This evening, millions of people in households everywhere will be asking that age old question; “What’s for dinner?” Will you have an answer?
If you’re like me, sometimes you struggle with what to make for dinner. On some days you barely have enough time and energy to boil water (for those evenings I suggest you take a look at the article 5 Easy and Tasty Meals). For the other days when you feel like a chef from a five star restaurant and you want your meal to reflect that attitude, here is a list of my all time favorite cookbooks. I’ve also included some of my favorite recipes.
My 10 Favorite Cookbooks
1. Eat Well Live Well by Pamela M. Smith, R.D.: This cookbook is packed full of flavorful and delicious healthy recipes. Smith is a registered dietitian, who began her career working as a nutritionist for a hospital oncology unit. Her task was to provide the patients with high nutrient meals. After working with extremely ill patients, Smith developed a personal vision, “To work with people before they become ill; to help them adopt an eating lifestyle that will prevent, not treat, disease.” Her cookbook provides information on nutrition and simple principles to eating healthy. The recipes are so tasty that most people don’t realize they are also healthy.
Favorite Recipes: Lasagna with homemade sauce; Minestrone; Baked Macaroni and Cheese; Broccoli-Cheese Frittata; Swiss Baked Potato; Beef Bourguignon; Pepper Steak; Marvelous Meat Loaf; Peanutsy Surprise Cupcakes; Oatmeal Raisn Cookies; Cake Alternative; Chilled Peach Pie; Strawberry-Pineapple Yogurt Pie; Applesauce Pudding.
2. Linda’s Kitchen by Linda McCartney: The late author was known for her stance on animal rights and she was a staunch vegetarian. This cookbook contains over 200 delicious and inspiring vegetarian recipes and offers a blueprint for a vegetarian way of life. Although I am not a vegetarian, I nevertheless enjoy many of the meatless meal found in this book.
Favorite Recipes: Garden Soup with Pesto; Eggplant and Herb Casserole; Traditional Enchiladas; Light Vegetable Tempura; Risotto; Summer Stew; Vegetable Soufflé; Baked Corn Pudding; Corn Chowder; Chili non Carne.
3. The Whimsical Bake House (Fun-To-Make Cakes That Taste As Good As They Look!) by Kaye Hansen and Liv Hansen: This fascinating cookbook is full of fun, colorful pictures as well as easy to follow instructions for making the most amazing cakes ever! Kaye and Liv Hansen believe that a cake should taste as good as it looks. With time-tested tips and complete information on everything from mixing colors to adjusting pan sizes, the book explains all you need to know to get started on making a fun and whimsical cake.
Favorite Recipes: Tipsy Birthday Bash cake; Oh Baby cake; Quilting Bee cake; Safari cake; New York, New York cake; Summer Daze cake; Mini Birthday cake.
4. Barefoot Contessa Parties by Ina Garten: This is a great cookbook for entertaining and Ina Garten is the queen of entertaining! In this book, Garten shares ‘secrets’ she learned from her years as a caterer and dedicated party host. You will find information to help you give parties like a professional with recipes that are easy to prepare and a treat to enjoy.
Favorite Recipes: Filet of Beef with Gorgonzola Sauce; Cinnamon Honey Butter; Sour Cream Coffee Cake; Lobster Rolls; Mango Salsa; Oven-Roasted Fruit; Panzanella Salad; Popovers; Cranberry Conserve; Chinese Chicken Salad.
5. Mesa Mexicana by Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger: These two chefs own a number of restaurants, including the Border Grill in Los Angeles, California. In Mesa Mexicana, they offer their unique interpretations of the tastes of coastal Mexico with a bold, colorful cuisine that excites the palate and satisfies the desire for earthy, rustic flavors. The recipes are healthy and inexpensive to make.
Favorite Recipes: Homemade Salsa with Ancho Chile; Achiote Citrus Marinade; Empanadas; Enchiladas Frescas; Gaucho Stuffed Rib Eye Steak; Chicken Torta; Chilaquiles; Ceviche; Citrus Cheesecake; Fried Apple Tart; Guava Cheese Tart.
6. Cooking for Kids by Publications International, Ltd.: This cookbook has some of the best recipes to make with kids. The book includes recipes from well known companies and organizations such as Bestfoods; Campbell Soup; Dole; Hershey; Hormel; Kraft; Lawry’s; Lipton; M&M/Mars; Nestlé; Oreo; J.M. Smucker, and many more!
Favorite Recipes: Chocolate Chip Waffles; French Toast Sticks; Cinnamon-Raisin Rolls; Philadelphia® Fruit Dip; Inside-Out Turkey Sandwiches; Funny Face Pizzas; Sweet and Sour Chicken Nuggets; Cowboy Burgers; Ice Cream Cone Cakes.
7. Jewish Cookbook by Florence Greenberg: Dietary laws are defined and Greenberg explains how to set up a kitchen for the preparation of Jewish food, what utensils to use, how to prepare koshered meat, and what special foods are needed for the various festivals during the year. This cookbook includes all the traditional recipes, handed down from generation to generation.
Favorite Recipes: Chicken Soup; Potato Pancakes; Matzo Fritters; Carrot Pudding; Jordan Cakes; Hungarian Goulash; Chicken Croquetts; Chestnut Stuffing; Apple Sauce.
8. The Pie and Pastry Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum: With over 300 recipes, this is the ultimate pie and pastry cookbook! Easy to follow, step by step recipes with a chapter featuring ‘foolproof’ pie crusts. Beranbaun provides countless tips to help solve any problems, including the ‘secrets’ to making a juicy fruit pie with a crips bottom crust.
Favorite Recipes: Flaky Cream Cheese Pie Crust; Flaky Cheddar Cheese Pie Crust; Bittersweet Chocolate Cookie Tart Crust; Basic Flaky Pie Crust; Deluxe Flaky Pie Crust; Open-Faced Double Strawberry Pie; Perfect Peach Pie; Lemon Meringue Pie; Coconut Ice Cream Pie; Chocolate Peanut Butter Mousse Seven-Tier Tart; Hungarian Poppy Seed Strudel.
9. The Good Life by Pamela Smith: This is a follow-up to Eat Well Live Well, and is the second cookbook by Pamela Smith to make this list; her healthy recipes are just that good! Smith has defeated the myth that healthy food has to be boring and tasteless.
Favorite Recipes: Fire-Roasted Pepper Sauce; Pasta e Fagioli; Chili in a Hurry; Red Lentil Chili; Southwest Cornbread; Cornbread Dressing; Sweet Potato Casserole; Mom’s Tropical Fruit Salad; Strawberry Yogurt Pie; Angel Food Celebration Cake.
10. The Soy Zone by Barry Sears, Ph.D.: Soy is the fastest-growing food product in America today. It has no cholesterol or saturated fat, but plenty of protein, vitamins, and fiber. In this book, Dr. Sears reveals his healthiest Zone diet and provides scientific findings on the benefits of soy.
Favorite Recipes: Tofu Antipasto; Teriyaki Tofu Salad; Spinach and Tofu Quicherole; Soyburger; Chunky Miso Soup; Stir-Fry Tofu with Peppers and Peanuts.
For more information on other topics, see the following articles: