Book Review: Curtis Stone’s What’s For Dinner?

CurtisStoneWhen I saw on Facebook that Curtis Stone was coming to New Jersey to promote his new book “Whats for Dinner?” I quickly tracked down “his people” and scored a shiny new copy to review. As much as I love the web, and you know I do, there’s still something about a hardcover cookbook that excites the food geek in me. For me, a glass of wine and cookbook reading is a fun Saturday night. Can’t believe I just admitted that, and yeah, I know I need to get out more.

But, not this past Saturday. I decided it was time to try one of the many delicious sounding recipes offered in this very creative collection of mostly dinner recipes.  He does end the book with a chapter called “Something Sweet” and, afterall, every good dinner deserves a dessert.

The book is divided into chapters by the days of the week which he labels: Motivating Mondays – Time Saving Tuesdays – One-Pot Wednesdays – Thrifty Thursdays – Five Ingredient Fridays – Dinner Party Saturdays – Family Supper Sundays – and the aforementioned, Something Sweet.

What I really like about the cookbook is that he delves into recipes from around the globe which makes sense given his recent hosting gig on Around the World in 80 Plates. From Chicken Masala with Cucumber Raita and Chicken Cassoulet with Fennel and Bacon to Mushroom Risotto with Fresh Herbs and Kimchi Fried Rice, this book is sure not to bore. But, since I was feeding 15 and 11 year old boys on Saturday night, I went the safer route and chose the Turkey Meatballs with Marinara Sauce.

I tell you honestly, with a Girl Scouts three finger pledge, Best Turkey Meatballs I ever had. I had to bold it just so you know I’m serious.

Here is the recipe, some action photos and where and when you can meet Curtis Stone in person.


3 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 cup finely chopped shallots

6 large garlic cloves, finely chopped

4 large sprigs of fresh thyme

1 bay leaf

1/2 cup dry white wine

Two (28 ounces each) cans of whole tomatoes, undrained

1/2 cup loosely packed torn fresh basil leaves

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Meatballs ready for fryingMEATBALLS:

1 1/2 cups cubed (1/4-inch) crustless Italian or French bread (about 2 ounces)

2/3 cup reduced-fat (2%) milk

1/2 cup finely chopped shallots

5 large garlic cloves, finely chopped

1/2 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 1/2 teaspoons sweet paprika

1 large egg

2 pounds ground turkey

1/4  cup olive oil

Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving

Turkey Meatball in SauceTO MAKE THE MARINARA SAUCE:

Heat a wide heavy pot over medium heat. Add the olive oil, then add the shallots and garlic and cook, stirring often, for about 2 minutes, or until tender but not browned. Add the thyme, bay leaf, and wine, then add the tomatoes. Crush them with a potato masher to break them up.

Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for about 25 minutes, or until the liquid has reduced slightly and the flavors are well blended. Discard the thyme stems and bay leaf. Stir in the basil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

MEANWHILE, MAKE THE MEATBALLS: In a large bowl, combine the bread cubes and milk. Set aside for about 5 minutes, or until the bread is soggy. Using your hands, mash the bread mixture. Add the shallots, garlic, parsley, thyme, mustard, salt, paprika, and egg and mix until blended. Add the turkey and, using your hands, gently mix until blended. The mixture will be soft, which will ensure tender meatballs. Form the mixture into 8 large meatballs.

Heat a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the olive oil. Working in batches, add the meatballs and cook, turning occasionally, for about 12 minutes per batch, or until browned all over. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a plate.

When the sauce is ready, add the meatballs and simmer for about 5 minutes more, or until the meatballs are cooked through, with no sign of pink.

Spoon the meatballs and tomato sauce into serving bowls. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and serve hot.

Book Signing: 

Tuesday April 09, 2013 7:00 PM

 Barnes & Noble


765 Route 17 South

Paramus, NJ 07652


Deborah Smith , Founder and Executive Editor of  Launched in 2007 as a home for her growing collection of recipes, Jersey Bites soon grew into a hub for all things edible in the Garden State. In her spare time, (Ha) she works as a Social Media consultant and speaker.  You can learn more about her services and marketing through social media on her blog