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Recomend any good cookbooks?
Old 02-17-2007, 12:03 PM   #1
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Recomend any good cookbooks?

Eating is one of the biggest areas where my wife and I have trouble keeping expenses down. We go out to eat more than we'd like, mainly b/c the convenience factor usually wins out. While my wife is a great cook, I find cooking to be intimidating, tedious, and ultimately not worth the effort. I get much more satisfaction out of doing the dishes (seriously). However, I'd like to be able to whip up some simple meals (other than spaghetti and tacos) so that when she doesn't feel like cooking, I can take over so that we don't end up always going out to eat.

So, can anyone recommend any good cookbooks which have relatively simple, inexpensive meals in them?
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Re: Recomend any good cookbooks?
Old 02-17-2007, 12:06 PM   #2
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Re: Recomend any good cookbooks?

Check the forums tested recipes that Trombone Al compiled for us a week ago. Lots of us put a simple, tasty, healthy and frequently economical recipe in there!
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Re: Recomend any good cookbooks?
Old 02-17-2007, 12:32 PM   #3
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Re: Recomend any good cookbooks?

http://www.betterbudgeting.com/frugalrecipelist.htm
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Re: Recomend any good cookbooks?
Old 02-17-2007, 02:06 PM   #4
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Re: Recomend any good cookbooks?

You could try something like this

http://recipes.robbiehaf.com/B/558.htm

I've made it several times and dh loves it, fast and easy and I always have spagetti sauce and frozen ravioli in the freezer.
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Re: Recomend any good cookbooks?
Old 02-17-2007, 07:01 PM   #5
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Re: Recomend any good cookbooks?

It's not a cookbook, but the Tightwad Gazette books (probably available at the library) have some recipes like this. The one for pizza using a food processor is especially good - dough and everything and it's in the oven in about 1/2 hour.
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Re: Recomend any good cookbooks?
Old 02-18-2007, 07:37 PM   #6
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Re: Recomend any good cookbooks?

.There is a cookbook called Spices of the world cookbook by McCormick
I did a search on the web and found copies for 99cents used. First printed in 1969 and copyright 1964 probably out of print now. This is a book I have used for years as a basic reference book. It explains about spices and has hundreds of recipes.
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Re: Recomend any good cookbooks?
Old 02-18-2007, 10:59 PM   #7
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Re: Recomend any good cookbooks?

The cookbook I've relied on most (both in the US and Italy) is Marcella Hazan's Classic Italian Cookbook.. Very few recipes in it are at all elaborate; they usually have relatively few ingredients and very simple preparations.. Of course, you have to like Italian food, but it's one of the easiest types of "cuisine" to prepare. I LOVE Chinese, Thai, Mexican, Indian.. but they all seem to require a lot more prep work in addition to vast arsenals of specialized ingredients.

For "last minute" meals, try to keep a stock of something in the freezer like homemade soup, meat sauce, veggie lasagna, chili.. whatever you like.. I also liked having some of the canned Indian curry "simmer sauces" on hand.. just take whatever meat and/or veg you happen to like, fry it up a bit, then add the sauce for a while and serve with basmati rice. Too bad I can't get those sauces here.
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Re: Recomend any good cookbooks?
Old 02-19-2007, 08:29 AM   #8
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Re: Recomend any good cookbooks?

foodtv.com

epicurean.com

tasteofhome.com

etc....
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Re: Recomend any good cookbooks?
Old 02-19-2007, 10:54 AM   #9
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Re: Recomend any good cookbooks?

Take a look at what is available at the local library, find a few authors you like, then purchase the ones that are most appealing. I get a lot of cookbooks from the library to give me inspiration.
You do need a couple of the "bibles", like Silver Palate, Joy of Cooking, Southern Living, etc. to have a base for new ideas.
I love cookbooks--but I get hungry just looking!

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Re: Recomend any good cookbooks?
Old 02-19-2007, 10:57 AM   #10
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Re: Recomend any good cookbooks?

The ones I keep going back to, for very different reasons.

- Both the older and newer "joy of cooking". The older one (have to buy them used, most printed in the 70's and 80's) is good for 'old time' recipes and lots of euro ethnic foods. A good example is this is the book I go to when I want a recipe for chopped liver. There are also pictures of how to skin a squirrel The newer one has lots of Mediterranean and asian recipes, a little more 'new age'...no squirrel skinning stuff. These are the books I pull out when I want to see how to make something, or make sure I havent forgotten an ingredient. Obviously well tested recipes.

- Justin Wilsons "homegrown louisiana cooking". I have fished this book way more than I ever thought I would. Lots of GREAT and easy to make recipes, and not limited to gumbo type stuff at all. One of the best spaghetti sauce recipes in there.

- Americas test kitchen family cookbook. This is by no means a replacement for the joy of cooking or the betty crocker type family cookbooks as it drastically lacks breadth. But it has fabulous depth and extremely well tested recipes. You dont pull this out to find out how to make something, you pull this out to find something to make.

- Dean Ornish's "Eat More, Weigh Less". Fantastic low/zero fat vegetarian dishes. Very creative, some require some work although you can shortcut some of the steps to save time and lose a little flavor, like using a prepared stock rather than making one. Some surprisingly tasty foods that I've served to people where they ate half of it making yummy noises before they said "hey...there isnt any meat in this...is there?"

- Legal Seafoods cookbook. Lots of great seafood recipes in here from fish and clam chowders, smoked bluefish pate, etc.

