Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Quick and Healthy Recipes and Ideas (3rd Ed.) by Brenda J. Ponichtera

Quick and Healthy Recipes and Ideas, 3rd Edition
by Brenda J. Ponichtera
Copyright 2008
334 pages including health tips, grocery lists, weekly planners and index

Before I tell you all about Quick and Healthy, etc., I've gotten permission to share one of our favorite recipes from the cookbook. I knew that would thrill you.

Oven-Fried Fish

1/4 cup cornflake crumbs (can be found in the breading section of the grocery store)

1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/8 teaspoon salt (optional)
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 pound fish fillets (such as snapper, sole, halibut)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray. Mix the first four ingredients in a plastic bag and set aside.

Cut fish into serving size pieces. Place a few pieces of fish at a time in the plastic bag and shake to coat evenly.

Arrange on baking sheet so that fish is not touching. Bake for 10 minutes, per inch of thickness, or until fish flakes easily.

- Reprinted with permission from QUICK & HEALTHY RECIPES AND IDEAS by Brenda Ponichtera, RD, published by Small Steps Press

Voila! Easy peasy. We used thin, well-drained cod and hubby mixed in a little bit of regular bread crumbs (the first time) because he actually crushed real corn flakes and didn't get them quite small enough to adhere to the fish. He's so funny. Anyway, we loved the result of that recipe and we've begun using it regularly.

But, about the book . . . I requested this one from Felicia at Jane Wesman Public Relations because the publicity material stated that the cookbook contains weekly plans and grocery lists. I'm a very scattered individual and it seemed like built-in grocery lists would be awfully helpful.

As it turned out, the book is even better than I expected. The opening section of the book discusses nutrition, healthy substitute ingredients, use of artificial sweeteners and food exchanges. The author also lists sources of dietary fiber, how many nuts equal an ounce, tips for reducing fat and cholesterol in your diet, time-saving ideas and organization tips to ensure you have the right ingredients at the right time. Then, you get into weekly menus and grocery lists.

There are 20 weeks' worth of menus, each with a menu list (including the page number of each recipe, so you can locate them easily), a detailed grocery list and a side area for notes. Then, the author lists some alternative suggestions using the same recipes and adding a nice little guide that tells you what exactly a "starch" or "nonstarchy vegetable" is, to clarify the bits of suggested meal combinations ("Add a nonstarchy vegetable and a starch" with a list of meat dishes, for example, gives you a quick reference to a variety of meal options).

The recipes comprise the bulk of the book, of course, and they are low enough on ingredients to make the gathering/cooking process quick and simple. We did make a few minor substitutions. I've never developed a taste for mustard, but I don't mind dry mustard, so whenever a recipe calls for pre-made mustard we substituted the dried spice. We also occasionally added an ingredient if we thought a recipe was a little too bland -- often, just a little extra chopped onion or spice was enough to do the trick.

When my friend Judy dropped by, I handed her the cookbook and asked her to flip through it and tell me what she thought. She practically bounced in her seat (not quite, but you should have seen her eyes boggle). "Oh, I could use this! Look at this! Look at that!" she said. My husband, Judy, and I all zoned in on the shopping lists. The ease of shopping with a pre-made list and having an entire week's menus pre-planned is absolutely perfect for a busy lifestyle.

Highly recommended for folks who are on the go and looking for ways to simplify cooking healthy foods at home.

The blurb: Small Steps Press, an imprint of the American Diabetes Association, is dedicated to helping people live healthier lives. Small Steps Press books cover health-related topics such as nutrition, healthy eating, exercise, and weight loss.

Quick & Healthy Recipes and Ideas is available at, by calling 1-800-232-6733, or at your local bookstore.


  1. Anonymous11:33 AM


    thanks for the recipe!! :)
    and lovely cook-book!

  2. Hmmm...I'm not sure if I should thank you or be upset with you...

    The book sounded great, so I clicked on the link...and what did I find but even more books that sounded great! Now I want them all!

    By the way, I've decided...thank you!

  3. Anonymous11:40 AM

    I want that cookbook! Quick and healthy are a fantastic combo.

  4. Veens,

    You're very welcome! Hope you love that recipe as much as we do. It is indeed an awesome cookbook. I keep wiping the cover off because it's getting used a lot.


    Ummm . . . okay, good. You're welcome. LOL They do have some other great-looking cookbooks, don't they?


    My sentiments exactly. I'm a lazy cook, so I want to be in and out of the kitchen quickly. But, it's not good to skimp on nutrition just because you're in a hurry. I'm loving this cookbook.

  5. Sounds fantastic! Husband just found out he has a little bit of a cholesterol problem, so we've been trying to eat lower fat (and eat out less), and I love quick and easy!! I love to cook but I find that at the end of the day it is often the last thing I want to do. Thanks for sharing!

  6. Trish,

    My husband had a cholesterol problem for a while, too. He takes fish oil capsules and tries to avoid high-fat foods.

    I'll never love cooking, I guess, although I've enjoyed it more in different kitchens. I'm very strongly effected by how I feel about a kitchen. The one I've got, now . . . walking through it is usually about my limit. LOL So, the quicker I can throw something together, the better!

  7. I am the author of Quick & Healthy Recipes and Ideas. I welcome all to visit my web site at for recipes to try, menus and tips.

    Also thank you for the wonderful review.

  8. Brenda,

    Thanks for dropping by and you're very welcome. We are using that cookbook all the time, now.

  9. I will definitely have to try the fish recipe! It sounds so easy! I'm on the lookout for new recipes, and this might be the perfect cookbook for me! Thanks for sharing!

  10. Laura,

    Tell me what you think of the recipe! It's our favorite, so far.

  11. This book sounds amazing! I'm a closet cookbook junkie.

  12. This sounds like a great recipe book! Pre-made grocery lists should be a thing in every book!

  13. This looks pretty cool and I LOVE cookbooks. I think I'll add it to my cookbook wishlist. Thanks for the great review!

  14. I love having a shopping list included! I'm so disorganized that having menus and shopping lists sounds wonderful.

  15. Oh this looks great - I put in a hold request at the library so I can chedk it out first before I decide whether or not to buy.

  16. Andi,

    I might have to offload a few cookbooks on you, then. We're trying to narrow down to those we use most often.


    I agree. That kind of time-saving feature is a real help and it would be nice if *every* cookbook was written with shopping lists.


    I hate cooking, but I love cookbooks. That just seems wrong, somehow. :) Tell me if you get the book!


    So am I, unfortunately. We're enjoying that feature of the book. If you make subsitutions, there's plenty of room to scratch out and add to the list.


    Great idea! Note that the author left a URL, so there's a place you can go look up a few more recipes to try. I hope you like the cookbook! We did have to add or change a few ingredients, but they were minor.

  17. I like quick and easy! This looks good.

  18. Just picked this up from the library today - already found a couple that I want to try - starting with Crispy Potato Chicken

  19. Suzi,

    I don't think we've tried that one! You'll have to let me know what you think. What I discovered with this particular cookbook is that there are some recipes that are a tad dull, but it didn't take much to spice them up, so I'd advise you to add a few ingredients if anything comes out too bland. The recipes are easy to adapt.


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