The FBC The Simple Bites Kitchen review!

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In The Simple Bites Kitchen: Nourishing Whole Food Recipes for Every Day cookbook by Aimée Wimbush-Bourque, writer of the award-winning blog Simple Bites, the focus is on providing nutritious meals using fresh ingredients and the importance of involving the family in meal preparations. Aimée welcomes us into her kitchen where she shares her every day delicious recipes and kitchen stories. You also learn how to host a Pie Social and Soup Swap, make ricotta and buttermilk, and can and freeze vegetables — all in one cookbook.

Table of Contents

In the Introduction, Aimée gives us an insight to her Childhood Kitchen, talks about Healthy Family Habits, shares the eight steps for kids to follow when they cook, and demonstrates the Fine Art of Fridge Management by season, which I found very useful.

The 100 delicious and nourishing recipes are categorized into the following chapters:

  • Nourishing Breakfasts
  • Wholesome Lunches and Snacks
  • Homegrown Vegetarian
  • Everyday Suppers
  • Simple Bites Staples
  • Preserves Pantry

Recipes

The recipes are well organized and easy to follow. The ingredients are listed in columns below the headnote, and numbered instructions follow. When a recipe requires extra prep time it’s indicated, and tips are included for some recipes. Each recipe is accompanied by stunning colour photos.

Samples of the nourishing, delicious recipes include:

  • Overnight Spiced Stollen Swirl Buns, Noah`s French Toast with Cinnamon Maple Butter
  • Farro, Feta and Tomato Salad with Red Onion Vinaigrette, Beef Empanadas
  • Harvest Corn Chowder, Lentil Cottage Pie with Rutabaga Mash, Herbal Homestead Gin and Tonic
  • Pickled Shrimp with Bay Leaf and Lemon, Grilled Ratatouille and Sausage Platter
  • Slow Cooker Carnitas, Butternut Squash with Apple and Leek, Quick Crustless Ham and Cheese Quiche
  • Golden Ghee, Lighter Ricotta, Coconut Almond Milk, Homemade Butter Milk, How to Cook Pulses

The Preserves Panty chapter includes “7 Steps for Canning in a Hot Water Bath” and “Saving the Season without Canning” instructions.

Tested Recipes

Lemon Cornmeal Madeleines (Page 92)

You have to plan ahead to make these madeleines as the batter needs to be refrigerated overnight or at least six hours. I prepared the batter the night before with the intention of baking them for breakfast, but I ended up baking them after supper. They turned out delicious with a sponge cake texture, and they all had the coveted bump. With every bite you taste a hint of lemon. I ended up making 24 madeleines instead of 16 as per the recipe, but that could be due to the different sizes of madeleine pans.

Roasted Tomato and Lentil Soup (Page 118)

Lentil soup is the mainstay in my winter meal planning. It’s easy to prepare, nutritious and can be used as a base for add-ons such as vegetables and rice.

You have to plan ahead to make this soup as it calls for roasted tomatoes, but it’s worth it as the roasted tomatoes enhance the flavour of the soup. I served it with toasted baguette slices or you can serve it with a dollop of yogurt or Basil and Pepita Pesto (page 247) or Herbed Croutons (page 156) as suggested in the recipe. This is the kind of soup that will comfort you on those chilly and cold days to come.

Skillet Zucchini-Chicken Parmesan (Page 196)

This is one dish you’ll want to include in your meal planning. It’s delicious and satisfying and can be prepared quickly once you have all the ingredients on hand. Make sure you read through the recipe as it calls for 2 ½ cups of tomato sauce which I didn’t have when I decided to make it.

It’s a healthier and faster version of the recipe I use when I make Chicken Parmesan and honestly, I enjoy the taste better. The recipe suggests you serve the Skillet Zucchini-Chicken Parmesan with spaghetti, but I served it with a green salad and mopped up the sauce with slices of Italian crusty bread.

Skillet Zucchini-Chicken Parmesan
 
We’re a family who loves our comfort foods, so I am always looking for ways to incorporate vegetables into the classics. This twist on chicken Parmesan uses a little less meat and includes rounds of zucchini under the traditional bubbly tomato sauce and melted cheese. This is one of my favourite dishes to take to new parents, as it is so nourishing and comforting. I serve this over pasta to my crew, but it would be delicious on its own as a gluten-free main dish.
Author:
Recipe type: Everyday Suppers
Serves: Serves 6
Ingredients
  • 1 teaspoon (5 mL) dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon (2 mL) ground savory
  • 1 teaspoon (5 mL) fine sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon (2 mL) freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 teaspoons (10 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup (60 mL) freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2½ cups (625 mL) tomato sauce
  • 1 medium zucchini, sliced ¼ inch (5 mm) thick
  • 6 slices fresh mozzarella cheese (about ½ inch/1 cm thick)
  • 1 pound (450 g) spaghetti
  • Chopped fresh oregano or parsley, for garnish
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Instructions
  1. In a small bowl, stir together the oregano, savory, salt and pepper.
  2. Cut chicken breasts in half lengthwise so that you have 6 pieces. Cover chicken with plastic wrap and pound the thickest parts of the chicken with a rolling pin or meat tenderizer. The pieces should be no thicker than 1 inch (2.5 cm). Remove the plastic wrap and season the chicken all over with the herb blend.
  3. In a large braiser or lidded skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Working in batches, sear chicken until lightly golden, 2 to 4 minutes per side. Reduce heat to medium-low. Evenly sprinkle the Parmesan over the chicken. Pour the tomato sauce over and around the chicken. Cover the pan and simmer for 15 minutes.
  4. Add the zucchini to the pan, tucking the pieces around the chicken. Partially cover and simmer for 15 minutes more. Top each piece of chicken with a slice of fresh mozzarella. Replace the lid and finish cooking the dish for about 10 minutes, until the mozzarella melts. Cool slightly while you prepare the pasta.
  5. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the spaghetti according to the package directions. Drain well and transfer to a large serving bowl. Serve the zucchini-chicken parmesan over the spaghetti, garnished with fresh oregano or parsley.

Bookshelf Worthy?

I enjoyed reading Aimée’s kitchen stories throughout the cookbook and cooking the recipes. To me, it’s an extension of her first book, Brown Eggs and Jam Jars. I agree with her philosophy of feeding the family wholesome food and getting them involved in the kitchen at an early age. I taught my daughters with the same values. I will be giving a copy of The Simple Bites Kitchen to one of my daughters, who has just embark on motherhood, to add to her cookbook shelf for inspiration.

The Simple Bites Kitchen: Nourishing Whole Food Recipes for Every Day
Author:  Aimée Wimbush-Bourque
Softcover: 304 Pages
Publisher: Penguin Random House Limited
ISBN: 978-0-14-319051-6

Acknowledgement

Excerpted from The Simple Bites Kitchen: Nourishing Whole Food Recipes for Every Day. Copyright © 2017 by Aimée Wimbush-Bourque. Photos copyright © Tim and Angela Chin. Published by Penguin, an imprint of Penguin Canada, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.

A review copy of The Simple Bites Kitchen was provided by Penguin Random House.


The Simple Bites Kitchen review was written by Liliana Tommasini, author of the aptly named blog My Cookbook Addiction. Her passion for baking and cooking began at an early age. Liliana grew up in an Italian household where each meal was made from scratch with fresh ingredients and Sunday family lunches were always a celebration. She has a passion for collecting cookbooks and believes that every recipe tells a story that must be shared to nourish your soul and feed your belly. You can connect with Liliana on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

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