- The Thousand Recipe Chinese Cookbook. Pretty much self explanatory. Big thick book with all the tips, tricks and recipes to make almost anything from traditional chinese food to the more americanized stuff.

I have three shelves full. These are the only ones I go back to time and again.
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Re: Recomend any good cookbooks?
Old 02-19-2007, 02:33 PM   #11
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Re: Recomend any good cookbooks?

Thanks for the suggestions, everyone. I'll start checking these out.
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Re: Recomend any good cookbooks?
Old 02-19-2007, 04:22 PM   #12
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Re: Recomend any good cookbooks?

ooh CFB mentioned "America's Test Kitchen". I used to have a subscription to Cook's Illustrated and, if you can get through the occasionally pompous and at times too-exacting tone (which of course for me was red meat).. not one of their recipes has ever gone wrong for me.. they're tested umpteen times. You don't need to read through the Scientific-American level prefaces; just go straight to the recipes.

They also have a new "country-style" mag but I haven't seen that.. more "down-home" American style than the classic Cook's Illustrated, it seems. You can get a year's worth of mags in book form with a combined index. They also have specialized compilations. I got one called "Cover and Bake" as a present for my sister, and right off the bat we made a comfortingly yummy fish chowder casserole without too much effort.

Happy Cookery!
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Re: Recomend any good cookbooks?
Old 02-19-2007, 05:43 PM   #13
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Re: Recomend any good cookbooks?

I'm getting the "Cooks Country" from ATC...its a really good mag.

You're right...the stuffy New England "Let us show you how to do it THE RIGHT WAY" thing is a little annoying at times...but the recipes are bulletproof.
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Re: Recomend any good cookbooks?
Old 02-20-2007, 04:48 AM   #14
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Re: Recomend any good cookbooks?

Kinda wonder what the big difference might be between Cook's and Cook's Country.. Cook's always seemed 75-80% straight American food: turkey, cobblers, pancakes, pies.. Definitely N.E.-centric tho'. I was ready to strangle that Chris Kimball if he wrote one more op-ed about "the joys of mud season". Maybe Cook's Country bans any recipe that calls for balsamic vinegar..? Or have they brought back squirrel?

Cook's/ATC has a web site (w/subscription) that gives you access to all their recipes, but it's not exactly cheap and I've seen from the forums there that people have had issues with their now-heavy-handed marketing and less-than-optimal site managment, so I haven't bitten.

I often use the FoodTV site (but for me it is sloow) and also epicurious.com as HFWR mentioned (I think he meant "epicurious"). Good foodie discussions on eGullet (subscription, which I'm considering, will give you access to online tutorials and seminars). Also chowhound.com.

The above sites might be overkill for the OP, but I just saw a favorable mention, I think on Chowhound, for a cookbook called "A Man and his Pan".. basically one-course meals made up in a non-stick skillet.. $1.11 at Amazon, so how can you go wrong, really? The sample recipe looked decent.
http://tinyurl.com/yujtbe
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Re: Recomend any good cookbooks?
Old 02-20-2007, 09:14 AM   #15
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Re: Recomend any good cookbooks?

Cooks Country seems to fixate on simplifying food preparation and short cuts for more mainstream meals. A one-pot pasta primavera with a shaved down ingredients list. Making potato pancakes using frozen shredded hash browns. Easy no-fail biscuits. The day before making deviled eggs, turn the egg case on its side in the fridge so the yolks will migrate to the center of the egg instead of the end.

You still get a sappy introductory story from Chris Kimball...and this month its about....charlie bentleys saphouse!

Seems the regular Cooks focus is taking a medium complexity dish or something with a tough ingredient or tough steps and perfecting it through 2000 iterations.

I often just drag the laptop into the kitchen and use google as my cookbook. But the handful I noted above still get a lot of use. I used to have a "3com/ergo Audrey" touch screen standup tablet I kept in the kitchen for this stuff, but 3com orphaned it years ago and the internal browser didnt keep up with current technology. There are some extensive hacking options, but it started to turn into w*rk :P


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Re: Recomend any good cookbooks?
Old 02-20-2007, 10:12 AM   #16
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Re: Recomend any good cookbooks?

Any of the Moosewood cookbooks, but especially "Moosewood Cooks At Home". Lots of practical, easy, everyday vegetarian friendly recipes - which helps if you're budgeting and/or dieting. Have fun!
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Re: Recomend any good cookbooks?
Old 02-20-2007, 10:25 AM   #17
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Re: Recomend any good cookbooks?

Not at home right now, but I bought some old Food and Wine (?) cookbooks from Half-Price Books for a buck or two apiece.
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Re: Recomend any good cookbooks?
Old 02-20-2007, 10:53 AM   #18
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Re: Recomend any good cookbooks?

I have a bunch of those too. Seems you can always get the older year ones for next to nothing. Some great recipes in there...I remember one where you rub short ribs with ground horseradish (not the creamy/sauce variety) and then braise them with root vegetables and wine/stock...the horseradish carmelizes like garlic. At the very end you stir in a bunch of watercress until its barely wilted and serve. Nice.
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Re: Recomend any good cookbooks?
Old 02-20-2007, 07:09 PM   #19
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Re: Recomend any good cookbooks?

Do any of you use http://www.foodnetwork.com ? You almost don't even need cookbooks anymore. Here, you can search for recipes using different criteria, or you can search by chef, etc... It's very handy!
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Re: Recomend any good cookbooks?
Old 02-20-2007, 08:39 PM   #20
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Re: Recomend any good cookbooks?

First question is whats a book and the second question is why would you cook it ?
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