Sunday, May 20, 2012
Contemporary topics are comprehensively explored with techniques ranging from simple basics to true wow-factor recipes. Each recipe has been tasted and reviewed in the Taste of Home test kitchen, plus there are practical, proven tips, storage charts, and at-a-glance prep and cook times—so you’ll enjoy perfect results every time. -- Reader's Digest
When I was contacted about potentially reviewing the TASTE OF HOME COOKING SCHOOL COOKBOOK: 400+ SIMPLE TO SPECTACULAR RECIPES, I could barely contain my excitement! I am a huge fan of anything Taste of Home. I have subscribed to the magazine (plus two of their sister publications) for years. I own at least 10 of their cookbooks, and I've even attended the Taste of Home Cooking School twice with my mom and sister. Needless to say, I love Taste of Home and their recipes!
And the TASTE OF HOME COOKING SCHOOL COOKBOOK was everything I hoped it to be. This is truly an excellent cookbook and perfect for my busy life-style -- especially with the commitments we have around the dinner hour. There are over 400 recipes for all types of food from appetizers, to soups, to salads, to main dishes, to desserts; and the instructions are very simple. I especially appreciated that the recipes use easy-to-find ingredients and that the nutrition facts are included for every recipes.
The cookbook is divided into the following sections: Introduction, Appetizers, Drinks, Better than Takeout, Soups, Beef & Pork, Poultry, Seafood, Vegetarian, Side Dishes, Breakfast, Baking, Desserts, References, and Indexes. In addition, there are hundreds of photographs and loads of instructions making it ideal for any levels of cooks. The Introduction section contains a great deal of valuable teaching tools such as what you need for a well-stocked kitchen including the types of knives, cookware, and bakeware.
For those of you (like me!) who love cookbooks with photos, the TASTE OF HOME COOKING SCHOOL COOKBOOK has tons of them. Not only are there small colored photographs for every single recipe (yay!), there are even step-by-step photographs for some of the cooking techniques -- i.e. how to braise, how to peel a kiwi, how to easily finish a cake (frost it), and many, many more.
I admit that the first time I looked through the TASTE OF HOME COOKING SCHOOL COOKBOOK, I was a bit overwhelmed. I couldn't even begin to mark the number of recipes that I wanted to try. So many of them looked so good... and so easy. Since I aim to cook a meal that we can all eat given Booking Son's allergies, I was quickly able to narrow my search. (Lots of these recipes do have dairy!)
The first recipe that I tried was for Pepperoni Pizzazz. It's a baked penne pasta dish with cheese, pepperoni, sauce, and a few vegetables Not exactly the healthiest of meals, but I figured everyone would like it! I found Boar's Head pepperoni that Booking Son would eat, and I was able to separate a bit of the pasta mixture and add his soy mozzarella. I also substituted fresh mushrooms for the canned ones that were called for in the recipe. It was extremely simple but did take almost an hour to bake. Since it served nine, I did have leftovers to serve on a busy night later in the week. The Pepperoni Pizzaa was a pretty big hit with my husband and me, but the kids thought it was a little spicy. Everyone ate it though and I consider that a success!
The following night, I decided to try something a little healthier and made the Pan-Seared Chili Salmon. Of course, I had a feeling that the kids would prefer theirs plain with just a little salt, but I made my husband's and mine exactly like the recipe instructed. I have to say that my husband and I aren't huge salmon fans, but I figured the little kick might change our minds. Once again, the recipe was extremely simple and this time, it was very quick to prepare; and we both thought it was delicious. Definitely a keeper!
I still have a few more recipes to try including a simple Honey Grilled Shrimp and the Shrimp 'N' Spinach Risotto that I intend to make within the next few days. And after that, I'll continue to try one or two recipes a week. If I keep to this schedule, this cookbook could feed us for some time. And don't even get me started on all of the wonderful sounding desserts. The recipes I want to try are in the dozens!
I highly recommend the TASTE OF HOME COOKING SCHOOL COOKBOOK. Since it does have lots of instructions, it's perfect for beginner cooks; however, I also think the recipes are simple enough to appeal to busy moms. It's definitely my new favorite cookbook.
Thanks to FSB Associates for providing a review copy.
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