I’m on a mission to dust off all of my cookbooks that have been sitting on the bookshelf, neglected over the years as the internet has become my primary source for recipes. Alas, these cookbooks will finally be put to good use as I make my way through them, cooking up a storm. I intend to cook as many recipes from each of them that is feasible and document the experiment, rating each recipe with my thoughts and opinions. I’ve set some ground rules including budget and flexibility on ingredients. You can read more about these ground rules here. Each cookbook has its own link with all the recipes in the book and links to posts of the recipes I’ve tried so far. For our favorite recipes, I’ve marked them in the list with a ♥. These are the recipes that I’ve either made a few times because we love it so much or they are recipes that I will definitely make again. Of course, not all recipes can be winners. In fact, there are a few that Nick and I hated and will never make again. Those recipes are marked with a ♠. But don’t judge a recipe by my opinion! If you try any of the recipes out for yourself, let me know what you think! Diving into my cookbook library, here is my collection:
This cookbook is based on a vegetarian or almost vegetarian diet with lots of flexible recipes that suit those who don’t eat any meat to those who eat chicken and fish. While it serves as a double challenge for Project Cookbook (different protein source changes the overall outcome of the recipe), this cookbook is very flexible to suit different diets. To see the recipes in this cookbook as well as those that I’ve tackled, click HERE.
By Cary Neff
This is one of my more intimidating cookbooks and that is probably why I often shy away from it. Author, Cary Neff was formerly the executive chef at Miraval in the Balance Resort and Spa. The recipes in this cookbook use fresh ingredients and shy away from already prepared ingredients, such as broths. While many of the recipes seem to be labor-intensive, there are a few that are simple enough and not intimidating for a home cook. Click HERE to see a list of recipes in this cookbook along with those that I’ve tackled.
D: The Cookbook
By D Magazine and Dallas’ most celebrated chefs
A new addition to my cookbooks in late 2013, this collection is compiled by D Magazine and includes numerous recipes from Dallas’ most celebrated chefs and restaurants. I would love to make each item, then go to the restaurant where the dish hails from to compare how I did, but I’m not sure my schedule and wallet will handle that fun challenge. Unlike the rest of the cookbooks in Project Cookbook, the proceeds from this cookbook go to Cafe Momentum, a Dallas-based organization that mentors teenage boys convicted non-violet crimes, giving them skills and guidance to prepare them for culinary professions. To see the list of recipes in the compilation, including those that I’ve already conquered, click HERE.
The Dean & Deluca Cookbook
By David Rosengarten and Lori Longbotham
This cookbook, while quite extensive, is definitely up there on the list of my intimidating cookbooks. Even thought I don’t have any Julia Child cookbooks, I imagine this cookbook is very similar to her books, focusing on form and technique and with very little concern about being healthy. The recipes in this cookbook are quite global as well as take you from a basic salad all the way to cooking with brain. There is a tremendous amount of background information on recipes and ingredients, and while I haven’t spent a lot of time reading this cookbook, I imagine it would be quite helpful in learning about food and specific ingredients. To see a list of the recipes in this cookbook as well as the recipes I’ve attempted, click HERE.
Great Easy Meals: 250 Fun & Fast Recipes
By Food Network Magazine
My foodie interest started with the Food Network many years ago, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise how much I’ve turned to this cookbook. The Recipes are, as the title states, easy meals to prepare and always fun to make. While other cookbooks leave me feeling intimidated, I know I can efficiently handle the recipes from this book! Plus, every single recipe comes with a color picture of the dish. I’m one to eat with my eyes, so the pictures often dictate what I end up cooking. To see the recipes in this cookbook, including those that I’ve completed, click HERE.
Grub: Ideas For An Urban Organic Kitchen
By Anna Lappe and Bryant Terry
I love this cookbook! Part I of the cookbook is actually a book about eating clean and organic. The authors discuss the history and politics behind our food systems as well as give tips for making healthy and sustainable choices. Part II of this cookbook is where all the recipes live. The recipes are broken out into season and then subdivided into menus. Typically the menus are make to suite 4 servings unless otherwise stated. While I’ve attempted to cook whole menus at a time, making one dish at a time is also acceptable (and probably a whole lot less time consuming). The recipes in this cookbook range from being pescaterian to vegan, so if you don’t eat meat I recommend checking out this cookbook. To check out the recipe titles from this cookbook, along with the recipes that I’ve tackled, click HERE.
