Michael Symon’s 5 in 5: 5 Fresh Ingredients + 5 Minutes = 120 Fantastic Dinners

5 in 5

A post by Pete Thibault

Fresh off my adventures with the Phatman in C-Town, I’m quickly brought back to the reality of everyday life. Early morning wake ups, daycare and school drop-offs, hockey practice, work, traffic, etc. Routine my old friend, thou art a cruel mistress! Luckily for me, I was wise enough to take an extra day off upon my return this time around. This would allow me to get cleaned up and prepare to face the rigors of the days to come before my next vacation, sort of like a gradual social reinsertion program.

Still foggy from the flights and drive home, I wake up bright and early to get the kids ready for school and daycare. Drop-offs are done and I set about unpacking my travel bag. I travel light and usually limit myself to one souvenir so unpacking doesn’t take very long. In recent years, my souvenir of choice has been a cookbook from the chef whose cuisine I just sampled. This time around was no different and as luck would have it, Chef Michael Symon had a new cookbook released just days before our visit.

Purchased directly from the restaurant, the book was cleverly packaged with butcher paper and twine to resemble a wrapped cut of meat. Upon removing the wrap, I immediately notice that the cookbook is autographed inside the cover. Nice, that in and of itself instantly justifies the paltry 20$ I shelled out to get the book. I have to say, it didn’t take very long for me to get excited about this book.

The first section includes some advice on how to stock your pantry, valuable timesaving tips, and a nifty list of Chef Symon’s favorite flavor combinations.  The 120 recipes cover pasta dishes, skillet dinners, egg dishes, grilled mains, kebabs, foil packets, and sandwiches. The recipes themselves are very straightforward and are comprised of easily accessible ingredients.  You won’t need to chase down any specialty shops to deliver these fresh & tasty dishes.

Fledgling cooks would also be well served to pick up this book as the instructions are written in a simple and easy to follow manner. There are no elaborate preparations or complicated techniques to be found. This makes the dishes easy to execute and can help build up your confidence. Once you’ve gotten comfortable with the framework of a certain dish, you’ll quickly realize that the potential exists for a number of different variations. The book even offers suggestions on possible substitutes for different components. This allows you to be a little adventurous and tweak the recipes if you are so inclined.

The books stated goal is to streamline cooking for busy families and solve the “what’s for dinner?” conundrum for home cooks everywhere. I’d say it fulfills this mission rather well. It serves as a reminder that fresh homecooked meals can be accomplished just as easily as reaching for the takeout menu.  I’ve had the book for a week now and have gone to it for 3 meals already:

  • Garlic Chicken with Asparagus
  • Angel hair Caprese
  • Cavatelli with Cauliflower and Red Pepper Flakes

Good eatin!



Categories: Pete Eats

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