Thursday, February 18, 2010

Cookbook Review and Giveaway: Dollars to Donuts: Comfort Food And Kitchen Wisdom From Route 66's Landmark Rock Café by Dawn Welch

I am super excited to share this book and a recipe with you! Stay tuned and read through because I have a special treat for you!

Although recently food budgets may have shrunk, expectations for great meals haven’t and no one knows this more than Dawn Welch, Oklahoma's favorite short-order cook, restaurant owner, mother, inspiration for “Sally” in the movie Cars, and now, author of Dollars to Donuts: Comfort Food And Kitchen Wisdom From Route 66's Landmark Rock Café.

"Making the best and most of every moment in the kitchen — and every dollar spent — this upbeat, can-do guide to cooking and planning delicious meals won’t break the bank or bore your family’s taste buds.

Besides a slew of my favorite recipes from home and my restaurant, The Rock, I’m sharing lots of kitchen know-how that I’ve picked up throughout 15 years of making comfort food favorites on a grand scale—ideas that I use every day to make cooking for my family simpler and more efficient, and at the same time more varied and exciting.

In Dollars to Donuts, I show that you can have your steak and eat it, too, through 150 recipes for tasty dishes — like Paella with Spicy Sausage and Pot-Roasted Chicken with Saffron, Chickpeas, and Lemon, and decadent desserts like Chocolate-Chip Oatmeal Pie.

Every recipe is annotated with cost per serving so cooks can mix and match a week’s worth of stress-free meals on any budget. As a busy working mom who has learned to stretch her food dollars, I offer my tips and strategies for shopping, freezing, making meals ahead, and menu planning with old-fashioned, down-home sensibility.
" source

Dawn has perfected the art of cooking smart – using short-order strategies and a little bit of advance planning to rack up huge savings of time, money and effort. And rather than a semi-homemade approach, Dawn’s advice and recipes use fresh, clean ingredients so you can avoid processed foods and know what you are eating!

Her restaurant was on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives! Check it out here! (one of my fave shows!)

Be sure to visit her website for more ideas, menus and recipes, You can find her on Twitter also. The Rock Café is located at 114 W. Main St. (Route 66) in Stroud, OK 74079

We were sent a copy for review and after thumbing through all the great looking recipes (glossy pages with beautiful photos of lots of recipes) I decided I would make her Jerk-Style Chicken Thighs & Charred Pineapple Salsa. Now I've made lots of recipes using a jerk chicken seasoning before and thought they were just ok, so I was excited to try this one. The salsa recipe intrigued me too, I hadn't used a salsa recipe with jerk chicken before.

So you make the marinade up and marinade the chicken for up to a day (I did 5 hours). While the chicken is cooking ( I grilled ours) you make up the salsa (I made it before cooking the chicken so the flavors would come together). I decided to turn this into a meal like Dawn suggests serving with white steamed rice. It smelled great while grilling! I bet my neighbors were jealous! The salsa was looking great too and it was soon ready to eat.

click to see upclose

WOW!! The flavors are GREAT in this dish! I put some of everything together for a bite and was floored by how GOOD it was! I wasn't sure what flavor I was loving (the ginger? allspice? green onions? lime?) but they all worked together SO well, I really LOVED this recipe! Seriously! Mr. liked the chicken, but didn't care for the salsa (figures), 2/3 kids like it overall too. This will be a recipe repeat for sure. I am glad there's lots of leftovers (I used 3/4 of the chicken I bought), lunch for me for the rest of the week!

This recipe notes that it can be made ahead of time and freezes well! Sounds good to me already! This recipe is inspired from a trip to Jamaica Dawn took with her Grandmother. She lists this as serving 4 people for $11.80/$2.95. I was able to get this dinner for $12.99, feeding us 5 with lots of leftovers and then some extra chicken (in the freezer for another time). I also used 2 cans of pineapple in the salsa recipe and have lots of leftovers. I will note my shopping trip in the ingredients below. Now I didn't break down the Ing. amounts per penny, and I shopped at a little market place that has meat/produce prices a little cheaper than the big grocery chains here so I think I did well. I am excited to get to share the recipe with you...

