There are 3 categories that I put cookbooks in:
- Beautiful but not practical – I love these cookbooks because they have beautiful photography and they inspire me to be a better cook (in the same way Superman inspires me to be a superhero) but are not practical enough for me to really use them.
- Interesting but not practical – These cookbooks are great because they are historical or cultural and I love to learn about people through the food they eat. While they are interesting, they probably include ingredients that are just not in the purview of my everyday. Like capers and prawns are not going to make it on my shopping list.
- Real Cookbooks – These are cookbooks that include recipes that have ingredients I will actually buy and eat and the instructions are not outrageously complicated.
Lately, I have 3 “REAL” cookbooks that are my go-to’s when I need a nudge out of my food rut.
- Magnolia Table by Joanna Gaines
I love this cookbook because it fits my criteria for a “Real Cookbook.” There are lots of recipes when you’re craving that comfort food like Chicken Pot Pie, Scalloped Potatoes or Chocolate Chip Cookies. But be sure to make her Sour Cream Enchiladas! They have been a big hit at my house. And I’d like to add that the photographs are beautiful and so it also falls under the category of a Beautiful Cookbook.
2. The Pioneer Woman Cooks Dinnertime by Ree Drummond
I just got this cookbook for Christmas so I haven’t made a lot of the recipes, but it’s not difficult to tell that this is a “Real Cookbook.” With recipes like Baked Ziti, French Dip Sandwiches, and Cheese Biscuits, you know this is “real.” The cookbook is loaded with photos, clear and complete instructions, and little personal notes from Ree scattered throughout. I think that the photos of her handsome husband nudge it into the category of a Beautiful Cookbook, too.
I heard about this cookbook from my Weight Watcher friends and I’ve used it for several years now. I have to say that at first, I was put off because of some of the exotic sounding recipes that I didn’t feel that I would make. However, when you dig into the book you’ll find that most of the recipes are really down to earth and “real.” You also get the added benefit of a nutritional breakdown of each recipe if you need it. And there are a bunch of slow cooker recipes to help you if you have a busy schedule. You need to try her “Greek Chicken Sheet Pan Dinner,” “Slow Cooker Chicken Burrito Bowls,” and “Cauliflower Fried Rice.”
These cookbooks are nice enough to give as gifts, too. I highly recommend them!