My Bread: The Revolutionary No-Work, No-Knead Method
By Jim Lahey
While out visiting my mom (the queen of cookbooks) out in Oregon, she handed my My Bread to flip through as a loaf of bread was baking in the oven. I was immediately compelled by the beautiful, glossy pictures and the simple techniques this cookbook offered. A few months later I decided to order a copy for myself, and it has yet to disappoint. Baking bread seems like it would be complicated, but in fact the recipes in this cookbook are quite simple and the hands-on time is very short. You just have to be patient in between rises and make sure to think ahead for timing. To see a list of the recipes in this cookbook along with those that I’ve tried so far, click HERE.
Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker Cookbook
By Beth Hensperger and Julie Kaufmann
A cookbook dedicated exclusively for the crock pot, this cookbook has made it’s way into my kitchen on busy nights when I don’t have time to stand in front of the stove top to make dinner. The recipes start from breakfast and go all the way to making jams. To see the recipes in this cookbook as well as the ones I’ve tackled, click HERE.
Dinner Tonight: Done
By Real Simple
The largest of my three Real Simple cookbooks, this book offers a variety of recipes ranging from appetizers all the way to desserts. Following the tradition of Real Simple Magazine all of the recipes are fairly easy and far from intimidating to make. I have had a lot of success for the recipes that I’ve made from this cookbook so far. To see the recipes in this cookbook as well as those that I’ve made, click HERE.
Easy, Delicious Meals
By Real Simple
Easy, Delicious Meals is a great cookbook with lots of simple recipes (thanks to Real Simple magazine). The chapters are broken up in the traditional sense, starting with appetizers and moving through soups, salads, poultry, meat, seafood, pasta, vegetarian, and finally finishing up with desserts. You may notice some repetition in recipes from this cookbook and Real Simple’s Meals Made Easy. While there are a handful of duplicate recipes between the two cookbooks, a majority of the recipes are unique. To see the recipes in this cookbook as well as those that I’ve conquered, click HERE.
Meals Made Easy
By Real Simple
Meals made Easy is another cookbook by Real Simple magazine with, you guessed, simple recipes! Unlike other cookbooks, this book doesn’t follow a traditional chapter format of meal course or ingredient. Instead, chapters are broken up into categories such as no-shop meals, 30-minute meals, and freezer meals, to name a few. This format is helpful for finding dishes that won’t take long or don’t make a huge mess of dishes. While I turn to this cookbook the least out of my three Real Simple cookbooks, I have had a lot of success with the recipes that I’ve made. Also, there is quite a bit of cross-over between Meals Made Easy and Easy, Delicious Meals, so you will see duplicate posts as I cover both cookbooks. To see the recipes in the cookbook as well as those that I’ve completed, click HERE.
Recipes From A Kitchen Garden
By Renne Shepherd and Fran Raboff
First in a series of two cookbooks, this book offers loads of recipes using fresh ingredients straight from the garden (if you have one), including edible flowers. The cookbook is broken down alphabetically by main produce item. I’ve had a lot of success with the recipes in this cookbook, including our all-time favorite stuffed peppers. To see the list of recipes in this cookbook along with those that I’ve completed, click HERE.
More Recipes From A Kitchen Garden
By Renne Shepherd and Fran Raboff
The second in the 2-part series of Recipes from a Kitchen Garden, this cookbook follows the same format as the first, putting recipes in order of primary vegetable, herb, or edible flower. As with the first cookbook, I’ve had a lot of success with the recipes from this book, highlighting fresh, seasonal ingredients. To see the recipes in this cookbook along with those that I’ve completed, click HERE.
