As someone who’s prone to procrastination, I’m grateful to live in a place where I can make a quick grocery run for a last-minute dinner and be ready to cook within the hour. Not everyone has this luxury.
Tieghan Gerard, author of the 2017 bestselling “Half Baked Harvest Cookbook,” spent a chunk of her childhood growing up in a family of nine deep in the Colorado mountains. At age 13, she began helping her dad in the kitchen and loved it so much that she soon became the family’s primary cook. She eventually took up photography and started documenting her recipe creations in a blog and Instagram account that’s now the basis for a full-time career.
Today, she lives in a converted barn close to her family, whose members and significant others continue to inspire her innovations. “Half Baked Harvest: Super Simple: More Than 125 Recipes for Instant, Overnight, Meal-Prepped, and Easy Comfort Foods” builds on the practical, full-flavored dishes and gorgeous Rocky Mountain-inspired aesthetic that earned her a fan base, with new recipes geared to her busier lifestyle.
Minimizing grocery trips is key. Her strategy includes keeping a running list of staples on the notes app of her cellphone, mapping out meals for the week on a lazy Saturday, and hitting the store early to beat the crowds. Her personal list of pantry, refrigerator and freezer essentials features a broad range of grains, legumes, international condiments (mail-ordered if need be), and shelf-stable liquids that go a long way in ensuring meals never have to be dull.
Thai Basil Beef with Peanut Salsa has convinced me to keep a jar of Thai sweet chile sauce in my cupboard at all times. Everything Bagel Salad with White Beans and Pesto makes the case for keeping a bagel stashed in the freezer for emergency croutons. The secret weapon in Five-Ingredient Hazelnut Brownies is a cup of chocolate hazelnut spread, such as Nutella. They turned out so well, she claims, she decided to write a whole book around the super-simple theme.
I’ve typed Nutella into my notes app for my next shopping trip to see if they live up to the hype.
Susan Puckett is a cookbook author and former food editor of that AJC. Follow her at susanpuckett.com.
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