Book cover for MAKE IT EASY by Stacie Billis

MAKE IT EASY: 120 Mix-and-Match Recipes to Cook from Scratch–with Smart Store-Bought Shortcuts When You Need Them

Stacie Billis

Da Capo Lifelong Books
May 10, 2016
ISBN-13: 978-0738218861

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Stacie Billis, founder of the OneHungryMama blog, is also food editor at CoolMomPicks and managing editor of CoolMomEats blogs. A brand ambassador who has worked with Pillsbury and Earthbound Farm Organics, She lives with her family in Brooklyn, New York.

As a home cook, you may want to create every dish from scratch. But let’s face it: sometimes life gets in the way and you just need a 20-minute meal that will taste great and nourish your family. Stacie Billis knows the challenges home cooks face—and now she shares her tools and tips for meals that are high quality and low stress.

Want to make tacos using scratch tortillas? It’s in here! Need to make a meal quickly? No worries: Billis gives suggestions for the healthiest store-bought tortillas. Her mix-and-match recipes help you cook efficiently with minimal effort, making the most of go-to dishes without getting bored. Why make it hard on yourself to make good, delicious food your family will love? Make it easy.

Salmon Rice Bowl

Serves 4


If you want to practice loosely following recipes, start with this one. Nothing more than a simple bowl of rice topped with fish, some veggies, and a dressing, it is very forgiving.

The point is to cook a big mess of rice and fill people’s bowls as full as they want. This is the main heft of the meal, so don’t skimp. Top with fish or flake it in. I use Sesame-Crusted Salmon (page XX), but salmon roasted with nothing more than salt, pepper, and olive oil will do just as well.

I love the way avocado pairs with the Ginger Lime Vinaigrette that I use to dress these Salmon Rice Bowls and, even more, that it’s a nutrient-dense food that doesn’t require cooking. If you’re not into avocado, though, you can swap in—or add—edamame, broccoli, or even humble green peas. If you aren’t fixed on Asian flavors, this is just as good with my Everyday Vinaigrette.

Mix-and-Match with:


Ginger Lime Vinaigrette

Sesame-Crusted Salmon

12-Minute Salt and Pepper Green Beans

Quickest Sautéed Spinach

  • 2 cups uncooked rice
  • 1/4 cup mirin (optional)
  • Salt
  • 4 fillets Sesame-Crusted Salmon 
  • 2 ripe avocados, halved, pitted, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes or 1/2-inch-thick slices
  • 1 cup chopped watercress (from about 1 bunch), or baby arugula
  • Chopped fresh cilantro
  • Ginger Lime Vinaigrette

Cook the rice according to the package instructions. While still hot, toss with the mirin, if using, and season with salt to taste. If you’ve cooked the rice ahead of time, add the mirin to the cold rice before reheating it and salt to taste once it’s hot.

Divide the seasoned rice among four large bowls. Top with the salmon fillets, one for each bowl. Alternatively, flake the fillets and mix into the rice.

Top with the avocado, watercress, and cilantro. Drizzle with dressing to taste and serve immediately.

Gingered Peach Crisp

Makes one 10-inch crisp
Serves 6–8


Another example of a recipe that can fit into either section of this chapter; I chose Everyday Desserts since this is the kind of laid-back baking that’s perfect for lazy summer weekends. Sure, there’s prep and measuring and baking, but it’s all gloriously fluid. There’s no need to stress over exact measurements—a great reason to have the kids help with this one—or even exact ingredients. If you can’t find perfectly ripe peaches or the season has passed entirely, use plums. Or apples. Or pears. Throw in some berries, too, if you’re feeling sassy.

The most important thing is to flavor the fruit with a little lemon juice and spice, and to add some flour as a thickener. And, of course, having a killer crisp topping is important, too. This one works with any fruit.

Mix-and-Match with:

Maple Cinnamon Whipped Cream

  • 6 ounces (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold and cut into small pieces, plus more for baking dish
  • 4 cups peeled, sliced peaches (from 6 to 8 small to medium-size fresh, ripe peaches (you can substitute 4 cups thawed frozen peach slices, drained of their juice, or fresh nectarine, plum, apples or pears)
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (from about 1 juicy lemon)
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger, to taste
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cups old fashioned rolled oats [for consistency, yea?]
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Butter a 2-quart baking dish and set aside.

To make the filling: Place the peaches in a large bowl and toss with 1/2 cup of the brown sugar and the lemon juice, vanilla, ginger, and 2 tablespoons of the flour; set aside.

To make the topping: Combine the remaining 1/2 cup of brown sugar, remaining cup of flour, the oats, and the salt in a medium-size bowl. Scatter the cold pieces of butter across the flour mixture and, using your hands or a pastry cutter, work the butter into the dry ingredients until clumps of varying sizes form. Some crumbs will be big, others small, and much of the mixture will turn into the texture of coarse sand.

Pour the peach mixture into the prepared baking dish and cover evenly with the topping. Bake until the topping is crisp and golden brown, about 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool before serving warm, ideally with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and Maple Cinnamon Whipped Cream.

These recipes may be reproduced with the following credit:

Recipes from MAKE IT EASY: 120 Mix-and-Match Recipes to Cook from Scratch–with Smart Store-Bought Shortcuts When You Need Them by Stacie Billis. (Da Capo Lifelong Books, May 2016; $24.99/paperback; ISBN: 978-0738218861).

Contact: Miriam Riad