When it comes to making dinner, I'm not a huge one for following recipes. I tend to view them more as guidelines, I don't like to measure things (which is partly why I don't like to bake) and I'm pretty comfortable eliminating or subbing ingredients if I don't have what the recipe lists, or if I can make a dish healthier.
I do have several shelves filled with cookbooks though because sometimes I need ideas. Or because I need guidance on how to make something I don't often cook. Here are ten books that I go to again and again.
The Big Book of Casseroles (Vollstedt)--This is a great book for comfort food like beef stew and cheesy potatoes. Good, stick-to-your-ribs food like mom used to make. Meatless and low-cal options too, plus tips on freezing and storage.
On Rice: 60 Fast and Easy Toppings That Make The Meal (Rodgers and Frankeny)--Over 70 simple recipes to serve over rice. I like it because the meals are flavorful and easy, plus quick to prepare. Plus, most use basic ingredients I already have in my kitchen.
Pink Princess Cookbook (Beery and Snortum)--This cookbook was actually a 4th birthday gift for my daughter, who loves all things pink and princessy. It's an actual cookbook, which recipes for things like Angel Cloud Cupcakes, Fairy-Tale Fondue and Chocolate Chip-Peppermint Scones. Super cute and easy, and she loves it.
29 Minutes To Dinner (Pampered Chef)--A little over a year ago, I ordered some Pampered Chef stuff from a friend of my mom, and my order was large enough that I got to pick out a cookbook too. I told my mom to pick one she thought I would like, and she came up with this winner. I do own a lot of the PC items, but they are not necessary to make the recipes. The food is good, real food that my children will eat, and as the title indicates, all the recipes are fast as well. There is also a photo with every recipe!
The Taste of Home Cookbook (Taste of Home)--This was yet another cookbook gift from my mom. I subscribed to various Taste of Home magazines for years, and this book contains recipes of the same caliber. The book itself is binder-style, with dividers and pages that can be removed.
Cheese: 40 Sumptuous Cheese Recipes For All Occasions (Parragon Publishing)--This one was a gift for my husband (from my mom, who else?) that accompanied a cheese spreader set, some food items and a container of mascarpone cheese. Beautiful pictures and lots of options for fancy cheese recipes all the way down to homemade pizza.
The Eat-Clean Diet Cookbook (Reno)--I picked this one after reading about it in a health magazine. Tosca Reno also has an accompanying book about the Eat Clean Diet, and is involved in several magazines. The idea behind eating clean is that when you eat food as close to it's natural state as possible, you are healthier and leaner. Lots of recipes for satisfying, tasty, REAL food if you can ignore some of the hype of Reno's other publications and pick and choose what works for you.
The Cat Who...Cookbook (Murphy and Stempinski)--Funnily, I recently saw this cookbook and had picked it up and flipped through it, thinking it looked good. And then my mom gave it to me for Christmas. The Cat Who...is a series of whimsical mysteries, featuring Jim Qwilleran and his two Siamese cats. In addition to sleuthing and writing a weekly column for the local newspaper, Qwill spends a lot of time eating. This cute book offers recipes for all the food items mentioned in the many books.
Better Homes and Gardens Cook Book (Better Homes and Gardens)--If ever a cookbook was a workhorse, this is it. My particular copy is super old, my mom having stashed it for me when I still a little girl. The cover has fallen off from use. It's my go-to for things like preserving tomatoes or pickling beets.
The Original Baltimore Neighborhood Cookbook (Smith)--Baltimore is a city of neighborhoods and each neighborhood has it's own distinctive feel, traditions and cuisine. This book is a great resource if you want to make Coddies from Highlandtown, Veal Marsala from Little Italy, or Corned Beef and Cabbage from Locust Point.
What cookbooks do you go to over and over again?