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Cookbook review: 'Simply Delicious Sunday Dinners' offers recipes for easy, home-cooked dinners

"SIMPLY DELICIOUS SUNDAY DINNERS," by Dina Foglio Crowell, Front Table Books, $16.99, 160 pages

For food blogger and cookbook author Dina Foglio Crowell, Sunday is a day to stop scrambling around and sit down for a home-cooked dinner as a family.

“Simply Delicious Sunday Dinners” helps make that happen with more than 80 recipes with easy-to-find ingredients to put 50-plus made-from-scratch meals on the table.

Crowell starts the cookbook with a handy cooking glossary, which defines the most common food preparation methods and cooking tools used in the recipes.

All of the recipes are family favorites of Crowell’s youth or tried-and-tested ones from her current family’s dinner table. They range from the savory to the sweet, often both at the same time, a signature of Crowell’s.

They are organized in main dish sections such as “Chicken, Pork Chops and Lamb,” “Simple Pastas and Seafood,” and “Homestyle Favorite Beef Dinners.” There are also “Warm You Up Soups and Stews” and “Fresh Homemade Sides” sections to help complete the meal. The “Family Favorite Desserts” section includes recipes for cakes, pies, cobblers and puddings to satisfy that after-dinner sweet tooth.

Each recipe includes time-saving tips and, when applicable, a make-ahead option. Crowell includes a simple introduction describing the dish and stating how many it feeds and how much time it takes to complete the meal. There are color photos of many of the recipes.

The mouthwatering photos and easy-to-follow instructions will help bring the family back into the kitchen and around the table for a delicious Sunday meal.

*****

JALAPENO POPPER MAC AND CHEESE

Serves: 6-8

This embellished macaroni and cheese was inspired by my dad’s favorite recipe for jalapeño poppers. It’s made with all of the same ingredients — only it’s tossed with macaroni and devoured by the forkful instead of by the handful.

1 pound elbow macaroni

1 stick butter

1 cup panko bread crumbs

2 cups half-and-half

1 (8-ounce) block of cream cheese, room temperature

2 cups shredded white cheddar cheese

1 cup shredded pepper jack cheese

2 jalapeños, 1 finely chopped and 1 thinly sliced

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

pinch of salt (if desired)

Set an oven rack 6 inches from the heat source and heat the oven to 400 degrees.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the macaroni and cook al dente, 6 minutes. Drain pasta in a colander and set aside.

Melt butter in a microwavable bowl for 30 seconds or until melted. Mix with 1 cup of panko bread crumbs and set aside.

In a large saucepan, heat half-and-half on medium heat until it comes to a simmer. Add the cream cheese and stir until completely melted. Whisk in the white cheddar and pepper jack cheeses until melted and the sauce is smooth and lump-free. Stir in chopped jalapeño and a pinch of salt. Add cooked pasta and mix thoroughly.

Pour pasta mixture into a 13-by-9-inch baking dish. Evenly spread panko and butter mixture over macaroni and cheese. Lay the sliced jalapeños evenly on top of the bread crumbs and sprinkle with cayenne pepper. Bake until the cheese is bubbly and the bread crumbs are lightly browned and crispy, about 10 minutes.

— "Simply Delicious Sunday Dinners" by Dina Foglio Crowell

Tara Creel is a Logan native turned California girl, and mother of four boys. Her email is taracreel@gmail.com, and she blogs at taracreelbooks.wordpress.com.