10 cookbooks you’ll be glad you checked out

Posted on May 23, 2017 at 6:00 am

Photo courtesy of “Everyday Thai Cooking” by Katie Chin

By Stefani Miller

Walking into the cookbook section at the library can be a little intimidating. There are so many books with lovely, enticing pictures on the cover. How are you supposed to choose which one to take home and which one to leave on the shelf?

Don’t panic! I’ve been testing them out in my kitchen. Here are 10 cookbooks worth reading and cooking with. Once you take a peek at these, remember you can always ask library staff for more recommendations. We don’t bite. . . unless maybe it’s lunch time.

Cravings: Recipes for All the Food You Want to Eat, by Chrissy Teigen

This cookbook from model Chrissy Teigen is made up of page after page of drool-inducing goodness. Add in Teigen’s engaging commentary and you’ve got a book that’s as fun to read as it is to cook with. As soon as it arrived at the library, all of us were fighting over it. The sign of a good book? You bet!

Recipe to try: Pad Grapow Chicken

Super easy and with eight total ingredients, this recipe is perfect for a busy weeknight. Don’t be afraid to double the recipe though—it only adds more to love!

Vegan with a Vengeance: Over 150 Delicious, Cheap, Animal-Free Recipes That Rock: Celebrating 10 Years of Vegan Domination, by Isa Chandra Moskowitz

I am not—nor will I ever be—a vegan. But I’ve got two in my family, which is how I discovered Isa Chandra Moskowitz. Her cookbook Isa Does It is now a staple in my kitchen, though I do sometimes add meat. Vegan With a Vengeance is another hit and will appeal to both vegans and non-vegans alike. Now eat your veggies!

Recipe to try: Isa Pizza

Yum! Pizza, what’s not to love? A homemade crust, some pesto and cheese, and you’re good to go. Plus, this recipe makes two pizzas, so you’ll have some left over. Cold pizza anyone?

Sweets & Treats with Six Sisters’ Stuff: 100+ Desserts, Gift Ideas, and Traditions for the Whole Family, by Six Sisters’ Stuff

Just try to flip through this cookbook and not get weak-kneed at the thought of these scrumptious desserts. Try it, I dare you. I always say the sign of a good cookbook is that you want to make every single thing on every single page. That’s the case here.

Recipe to try: Lemon Cupcakes with Raspberry Buttercream

Mmmmm. . . . Oops, sorry! I was busy salivating at the mere thought of these cupcakes. I made these on a whim and my husband told me they were the best cupcakes he’s ever eaten. Trust me, you need these cupcakes in your life.

Everyday Thai Cooking: Quick & Easy Family Style Recipes, by Katie Chin

Thai food is one of my absolute favorites. When I can make it successfully at home, it’s a big deal. The basis of Thai cuisine is a balance between sweet, sour, spicy, and salty, which is hard to achieve. This cookbook is the first one I’ve used for Thai cooking that didn’t turn into bland meals. It’s simple to follow, a little time intensive, and oh so worth it.

Recipe to try: Pineapple Fried Rice

The key here is to make the rice and then refrigerate it overnight. This results in a perfectly fluffy rice with the taste and texture you get at a restaurant.

Damn Delicious: 100 Super Easy, Super Fast Recipes, by Chungah Rhee

Do I have a girl crush on Chungah Rhee? Maybe. Try one of her recipes and soon you could be harboring one, too. I first discovered Damn Delicious on the internet after coming across some of Rhee’s recipes on Pinterest. Each recipe I tried turned out exactly like the pictures (a rarity), and they tasted amazing! Rhee’s first cookbook is filled with even more simple, quick, and delicious recipes you will love.

Recipe to try: Chicken Lettuce Wraps

A lot like P.F. Chang’s wraps, except they’re made in your kitchen and done in twenty minutes. What could be better? Nothing.

Bonus: If you are a Pinterest user, check out Damn Delicious Baked Honey Mustard Chicken and Damn Delicious Cajun Chicken Pasta.

Thug Kitchen: Eat Like You Give a F*ck: The Official Cookbook,** by Thug Kitchen LLC

Up your street cred and your cooking game with this delightfully off-color cookbook, which will not-so-gently force you to stop making excuses and start eating vegetables. All my vegan and vegetarian friends swear by this cookbook. Just be ready for a few f-bombs along the way.

Recipe to try: Roasted Chickpea and Broccoli Burritos

Chickpeas and broccoli are oven roasted with a smoky, zesty spice blend. It’s all then lovingly wrapped in a tortilla. Not feeling the burrito? Ditch the tortilla. The veggies make a great side dish all on their own.

**Recommended for cooks who are 18 years and older.

The Minimalist Baker’s Everyday Cooking: 101 Entirely Plant Based, Mostly Gluten-Free, Easy and Delicious Recipes, by Dana Shultz

“Entirely Plant-Based and Entirely Yummy” should be the title for this book. Yes, you’ll need ingredients you may not be used to cooking with (like nutritional yeast and agave nectar), but believe me there’s nothing scary about these recipes except for how scary good they are.

Recipe to try: Garlic “Cheddar” Herb Biscuits

If you’ve ever had the cheesy, fluffy goodness that is a Red Lobster cheese biscuit, then you know why I picked this one. If you haven’t, stop what you’re doing and make this recipe now! There’s no time to waste when biscuits are at stake.

Lorena Garcia’s New Taco Classics, by Lorena Garcia

A while back, I was talking to a two-year-old about what food we both liked to eat. After listing toddler staples like cereal and mac-and-cheese, my cute-as-a-button companion said, “I like tacos.” I was quick to agree with her. I don’t care if it’s Tuesday or not, there’s never a bad time for tacos.

The one’s you’ll find here edge more toward sophisticated than basic, meaning you may have to visit your local Mexican grocer. But don’t let that intimidate you, they are worth it.

Recipe to try: Tostadas al Pastor

(Disclaimer: I made these as tacos instead of tostadas.)

Al Pastor-style tacos are a favorite of mine when I eat at Mexican restaurants, and because of that I have been hesitant to try and make them at home. After picking up Garcia’s book, I decided to give the recipe a try. Let me tell you these are some of the best, maybe even the best, homemade tacos I’ve ever made.

The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Food from My Frontier, by Ree Drummond

There’s a lot to love about Ree Drummond. She serves up delicious and robust recipes that are always cowboy approved. She’s funny. She’s sweet. But the best thing about her is she takes step-by-step pictures of her recipes so you can see each as you go along. Her cookbooks are exceptionally easy to use—a real bonus for any home chef.

Recipe to try: Whisky Mustard Meatballs

Whisky and mustard!? Oh yes! Adults, don’t let the whisky freak you out. Kids can eat these—the alcohol cooks right out.

Rao’s Classics, by Frank Pellegrino Sr. and Frank Pellegrino Jr.

Ah, Italian food, you will always have a special place in my heart and my tummy. With the help of Rao’s Classics these recipes taste even better than usual! The only challenge is picking when to prepare them all.

Recipe to try: Filetto di Pomodoro

Fancy name, simple dish. It’s rigatoni pasta in tomato sauce, but you add pancetta (a.k.a. Italian bacon. And you know what? Bacon makes everything better.). Plus, I’m pretty sure that a steaming bowl of pasta can cure anything from a broken heart to a bad day at work.

Well, there you have it: 10 cookbooks you’ll be glad you checked out. Find these and more in the non-fiction section, call numbers 641.5–644.

From my kitchen to yours, bon appetite!

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