Are you always in a rush? Even on the weekend and even when it's time for a celebratory brunch? Join the club! We may want to bring a showstopper to a friend's potluck in Cary or display culinary creativity in our own home. But the time crunch often means tossing together dishes that are quick and easy. Here are appetizing twists on classics from cookbooks that get it.




French Classics Made Easy
A 10-Minute Souffle, a Contemporary Bouillabaisse, a Light, Quicker Cassoulet – 250 Great Recipes Simplified for the Modern Kitchen
By Richard Grausman

Published by Workman Publishing




Shrimp and Scallops in Herbed Lemon Vinaigrette


3/4 pound large shrimp, shelled and deveined
3/4 pound sea scallops
3 tablespoons lemon juice or white wine vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 tablespoons light olive oil
Pinch each of salt and freshly ground pepper, or more to taste
2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs, such as dill, chives or basil
1 large head bibb lettuce, separated into leaves


Place 3 quarts of water in a large pot over high heat and bring to a boil. Add the shrimp and scallops. When the water just returns to a boil, drain the seafood and refresh under cold running water.


Slice the shrimp in half lengthwise, and slice the scallops horizontally into 2 or 3 rounds. (The seafood can be prepared up to 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)


In a bowl large enough to hold the seafood, make the vinaigrette. First mix together the lemon juice and mustard. Add the oils and whisk well. Season with the salt and pepper and stir in the chopped herbs. Refrigerate. (This can be done ahead and taken out of the refrigerator when ready to assemble the salad.)


To serve, arrange the bibb lettuce on serving plates. Whisk the vinaigrette until it is smooth, and toss the seafood in it. Either simply mound the seafood in the center of each plate or arrange each plate by overlapping the shrimp and scallops to form a circular design, and serve.


Note: If more than one herb is available, use 1 tablespoon of each but no more than 3 tablespoons total.


Serves 6



Chicken Salad With Fresh Peaches in a Curry Lime Dressing


3 pounds skinless, boneless chicken half breasts, poached, chilled and diced
1 avocado, diced
2 white or yellow peaches, peeled and diced
Juice of 1 lime
2 celery ribs, chopped
3 scallions, white and green parts, chopped
2 hard-cooked eggs, chopped
3/4 to 1 cup mayonnaise, to taste
1/4 teaspoon salt
teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Pinch of curry powder
1 head lettuce, separated into leaves
Tomato wedges or cherry tomatoes, for garnish


In a large bowl, toss the chicken, avocado and peaches with half of the lime juice. Add the celery, scallions and hard-cooked eggs.


Flavor the mayonnaise with the salt, pepper, curry powder and remaining lime juice.


Gently toss the chicken mixture with the flavored mayonnaise and refrigerate. (The recipe can be prepared up to this point 1 day ahead.)


Serve the salad on a bed of lettuce leaves garnished with tomato wedges or cherry tomatoes.


Serves 6 or 8





Favorite Recipes From Melissa Clark's Kitchen
Family Meals, Festive Gatherings, and Everything in Between

By Melissa Clark

Published by Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers


Salami and Horseradish Cheddar Bagel Sandwich


2 bagels, halved
3 ounces horseradish cheddar cheese, sliced (or substitute horseradish cheddar spread)
1/4 pound salami, thinly sliced
1/2 small onion, thinly sliced


In a toaster oven or in an oven preheated to 500 degrees, toast the bagel halves until pale golden. Top each with some of the cheese and continue toasting until the cheese begins to melt.


Meanwhile, in a skillet over medium heat, fry the salami slices until golden, about 3 minutes. Place the salami and red onion on the bottom bagel halves. Cover with the bagel tops and serve.


Serves 2



A Perfect Tomato Sandwich

2 slices crusty bread with a dense crumb
1 or 2 ripe tomatoes
At least 1 tablespoon good butter
Flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


Toast the bread until crunchy and golden. While it's toasting, slice the tomatoes, taking out the brown core.


As soon as the toast is ready, spread it thickly with the butter. If the butter isn't salted, sprinkle a little salt on top. Then top with the tomatoes. You can overlap the slices or not, depending on how thickly you've sliced them.


Sprinkle the tomatoes with salt and grind on some black pepper. Eat with your hands. A knife and fork diminishes the tactile pleasure.


Serves 1




Martina's Kitchen Mix
My Recipe Playlist for Real Life
By Martina McBride

Published by Oxmoor House



Grapefruit Margaritas


Margarita salt (optional)
3/4 cup freshly squeezed ruby red grapefruit juice (from 1-1/2 grapefruits)
2 limes, juiced (1/4 cup)
3 ounces silver or blanco tequila
2 to 3 tablespoons Simple Syrup (recipe follows)
Garnishes: sliced grapefruit, lime wedges


1. If desired, rub the rims of 2 margarita or highball glasses with a wedge of grapefruit. Invert each glass in a shallow bowl, just a bit wider than the diameter of the glasses, filled with a thin layer of margarita salt. Gently twist the glasses to coat the dampened rims in salt. Add ice to the glasses.


2. Combine the grapefruit juice, lime juice, tequila and the Simple Syrup in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Cover with the lid, and shake vigorously until thoroughly chilled (about 30 seconds). Strain into the prepared glasses. Garnish with sliced grapefruit and lime wedges, if desired.


Serves 2


Simple Syrup

Combine 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, just until the sugar dissolves, about 5 to 6 minutes. Remove from the heat, and let cool completely.


Makes about 1 cup

Tip: Simple Syrup can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.


County Fair Orange Cake

One (15.25-ounce) package yellow cake mix
One (3.5-ounce) package lemon instant pudding mix
3/4 cup orange juice
1/2 cup vegetable oil
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons lemon zest
Orange Glaze (recipe follows)


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two (9- x 5-inch) loaf pans.


2. Stir the cake and pudding mixes in a large bowl. Add the orange juice, oil, eggs and zest; beat on low with a mixer at low speed to combine. Scrape down sides. Beat at medium for 4 minutes.


3. Pour the batter into the prepared pans. Bake 45 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on a wire rack 15 minutes; remove from pans to wire rack. Cool completely, about 1 hour. Transfer to a platter. Pour warm Orange Glaze over the cake.


Serves 16



Orange Glaze

1/2 cup sugar
cup orange juice
1/4 cup butter
1 teaspoon orange zest


Cook the sugar, orange juice and butter in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring, until the butter is melted. Cook 2 more minutes and remove from the heat; stir in the orange zest.


Tip: You can also make this in a 10-inch Bundt pan. Bake for the same amount of time.


Serves 16