8 bone in chicken thighs (I bought 4 1/2 lbs boneless thighs $6.47)

scallions (I bought 6 green onions /.50)

red onion (.30)
lime juice (I bought 3 to use .76)
garlic clove (I bought a jar of crushed garlic $1.69)

pineapple rings (I bought 2 cans $1.98/2)
red bell pepper (1/$1.29)

Jerk-Style Chicken Thighs & Charred Pineapple Salsa:

When was 18, I took my grandma to Jamaica. We snorkeled (she’d take a break in waist-deep water to smoke a cigarette), danced at reggae clubs, and ate jerk chicken. About a decade later, when I was a purser for a cruise line, we were pulling into port in Jamaica when I got a telegram informing me that my grandmother had passed away. Driving to the airport, I passed many of the places ‘We had visited on our trip. It was an amazing way to say good-bye. When I got home, I found out that she left me 25 acres of land— which ended up being the main reason I ultimately returned to Oklahoma, moved to Stroud, and found my calling at the Rock Cafe. Needless to say, spicy jerk chicken has tagged a special place in my heart.

8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, trimmed of extra skin and fat
1/2 teaspoon canola oil

3 scallions, coarsely chopped
½ small red onion, cut into large chunks (save the other half for the salsa)
Juice of 1/2 lime (save the other half for the salsa)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 ½ teaspoons red-pepper flakes
1 medium garlic clove, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 teaspoons canola oil
1 can (20 ounces) pineapple rings in juice, drained, juices reserved
½ small red bell pepper, seeded and finely diced
½ small red onion, finely chopped (about 3 tablespoons)
2 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced
Juice of ½ lime
¼ teaspoon grated fresh ginger
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon sugar
teaspoon red-pepper flakes
Freshly ground black pepper

MARINATE THE CHICKEN. Cut 3 small slashes through the skin and into the meat of each chicken thigh, using a sharp knife, cutting all the way to the bone. Place the chicken in a large bowl. Combine the scallions, onion, lime juice, olive oiled-pepper flakes, garlic, ginger, thyme, allspice, sugar, salt, and pepper in a food processor and puree until smooth. Pour the mixture over the chicken thighs and coat them well, rubbing the marinade into the slashes. Set aside while you prepare the salsa (the chicken can be marinated up to 1 day in advance).

MAKE THE SALSA. Adjust an oven rack to the uppermost position (about 3” from the broiler) and heat the broiler to high. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and grease lightly with /2 teaspoon of oil. Place the pineapple rings on the baking sheet, pat dry with paper towels, and brush lightly with half of the remaining oil. Broil until lightly charred, about 10 minutes, flip the rings over, brush with the remaining oil, and continue to broil until the second sides are lightly charred, about 5 minutes. Lower the oven rack to the lower-middle position (the rack should be about 7” from the broiler) and heat the oven to 450°F Cut the cooled pineapple into ‘4” pieces and place in a large bowl. Add the bell pepper, onion, scallions, lime juice, ginger, sugar, red-pepper flakes, 2 tablespoons of the reserved pineapple juice, salt, and pepper, toss to combine, and set aside while you cook the chicken.

BAKE THE CHICKEN. Line the bottom of a broiler pan with foil, set the top in place, and grease with ‘/2 teaspoon of oil. Using a sharp knife, cut 2 or 3 small slashes into each thigh, cutting all the way through to the bone. Remove the chicken from the marinade and place skin side up on the broiler pan. Bake until the surfaces are dry and the edges are beginning to brown, about 20 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through. Turn on the broiler and broil until the skin is crisped and deeply browned, about 5 minutes. Arrange the chicken thighs on a platter and serve with the salsa.

