Friday, February 7, 2014

Cookbooks and Resolutions

My New Years Resolution for 2014 is to spend more time cooking out of the cookbooks I have. There is nothing more exciting than coming home with a new cookbook with all new food possibilities. I feel like having a good cookbook collection makes it almost impossible to come up empty handed for dinner. It also makes meal planning a synch!

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When looking at a new cook book, I always take the time to first look through the index of recipes to see if several items catch my eye. Second, I pick one of those recipes to see what it entails. Getting a cookbook that requires a lot of extra ingredients or requires a lot of kitchen tools is something I steer clear of. This is not to say that a lot of things can't be adapted, but I like the simplicity of knowing that no matter what recipe I choose out of a book, I will be able to cook it without having to go above and beyond to do so. Pictured above are my Top 5 Favorite Cook Books. Admittedly with it only being February, and some of these being new, I have not cooked out of all of them. I have read through them all however, and can tell you what I know.

The Crockin Girls Slow Cookin Companion due to my parents having our house on the market, I have not been able to utilize my slow cooker. As much as people can appreciate walking into a house and having it smell delicious, it can just as easily turn them off. Also, how can you be sure they didn't open it or taste it. I'm sure that is just me being weird but either way, I am not taking any chances there. What I love about this is that they offer tons of great recipes to throw in your slow cooker and walk away only to come back to a delicious meal. It is also a great way to keep your ingredients down as many of them only have 5 or so ingredients. I am really looking forward to trying the Italian Beef Roast.

The Homemade Pantry as if setting out to cook more recipes out of all of the books you see and don't see here is challenging enough, I also want to start making more things at home rather than buying them at the store. Where I live in NJ, there are not a lot of options for fresh produce and it makes me weary to buy things that you cannot be sure about whether they are organic and such. I have steered clear of canning and making things that I can't get my hands on the freshest ingredients. Now living close to the NC Farmers Market, I am going to make it a point to do so. Alana offers 101 of the best recipes that you can easily make at home. Some of my favorites are pancake/waffle mix, ketchup and hot chocolate. She also provides great tips and tricks so you know what to expect along the way. If making things at home is for you, I highly recommend you dig into this book, you will not be disappointed.

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Jamie Deen's Good Food is my go to book for all things Southern! For those of you who are asking yourself who he is, Paula Deen is his famous mother. Jamie puts a modern yet classy twist of Southern favorites. He likes to cook with a lot of fresh ingredients which keep the meals extra healthy. I also love that this book has a lot of side recipes for sauces, vegetables, etc. It is a great added bonus. Also cute is that the back part of the book is dedicated to recipes that his young son likes to eat so for those of you looking for kid friendly recipes I would check it out! I can't stop making his Garlicky Shrimp pictured on the left. This recipe couldn't be easier to make with olive oil and garlic and you can put it over just about anything. Recently I started serving it over Orzo Pasta with a little bit of crusty bread. Ok.. I might have to make this for dinner now!

Curtis Stone What's For Dinner? has the best set up for a cookbook I have seen. Curtis breaks it down by days of the week for those of us who are not ready for Monday and anxious for Friday. The flavor profiles in his recipes are savory and mouth watering. When I tell you that his meatloaf recipe, seen in the middle picture, is one thing I could eat for dinner once a week if not more! It is so easy to throw together and my favorite part is that you don't sacrifice moisture for no vegetables. I do not like chunky meatloaf..like at all. I also prefer a more exciting sauce to cover it than ketchup, and this recipe offers both! Last Summer I got to meet Curtis at his signing for the book and he is even cuter in person and totally adorable. To quote him "Cook it up Baby!"

Carmines Family Style Cookbook is a MUST have for anyone who likes to cook italian. Italian food an be as easy or as complicated as you make it. You can buy a jar sauce or make your own, both offering a different experience. But let's be honest...not all of us have the time to make our own sauce. Carmine's offers simple sauce recipes that you can throw together on dinner night. This book offers good food without having to sacrifice time or deliciousness to do it. I love that on any given day I have almost all of the necessary ingredients. One of my favorite recipes to make from Carmine's Cookbook is the Penne with Vodka Sauce on the right. While I don't usually keep Vodka on hand to drink, I do use it for making vanilla extract, and having left over Vodka makes this the perfect dish to finish it off.


Here are my Top 5 Favorite Cookbooks! Do you have any must have cookbooks? Leave a comment and let me know! I am always looking to add to my collection.

12 comments:

  1. Hello from the link up :) LOVE a good cookbook! Thanks for giving me some more to check out ;) Hope you're enjoying a lovely weekend!!

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    1. You won't be disappointed!

      Hope you enjoyed your weekend as well and thanks for stopping by!

      Lauren

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  2. I have been digging Ottolenghi's Jerusalem cookbook lately ... so many great recipes!

    And nice to meet you though #SITSBlogging ... looking forward to following your blog!

    Kimberly @ Rhubarb and Honey

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    1. I have never heard of that but I will definitely check it out!

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Lauren

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  3. I love cookbooks. My favorites are Moosewood and any by Ina Gartin. I'm intrigued by Jamie Deen's and the Carmines' one. I love pasta. Thanks for sharing. #SITSBlogging

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    1. I had never heard of the Jamie Deen book until my Dad gave it to me for Christmas. It is honestly one of my favorites, even if I haven't cooked a lot out of it. I will definitely have to check out your suggestions. Thanks!

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  4. I need to do the same thing and also pass on the cookbooks I don't use. :(

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    1. It wasn't until I was given a cookbook for cooking Italian food that I ever thought to look for that!

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  5. I have never been a cookbook person, mostly because I never used to cook. .Pinterest is my go-to for recipes now. Though, just yesterday I dug out two cookbooks that my mom had given me and I must say I enjoyed flipping through the actual pages for inspiration.

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    1. I love Pinterest for recipes too! So many innovative home cooks out there. I also have the same feeling about the book. I like having an actual item. I just can't get behind reading books on kindles and iPads.

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  6. I love cookbooks! I will have to check some of these out. Thanks for the list. #SITSBlogging

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  7. I have a bazillion cookbooks... but I think I may have to add a couple of these to my collection!

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