Don't Panic--Quick, Easy, and Delicious Meals for Your Family by Susie Martinez, Vanda Howell, and Bonnie Garcia - Read Online
Don't Panic--Quick, Easy, and Delicious Meals for Your Family
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Your family can have great meals even when you are on the run. The ladies who brought you Don't Panic--Dinner's in the Freezer now offer busy cooks Don't Panic--Quick, Easy, and Delicious Meals for Your Family. From quick meals made on the grill or in the sauté pan to crockpot dishes that require little prep and cook while you're out for the day, the recipes in this cookbook are tasty, nutritious, and require less hands-on preparation than traditional meals. Easy appetizers and desserts, one-dish casseroles and pastas, simple soups, salads, and side dishes, and even fast breakfasts round out the selections. Meals that are freezer-friendly are marked for those who want to make ahead.

You don't have to settle for feeding your family commercially packaged meals full of sodium and preservatives or fat-laced fast food. Serve them quick and healthy meals from your very own kitchen with this easy-to-use cookbook.
Published: Baker Publishing Group on
ISBN: 9781441236166
List price: $14.99
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Don't Panic--Quick, Easy, and Delicious Meals for Your Family - Susie Martinez

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© 2012 by Susie Martinez, Vanda Howell, and Bonnie Garcia

Published by Revell

a division of Baker Publishing Group

P.O. Box 6287, Grand Rapids, MI 49516-6287

Ebook edition created 2012

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means—for example, electronic, photocopy, recording—without the prior written permission of the publisher. The only exception is brief quotations in printed reviews.

eISBN 978-1-4412-3616-6

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data is on file at the Library of Congress, Washington, DC.

The internet addresses, email addresses, and phone numbers in this book are accurate at the time of publication. They are provided as a resource. Baker Publishing Group does not endorse them or vouch for their content or permanence.

Susie’s Dedication

Susie Martinez dedicates this book in loving memory of Laurel McGilchrist, a beautiful and trusted friend. I am so thankful you shared your life with me, Laurel. As we navigated our way through life’s joys and heartaches over the years, you were there to listen, care, and love magnificently. In your exhausting battle with a disease that would steal like a thief, you exhibited unfailing faith and trust in God. I saw him walk with you, hold you, and bring you peace. I watched in complete awe as you touched the lives of many for his glory. Although time with you was too short, I know that you are now with God, free from pain and suffering. You were a gracious and delightful light in my life. I love you, my friend, and even as you live forever in my heart, I miss you always.

Vanda’s Dedication

Vanda Howell dedicates this book to: my husband, Mike, who is always so grateful for whatever meal I put before him (whether at 6 p.m. or 9 p.m.). To my son, Elliott, who appointed himself as my personal food critic: with your love for food (and superfast metabolism) I have no doubt that one day you will become a professional food critic. To my mom, brother, sister, and their families—Flo Kitashima; Tim, Shirlene, and Ani Kulin (Ani, we waited so long to finally have you here—you are amazing!); and Bryan, Shari, and Lucca Kitashima (Lucca, even though we are an ocean apart, I get to see you grow up via your dad’s proud [constant] videos/pics and emails.): thanks to all of you for always being my encouragement—I love you all very much!

Bonnie’s Dedication

Bonnie would like to dedicate this latest Don’t Panic project to her family: you have been with me through every step of the journey. From the time the first Don’t Panic book came into being over fourteen years ago to now, you have believed in me and cheered me on. Even when I thought the last book had been written, you encouraged me to keep cooking and keep writing. Steve, Nathan, Daniel, and Johnny—I love you with all my heart.



Title Page

Copyright Page




Introduction: Simple and Easy . . . at Last!

Cooking Quick and Easy

Deciphering the Code: A Key to Our Recipe Icons


Small Bites and Appetizers

Breakfast, Breads, and Brunch

Soups, Salads, and Sides

Pasta, Pasta

Crockpot Collection

Easy Baked Oven Dishes

Grate Grills and Marinades

Savory Skillets and Quick Sautés

Desserts Divine

Eliminating the Guesswork: Helpful Measurements, Equivalents, Weights, and Servings

Recipe Index

About the Author

Other Books by Author

Back Ads

Back Cover


We all need to eat. And someone is generally assigned the job of making sure we eat. Whoever has this duty eventually becomes exhausted with the endless task and begins to seek assistance.

The previous two Don’t Panic cookbooks helped you store dinners in your freezer so they were on hand in a moment’s notice. This book also follows the concept of readily available meals but approaches the mission in another way. Here we provide you with recipes that require 30 minutes or less of hands-on preparation time. And the meals are fantastic.

We are so excited about every recipe selection you will find here! When this book was complete, our families went through mourning because the anticipation of what new and spectacular savory delight would appear on our tables each week had come to an end. But for you, the journey is about to begin.

So gather your loved ones around the table tonight and serve them something quick, delicious, and brand-new for dinner. Your taste buds will think they have gone somewhere wonderful for vacation. Enjoy!


