Friday, January 6, 2012

If you're going to buy ONE cookbook....


This, my friends, is the cookbook that has changed my outlook on serving home cooked meals that actually taste good and don't take me 2 hours to make!

When I first got married, I did not know how to cook.  This is a shame because I come from a family of amazing cooks but I never took an interest in learning.  When my husband met me, it was not uncommon for me to eat pancakes two meals a day (I sometimes even made chocolate chip pancakes for dessert after eating regular pancakes for dinner..sigh).

I bought my first cookbook one week into our marriage.  I went to our local Barnes and Noble and found the recipe book with the least amount of instructions and with as few ingredients as possible.

This is what I came up with:
 I bought the Bridal Edition of the Betty Crocker Big Red Cookbook!  For a couple years this had been my go to cookbook.  The recipes are abundant, easy and are made with ingredients you find around the house (or at least at a regular grocery store!)  Things were okay...I was learning to cook, my husband appreciated having home cooked meals and I was beginning to think I had this whole cooking thing under my belt.  Problem was, taste wise the meals were...just barely okay.  We found ourselves craving take out food, wanting to go out to restaurants...ANYTHING just not to eat out of this cookbook every single night.

Then one Christmas, my sister-in-law bought me a cook book with THE MOST AMAZING recipes you have EVER tasted.  Seriously.  Imagine having the recipe to every gourmet meal you can ever dream of right at your fingertips!  The cookbook was The New Best Recipe Cookbook.

Sadly, the recipes here are intense to make.  Although I still use this cookbook now and again (for very special occasions)...I need to have the kitchen all to myself to make it.  It's not the kind of cookbook where you can make the recipes with a baby on your hip and a toddler asking you to get gum out of her hair.

Fast forward to my birthday a few years back and my same sister in law bought me The BEST 30-minute recipe book!  This cookbook is from the editors of Cook's Illustrated, the same editors as the cookbook I mentioned above.  Now in this book, you can have the same amazing tasting meals in literally 30 minutes!!!

I currently menu plan one week in advance.  This week, every single meal I cooked came from this cookbook!  My favorites are: Tortellini Soup (which got my kids to love spinach...yes I did say LOVE spinach!), Vegetarian Bean Chili (which got my meat-loving husband to actually prefer this dish over it's meat counterpart!), Skillet Lasagna, Sopa Seca (A Mexican dish with toasted noodles) and Skillet Tamale Pie.  Am I making you hungry yet?

It is actually a pleasure to cook from this cookbook...I love having these delicious meals that my family raves about and I especially love that I can whip them up right after naptime and have dinner ready before the kids (and I) get cranky!


  1. I am going to keep my eye open for this cookbook. I am in need of a great fast recipes.
    Thanks Nicole!

  2. Thanks for the tips! I have 3 small boys and one on the way.. I have been feeling guilty lately because the oldest (7yrs old) hasn't eaten a fruit or vegetable regularly in over 2 years! This is particularly because he's lived through the birth of his two brothers and had to endure my fast food cravings! So now, that's all he wants and I am desperate to change it.. The other two are not as bad, but they follow his lead when he says something looks or taste gross, or if there are any "green things" in his spaghetti sauce, etc. Yes I got my work cut out for me but If you can do it I feel I can too! Keep the suggestions coming!! :)