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Little time for meal preparation? Try 'Express Lane Cooking'

By Wade Allen
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Posted on 9/9/2015, 10:52 AM

If cooking a quick dinner during the week appeals to you, here's a cookbook worth perusing.
"Express Lane Cooking" is all about guiding you through preparing wholesome meals with little preparation time. Food blogger and mother of four Shawn Syphus combines classic dishes with new ones that should make for less time over the stove and more time with your family.
Between the covers are 80 meal ideas, each one prepared using five ingredients or less. You'll also get tips on simplifying grocery shopping, taking fewer trips to the market and using fresh ingredients.
Syphus dishes on what recipes her family loves most. Her kids are fans of the salmon cakes.
She writes an introduction to each recipe, explaining why she chose to include it and providing any tips. It's a fun concept to know ahead of time that the meal will be easy to clean up or require fewer pots and pans.
It's not just a cookbook. If you've been putting off organizing your kitchen drawers, refrigerator, and pantry, you will find tips on how to keep things well-stocked and accessible. It would also be useful for someone who just bought a new home and, in a sense, is starting from scratch in stocking their kitchen with the basics like spices.
Throughout the book, Syphus takes familiar recipes and adds her personal touch to make it different. For example, there's a recipe for lasagna prepared in a skillet instead of in a casserole dish.
Here are two recipes included in "Express Lane Cooking." Happy eating.

Salmon Cakes with Sautéed Sugar Snap Peas

I've never seen my kids clear their plates so fast as when I make these crispy salmon cakes for them. This recipe calls for panko breadcrumbs--which I believe to be a pantry staple--to give these delicate cakes an irresistible buttery and crispy coating. Serve with a quick homemade tartar sauce and sautéed sugar snap peas. The only thing that's missing is the ocean breeze.

1 pound salmon, cut into tiny pieces
4 white button mushrooms, finely diced
¼ cup finely chopped red bell pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
2 teaspoons parsley flakes
¼ teaspoon salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons mayo
1 tablespoon teriyaki sauce
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
? cup panko breadcrumbs
½ cup + 2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil, divided
1 pound sugar snap peas, trimmed and stringed
2 cloves garlic, minced
Combine all the ingredients up to and including the panko breadcrumbs in a large bowl. Use your hands to incorporate and form into 8 equal-size patties.
Heat about ½ cup of oil in a pan over medium heat. Once it's hot, carefully add the salmon patties to the pan and fry for 2 to 3 minutes per side, or until the patties are a golden brown. Drain on a paper towel-lined plate and keep warm.
Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat. Toss in the sugar snap peas and cook, stirring occasionally until peas are crisp-tender, about 4 minutes. Toss in the garlic and cook for an additional 1 to 2 minutes or until the garlic becomes fragrant. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve alongside the salmon cakes.
Shawn's Quick Tip: To save time on chopping and dicing, just place all the ingredients for the salmon cakes in a large food processor, pulse until it comes together and shape into patties.
Variation: What's a salmon cake without a tangy tartar sauce? Whisk together 2 tablespoons (30 ml) mayo, 1 tablespoon (15 ml) sour cream, 1 tablespoon (15 g) pickle relish, ½ teaspoon horseradish, ¼ teaspoon salt and ? teaspoon black pepper. Keep it chilled until ready to enjoy.

Coconut, Cashew and Hot Fudge Ice Cream Pie

Believe it or not, one of my favorite candy bars was the inspiration for this mouthwatering ice cream pie; a chocolate bar that's infused with shredded coconut and chopped cashews. I took all those flavors and sandwiched them between two layers of vanilla ice cream and served it in a crisp chocolate graham cracker crust. Just one bite of this pie, and you'll be absolutely hooked.

1 6-ounce pre-made chocolate graham cracker pie shell
1½ quart container vanilla ice cream, slightly softened
? cup hot fudge ice cream topping, plus more for drizzling
? cup shredded, sweetened coconut flakes
½ cup cashews, roughly chopped

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake the chocolate pie shell for 6 minutes; remove from the oven and let cool completely.
Carefully spread three scoops of the softened ice cream in the base of the chocolate pie shell until it's an even layer. Pour room-temperature fudge sauce over the ice cream, and use a knife to spread into an even layer. Sprinkle the shredded coconut and cashews evenly over the top.
Use the remaining ice cream to make large scoops on top of the pie, until the whole pie is covered in scoops of ice cream. Place the pie into the freezer for at least 2 hours before slicing and serving with warm fudge sauce drizzled on top.
Variations: Try roasting the coconut before adding it to the ice cream pie for an extra nuttier flavor! Simply heat a large, dry skillet over medium heat, toss in the coconut and stir constantly until the coconut turns golden brown in color. Remove the coconut from the pan and let cook on a paper towel-lined plate before adding to the ice cream pie.

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