Thank you to so many of our dear friends and readers for your input, comments, and support over the years. To those of you who contributed to this book through proofreading, taste testing, and recipe submissions, we thank you. We would like to acknowledge the following people whose recipes were included in this book. In our opinion these recipes are real winners!

Laura Beutler

Shirley Burke

Alivia Butler

Shannon Butler

Virginia Cebell

Lori Fox

Beverly Garrison

Cathy Healy

Jodi Heiser

Ruth Holm

Tylene Howell

Susan Jones

Cassie Martinez

Donna Mayberry

Heidi Messer

AnnMarie Moseley

Paula Rome

Jack Sunahara

Marcia Sunahara

Debbie White

Jeanie Wilking

Pam Zundel


Simple and Easy . . . at Last!

Many things in life are simple in concept yet not very easy to do. We run into these things every day. For many of us, cooking at home is like this. It is simple in concept, but it isn’t easy to pull off. In fact, the task of riffling through recipes and preparing a meal has been known to drive many women out the front door and straight to a chick-flick at the end of the day . . . leaving behind her husband, kids, and dog to fend for themselves.

If you are familiar with the previous Don’t Panic cookbooks, then you know we base our books on a few simple concepts.

First, we provide you with recipes that truly taste good. Most cookbooks contain a greater volume of recipes than you’ll find in the Don’t Panic cookbooks. However, in those books you have to kiss a lot of frogs before you meet your prince. You may find one or two recipes in a book that you like and your family will eat. Then you put the book away until you make that meal again. Every recipe in our books tastes great because we work with a recipe until it meets our highly selective standards. So you can rest assured that you will enjoy the meal you put your time, energy, and money into preparing.

(One really fun thing in writing this book is we are finally able to share some of our longtime favorite recipes with you that we left out of our previous books because they are not suitable for the freezer.)

Second, the ingredients are items you can pronounce and are usually found in your kitchen. Our recipes do not require a Google search to define or a scavenger hunt to the next town to locate the ingredients.

Third, we help you simplify meal preparation and get the most out of the amount of time and energy you invest. Our first two Don’t Panic books are freezer cookbooks—they teach a simple method of cooking that leaves your freezer full of wonderful meals.

This book takes a different turn and helps you conserve time and energy by providing you with delicious recipes that can be prepared in a short amount of time. So, with this book, we offer you one thing that is truly simple and easy (at last!). If you have 30 minutes (or less) to devote to preparing a meal, then try one of the recipes on the pages that follow. Look forward to the adventure . . . your family, friends, and guests will think that you cooked all day!


Cooking Quick and Easy

Let’s face it; most of us live life on the run. And the three of us can attest we are no exception! As has always been the case, we are forever on a quest for how to make life easier, especially in the kitchen. Hopefully the recipes in this book will help you get dinner on the table quickly—with less than 30 minutes of hands-on prep time. We have a few other suggestions from personal experience that you might find helpful as well:

Plan out five meals for the week and incorporate them into a weekly meal calendar. The other two nights of the week, eat leftovers or treat yourself to takeout!

Invest in a warehouse membership and use it to buy large pantry items such as foil, plastic wrap, and freezer bags. Also, other staples such as cheese, butter, eggs, soy sauce, nuts, chocolate chips, vanilla, olive oil, spices, and seasonings are much more reasonably priced than at the local grocery store. If you don’t have a large family, consider going in with a friend and splitting up the goods! However, we have found the best bet for meat prices is the weekly loss leaders at your local grocery store (see next suggestion).

Shop the loss leaders. Local grocery stores feature loss leader items each week that they advertise in their weekly ads. Get in the habit of checking these out each week and cooking according to what’s on sale. You will save a ton just by doing this one simple step. For example, when chicken is on sale, try to feature chicken recipes at least a couple of times during that week. Also, prepare at least one chicken recipe that can be frozen and make it in quantity—have one for dinner and freeze the remainder to be used down the road when life is especially hectic.

Organize your trips to the grocery store. You will save time and money by planning out your meals. It will keep you from spending money on impulse buys, and you will save time by going to the grocery store less often. I find I am much more organized and efficient if I have my planned weekly menu in front of me and construct my shopping list based on the menu before I ever walk into the store! Consider making a blueprint of your grocery store and listing the items on your shopping list according to your grocery store layout.

Keep regular inventory items on hand. As you get started, keep track of the recipes you use over the course of a month. Look at common ingredients you use over and over again, and get in the habit of keeping these items on hand. This will keep you from making unneeded trips to the grocery store for one or two items and will save you time and money! Common ingredients we use in this book include the following.

Pantry Items

Baking ingredients: flour, sugar, brown sugar, powdered sugar, baking soda, baking powder, vanilla, chocolate chips

Canned goods: tomato products, diced green chiles, broths, jalapeño peppers, black beans, refried beans

Condiments: vinegars, pickles, mustards, ketchup, olives, sun-dried tomatoes, pesto, salsa

Dried herbs and spices: kosher salt, pepper (fine and course), red pepper flakes, cayenne pepper, ginger, garlic salt, chili