serving them breakfast cereal for dinner, but I’m going to go for it.

One Skillet Enchilada Casserole

6) What’s next for you and your collection of books and website? We’d love to know.

I’m doing a lot of recipes and writing for various publications now, from newspapers and magazines to websites, so that’s taking up the bulk to my time these days…..but I’m quite sure I’ll be starting another book in the next year.  My editor is already start to lurk.  And I’ll of course keep adding new recipes and posts to themom100.com.  I’m not the biggest long term planner, probably to my detriment; I kind of take things a week or a month at a time.  But right now, I’m having quite a bit of fun.

Thanks, Katie!
To enter to win a copy of Dinner Solved!:
1) Share a new recipe you’d love to try with your family!
2) Contest runs from September 29th at 7:00am through October 13th at 7:00am. Winner will be announced in the October 16th newsletter. Good luck!
All photographs copyright Todd Coleman. Reprinted with permission.
  • Steph

    I just discovered chia pudding. Kids love it

  • S.

    I’d love to try a new chocolate chip cookie recipe that is flavored with orange zest.

  • cezovski

    I want to try Baked Thai Salmon – Salmon fillets, pinch of salt, 1/2 cup Thai sweet chili sauce, 2 – 3 tbsp chopped green onions — marinate, then broil and top with onions. That’s it!

  • My husband and I would like to treat ourselves, and try fried chicken at home for the first time. We’re both Midwesterners, but have lived in various parts of the south for nearly seven years now. It’s about time we embrace the culture!

  • sandz4321

    I want to make cream of mushroom soup without using dairy (using rice milk/quinoa milk/flax seed milk)

  • Karen D
  • Joan Kubes

    I’d like to try to make The Havarti & Ham Waffle Sandwich. I never thought to use waffles as a sandwich bread.

  • miranda

    I’d like to try fried rice

  • bill

    Next on my list is to try homemade pasta

  • gary

    I want to try making vegetarian chili

  • Christina C

    I’d love to try the orange gingerbread recipe! Yum!