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A marriage of the fast and fantastic, The Dinner Doctor proves that it's possible to cook meals for your family that taste great—and require little time, preparation, or hassle.

This is cooking that's not only about coping, but about pleasure. The first and most important step is choosing ingredients wisely. For the Dinner Doctor, that means prepared foods, whether canned, frozen, jarred, dried, or fresh from the salad bar or deli counter. Then comes the doctoring.

Jarred roasted red peppers are puréed with canned chicken broth and sour cream, and garnished with fresh chives for a memorable chilled soup for a summer dinner party. Bagged coleslaw mix is dressed up with nuts, bottle ranch dressing and pre-crumbled cheese for a Blue Cheese, Walnut, and Apple Slaw. Jars of marinara turn into Linguine with Red Clam Sauce (just add a can of clams, dry white wine, and parsley) or a zingy Saturday Night Fever Pasta—with the help of black olive paste and capers.

Even deli potato salad, as tasty as it often is, can take on a variety of personalities—enhance it with crumbled cooked bacon, or prepared horseradish, or curry powder and chopped scallions and shredded carrots. And bland chicken tenders—those saviors of quick cooking—are reinvented as Chinese Chicken, Chicken Piccata, and Curried Chicken and Apple Stew.

Making excellent use of slow cookers, embracing myriad shortcuts, boosting flavor and freshness with hundreds of ideas and quick touches, The Dinner Doctor brings all the joy of serving from-scratch meals into harried lives.

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