It’s no secret that I’m obsessed with cookbooks. I love collecting them, and when I get a new one, I read them as though they were novels…cover.to.cover! But like my jeans, even though I have a closet full of them, there are 3 or 4 that I seem to wear all the time!!! Same goes for cookbooks – even though I have shelves of them, there really are a few that I turn to time and time again. So since one of the questions I get asked the most is, “what are your favorite cookbooks?” I thought I’d share them with all you Smarties!
This list could be SOOOOO much longer, but I tried to keep it to those that I reach for over and over. I also wanted to make sure I added cookbooks with MANY recipes that I felt worked well – there’s nothing worse that spending money on a book with ONE recipe that turned out well. I will say that while I do love these cookbooks, I feel like I should point out that for the most part, I use recipes as guides. If I’m making something for the first time, I try to keep as close the recipe as possible, but I can’t help but tweak them to suit my family’s tastes (adding more or less of something etc…but rarely would I omit a main ingredient altogether…the first time any way ;o)
I’m always looking to add to my collection, so I’d LOVE to hear your favorites!!! Happy cooking!!! Xoxo!
Keepers – I LOVE the authors of this book! They are completely down to earth, working moms, who have some of the best time saving tricks, suggestions and “family friendly” recipes. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve bought this one as a gift for friends/family. Some of my favorite recipes from this book are: Shrimp with Green Curry, Japanese Style Meat and Potatoes, Chicken and Rice with Ginger Scallion Sauce, Morning Chicken…..SOOO many ‘keepers’ in this one!
Barefoot Contessa, Back to Basics – Ever wonder why you followed a recipe from a friend to the ‘T”, only to find that it’s missing “something”? Well, this book covers that “missing something”. Tips and suggestions like, “I always add another spritz of fresh lemon juice right before serving” , etc… This is a must have for anyone looking to master some great recipes that will wow your guests! Some of my favorites are: Grilled Tuna Salad, Roasted Shrimp with Orzo and Baked Shrimp Scampi (YUM!)Barefoot Contessa, How Easy is That – Another Barefoot Contessa keeper! This book is packed FULL of great tips, tricks, suggestions and fool-proof recipes with shortcuts to make your life easier. I’m obsessed with her Easy Parmesan Risotto (you bake it in the OVEN!!! No standing around stirring for me anymore, thank you very much…just watch the salt in this recipe…she’s a little heavy handed with it.) Her Steakhouse Steaks, Crostini with Tuna Tapenade and Lemon Chicken Breasts are also some of my favorites!
Pati’s Mexican Table – I can’t say enough about this cookbook! It’s one of the newer ones in my collection, and I have to say, I LOVE it!!! If you watch her cooking show (PBS), many of the recipes are on there, and that can help give you a better idea of what she’s doing with some ingredients that you might not be familiar with (i.e. cooking with dried chili’s, fresh tomatillos etc…) Her salsas are “out of this world” good!!! Make sure to make her Charred Tomato Salsa, Salsa Verde and Fresh Tomatillo and Chipotle Salsa’s!!! Sooooo good!!! A must for anyone who loves real Mexican food!
Say what you will about Giada (my little brother loves to point out that she always shows a ton of cleavage on her shows LOL), but I love her recipes. They are SUPER easy and approachable, and always seem to work out. She has quite a few cookbooks, but these are my three of my favorites that contain recipes that have become staples in our home.
Giada’s Feel Good Food
Weeknights with Giada
Another newer addition to my collection is Skinny Taste – I can’t say enough great things about this cookbook! I have made a TON of recipes from it, and none of them have let me down. While I’ve had to tweak a few here and there (for our personal preference), I’m guessing even if you made it COMPLETELY as written, that they wouldn’t let you down.
Alright, I’m adding these two NO frills cookbooks The Joy of Cooking and How to Cook Everything, which are a MUST (IMOHO) in every home cooks Cookbook Library. What they lack in pictures and flair, they make up for in its ability to help every home cook master basic recipes and skills needed in the kitchen. Want to make the perfect baked potato every time? Check. Forget the water to rice ratio? Check. How long am I supposed to cook that 11 lb turkey again so that it stays juicy? Double check!
Like I said, there are SOOO many more books that I love (I may have to do a follow up blog with my ‘Honorable Mentions’), but these all contain so many of my Go-To recipes, that I feel are approachable to cooks at so many levels (including beginners) that they had to make the top of my list. HAPPY COOKING!!!