Katy Sparks, an F&W Best New Chef 1998 and the new culinary director of Balducci's markets, knows busy people don't have lots of time to spend in grocery stores. That's why these tasty recipes have short shopping lists.


Tyler Florence's "Eat This Book"
Food Network star Tyler Florence shows off his talent for fast and easy recipes with style. We love his chopped-fresh-herb sauce with mint, chile, lime and onion.


Playing With a Panini Press
F&W Senior Designer Andrew Haug recently got a panini press, and he spent an entire weekend experimenting. Some of his favorite creations: pressed sugar-cake doughnuts, which develop an irresistibly crispy, caramelized crust; chocolate croissants; Gruyère, artichoke and spinach panini; burritos filled with beans and cheese; and fried egg and Parmesan sandwiches.


Corn Polenta with Cheese
Stir grated Fontina cheese, fresh corn and snipped chives into warm instant polenta; serve with roasted chicken.

Polenta Porridge
For breakfast, stir maple syrup and toasted walnuts into warm instant polenta.


Polenta Facts
Polenta is ground cornmeal that's slowly cooked with water or stock until it's thick and creamy. Often it's eaten like porridge, with grated cheese melted into it, but it can also be cooled, cut into squares and fried. Cooking polenta requires stirring it almost continuously for half an hour--otherwise it clumps. The good news is that you can get similar results from instant polenta (made with fine-ground cornmeal), which takes only about five minutes. F&W tried a wide variety of supermarket brands, all from Italy; these three were the easiest to prepare and tasted the best, with distinct corn flavor and a hearty, smooth texture.

F&W's Three Favorite Brands
La Gallinella $4 for 26 ounces.
La Grande Ruota $3 for 18 ounces.
Il Riso Beretta $3 for 16 ounces.