I enjoy cooking. And everyone in my house enjoys eating. For the most part, we eat just about anything. We’ll at least try it once. I’ve been pulling out a cookbook more often to find some new recipes to mix into our usual routine. And I want to share my current favorites with you.
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At the end of December I had my husband look through a bunch of our cookbooks and flag recipes he was interested in trying. He went through about 8 different cookbooks and then I wrote down everything that he chose.
And so began the meal planning. I picked out a recipe for every day in January and made a grocery list. By making sure I picked things that had similar ingredients I kept it as efficient as possible and off we went.
I had this idea originally for a few reasons. Not only to try new recipes and shake up our usual options. But also so that we could have fun cooking together. (Okay that is more for me.) And also, to meal plan effectively with the goal of cutting the food portion of our budget down as much as possible.
January was a very good month for us in all those regards. And we found a few recipes that we will definitely make again.
The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Dinnertime
I have really enjoyed this cookbook a lot. Probably the most so far. One of my favorite things about it is that there are pictures of each step in the recipe. It makes it really hard to mess up!
And there are SO many different kinds of recipes in here. There are freezer friendly options, quick meals, comfort foods, tons of different types of sides, plus soups and salads inside. We’ve tried several things out of this cookbook and have enjoyed them all. We have quite a few more on the list to try too!
So far, my family has tried chicken enchiladas, which we enjoyed. But just know that they are spicy! Lots of jalapeno in there! The cobb salad was also really good. She even has a recipe for homemade blue cheese dressing to go with it. I had never had huevos rancheros before but this came out pretty good even though cooking the eggs like that was stressing me out! Except for that one time I have always been a runny yolk, solid whites kind of girl. And when we saw there was an orange chicken recipe, we knew we had to make it. Mmmmmm Chinese food.
Be sure to grab yourself a copy of The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Dinnertime to add to your cookbook collection!
The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook
Stuart got this for me for Christmas. And I have to say, I absolutely LOVE it. It has quickly become one of my (our) favorite cookbooks! I am obsessed with Harry Potter, so the fact that it literally tells you the book and page number every item is mentioned on is absolutely amazing. It feels like you can really be there with everyone at Hogwarts!
Being that I am not British, some of the things in here I have never heard of. However, I am excited to cook them!
We made Mulligatawny soup, which was probably our favorite recipe out of everything we had in January. And we did 23 new recipes! It was quick, relatively inexpensive, and super yummy. The book even gives you a little background on where it came from.
Stuart really likes the Paddington burgers. He decided to make them a second time for lunch (while watching both kids because I was in the garden) because he liked them so much.
Then we made a roast beef with Yorkshire pudding. I had never made Yorkshire pudding before but I think it went pretty well!
Get The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook and enjoy the food with Harry, Ron, and Hermione!
The America’s Test Kitchen New Family Cookbook
This is a giant cookbook. My mother in law, Mary, got it for me the Christmas after Stuart and I got engaged. It has just about everything you could imagine it in. And the best part is it explains how to do just about anything too. It even explains why what they do works, which is really interesting too.
I’ve made several things from this and they have all been enjoyable. We’ve made blondies (more than once!), chicken adobo, French onion soup (big hit with Stuart!), and eggplant parmesan so far. And we have TONS more that we plan to make from it too.
This book goes into detail on a lot of techniques and proper handling of different foods. Which helps a lot when you are wanting to do new things but aren’t sure what the recipe is asking of you. The descriptions and instructions are very detailed, but not difficult to follow.
It is broken down by type of meat (chicken, pork, seafood, etc.) which makes it really easy to flip through if you got chicken out for dinner but don’t know what to make with it!
The blondies. But they are super delicious. I could eat the entire pan (but I won’t because Stuart would be mad he didn’t get any!) And they have you line the pan with foil so it’s super easy to clean afterward too.
Grab The America’s Test Kitchen New Family Cookbook for yourself!
The Pioneer Woman Cooks: A Year Of Holidays
These cookbooks are quickly becoming some of my favorite. I have only done 1 recipe out of this one so far, but Stuart tagged about 40 others to try.
The first one I made was Dr Pepper cupcakes. This is mostly due to the fact that Stuart got Dr Pepper at the store, so I had everything I needed. There is something you need to know. I don’t drink soda. I haven’t in about 7 years. And even when I did, I didn’t drink Dr Pepper. But it is one of Stuart’s favorites.
Another important note on this one. I am not overly crazy about cake. I would much rather brownies, cookies, or pie. But Stuart really wanted to try these cupcakes. So I made them. I had to adjust the frosting a bit to get the right consistency, which had me concerned. But Stuart said it absolutely made the cupcakes. Let me tell you, these are good. Even I have eaten several of them. Stuart thinks they are just great.
But enough about the cupcakes. This cookbook has SO many awesome recipes in it. And in true Pioneer Woman style, they all have step by step pictures, my favorite part.
In this book, she goes through each holiday throughout the year and gives recipes fitting for each occasion. From Easter and Thanksgiving, to Super Bowl Sunday and Halloween, they are all in here.
Get a copy of The Pioneer Woman Cooks: A Year of Holidays and enjoy the holidays all year long.
Try New Things
I am sharing all this with you because we have really enjoyed trying all these new recipes so far. I used to cook a decent amount of different meals, enough so that we didn’t have to have the same thing twice in 2 weeks if we didn’t choose to. But it was getting old. And we were wanting to do something new.
I also enjoy cooking and it had started to feel like a chore. But now it is fun again. We do it together a lot and that is the best part about it. The kitchen should be a place that life happens for your family. And over the past few months, it has been exactly that for us. I plan to keep on trying new recipes while revisiting some of the ones we have really enjoyed.
What are your favorite recipes and cookbooks? I’d love to check them out too!