TAKE IT OUTSIDE: The chicken and pineapple can also be cooked on a charcoal or gas grill. Build a 2-level fire with medium-high heat on one side and medium-low on the other, and make sure that the grill grate is well oiled. Sear the chicken over the hotter side until well browned, about 3 minutes on each side, then move the pieces over to the cooler side to finish cooking, 10 to 12 minutes longer When the hotter side is free, char the pineapple rings (brush each side with oil first) on each side. The chicken is great served hot, but it can also be served warm or at room temperature.

Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Rodale Books; Original edition (November 10, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 160529571X
ISBN-13: 978-1605295718

ONE "Mommy? I'm Hungry!" reader will win a copy of Dollars to Donuts: Comfort Food And Kitchen Wisdom From Route 66's Landmark Rock Café!

(This is a must before any extra entries will be accepted!)
All you have to do is visit her website here and tell me what you like about it and why! The recipes? Videos? The tips?

Earn up to 4 extra entries by showing some "Mommy? I'm Hungry!" bloggie with these rules*!
-Please post yourself a separate comment for each, letting me know which ones you do.

2. (+1 bonus entry) Follow me on Twitter here

3. (2 bonus entries) Tweet about this giveaway using my Tweet button above, post your link here

4. (+1 bonus entry) Mention this giveaway link on your Facebook & post your link here

This Giveaway ends: 11:59 pm pst, Thursday, February 25, 2010.
Please read the fine print:
-Open to USA
- Please leave your email!
-I will verify links/names
-Winner(s) will be notified by email & announced on my Blog & Twitter the following day
-I will choose my winner(s) using
-Important! Please read about my giveaway rules HERE*

Don't forget to follow along and be the first to see new recipes, reviews and giveaways!

I wrote this review for "Mommy? I'm Hungry!" about Dollars to Donuts. I received free product for this review. All opinions for this review are that of myself & family. Some text, images & info provided by PR and her website.

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25 Lovely Comments:

Mary said...

Oh, count me in on this! Thanks for introducing me to Dawn, her cookbook, her website, her Twitter & everything! My favorite thing about her website is the My D2D Roadmap! That is an awesome feature!

mary at deepsouthdish dot com

Mary said...

I already follow you on Twitter and on Blogger Dashboard.

mary at deepsouthdish dot com

Mary said...

I tweeted using your Tweet button!

mary at deepsouthdish dot com

Peter Schott said...

Agreed - I like the fact that I'm greeted by some very tasty-looking recipes right on the home page. It's not a site designed just to sell a book. That's pretty cool. So a big thumbs-up for the recipes. I've added her site to my list of feeds I follow for cooking. Thanks for the pointer.

Stephanie said...

I love her website it's so cool and I love the menumaker! I had no idea about "Sally" from Cars my son watches it at least twice a day!

NikiTheo said...

I don't really watch video's or need the tips, but I love the recipes!!! I saw the DDD show and mmmm.... drooling.....

Anonymous said...

What a great compilation of recipes I look forawrd to trying a few!

Fibro Fog and More... said...

I visited Dawn's website and I loved her recipes! I also like the fact that she doesn't live very far from me! Thanks for hosting!

Fibro Fog and More... said...

I tweeted about the giveaway at

Fibro Fog and More... said...

I tweeted about the giveaway at Entry #2

Sonja said...

I really need to stop clicking on your links Rach, I am sitting at work, starving now. hehehe I RT'ed for ya on Twitter. ♥

Anonymous said...

I love the recipes on the site, they look delicious and make me really want to hurry and prepare them, especially the Rosemary and Thyme Roasted Chicken.

Sarah said...

Ohh, I love the savory recipes on the website. Savory foods are the best! Especially the chicken, the smell of cooked chicken is irresistible. =)

MelADramatic Mommy said...

I do not like it when recipe sites use small pictures, so thank you Dawn for the large photos!

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