Salads: Creative Salads to Delight and Inspire
By Love Food
I bought this cookbook with hopes of creating a variety of fun new salads. While I haven’t used it too much as of this writing, there are a ton of recipes worth trying out. The book itself is broken up into four sections: Vegetable salads, meat & poultry salads, fish & seafood salads, and energizing salads. Some would be considered a side dish or starter to a meal, while others could be a meal in itself. To see the list of recipes in this cookbook, along with the recipes that I’ve tackled, click HERE.
Seasonal Food: How To Enjoy Food At Its Best With More Than 200 Recipes
By Susannah Blake
I originally didn’t think much of this cookbook, but it has become one of my favorite go-to books. I am fond of the chapter order; broken up into season and then sub-categorized by main ingredient; which often helps me find a recipe based on ingredients that I already have. I believe the author is English and this cookbook has been reproduced for an American print, based on some of the ingredients (when they are in season along with ingredients that might not be as common in the US) as well as language the author uses. Despite the difference in language and prevalence of certain ingredients, I have come to thoroughly enjoy this cookbook. To see a list of the recipes from this cookbook, along with those that I’ve completed, click HERE.
So Easy: Luscious, Healthy Recipes For Every Meal Of The Week
By Ellie Krieger
In So Easy, Ellie Krieger creates delicious, healthy recipes that take us from breakfast to dessert, breaking each meal into two sections: one for in-a-hurry recipes and one for take-your-time recipes. While I tend to gravitate towards my other Ellie Krieger cookbook more, this book offers just recipes that are just as tasty and delightful. To see the list of recipes in this cookbook, including the recipes that I’ve completed, click HERE.
The Food You Crave: Luscious Recipes For A Healthy Life
By Ellie Krieger
This has become one of my go-to cookbooks for healthy, satisfying dishes. The book itself is laid out in a traditional cookbook format with sections for breakfast; appetizers and snacks; soups and sandwiches; salads; pasta, pizza and grains; main dishes; side dishes; and desserts. All the bases are covered with this well-rounded cookbook. To peak inside and see which recipes I’ve already tackled, click HERE.
Soups Stews & Chilis
By Cook’s Illustrated Magazine
As the title suggests, this cookbook is all about soups, stews, and chilis, along with a few accompaniments. While I haven’t cooked too much out of this cookbook as of this writing, I am eager to give some of the recipes a try. To see the list of recipes in this cookbook, as well as those that I’ve tackled, click HERE.
Teany Book: Stories, Food, Romance, Cartoons, And Of Course, Tea
By Moby and Kelly Tisdale
This is by far the shortest and most unique of all my cookbooks. Teany is actually a restaurant in New York’s Lower East Side, run by Moby and his partner, Kelly Tisdale. The Teany Book is more of a book than a cookbook, with strange stories, history, health and beauty tips, and of course, recipes. All the recipes in this cookbook are vegan. While there are a few health and beauty “recipes” I’ve kept the list to recipes intended to be consumed. To see the list of recipes in this cookbook, including those that I’ve tackled, click HERE.
The Lemonade Cookbook
By Alan Jackson and JoAnn Cianciulli
The Lemonade Cookbook is a fresh and flavorful cookbook based off of the recipes from the California-based cafeteria of the same name. While not strictly vegetarian, this cookbook is vegetable focused and uses loads of heart-healthy ingredients. Click HERE to see the recipes in this cookbook, including those that I’ve already made.
The South Beach Diet Cookbook
By Arthur Agaston, M.D.
As of this writing, I’ve tended not to gravitate towards this cookbook because it is a low-carb diet cookbook. While I try to cook healthy dishes, I don’t like to think of recipes as diet food, which is often why I repel from this cookbook. The desserts and baked breakfast goods call for sugar substitute, which I’m not a fan of at all, so I’ve been very reluctant to try any of these recipes. But one of these days I’ll give them a go. Despite not turning to this cookbook as one of my favorites, I have really enjoyed the dishes that I’ve made out of it and my connotation with diet food disappears momentarily. If only DIET wasn’t spelled out on the cover of this cookbook, maybe then I’d reach for this book more often. To see a list of the recipes in this cookbook, including those that I’ve tried, click HERE.
Happy cooking everyone!