May 7, 2010

Friday Favorites: My Top Five Cookbooks for Summer

Now that my twins are a few months old and we are finally getting into our groove as a family of five (yikes!), it is time for me to step up my game in the kitchen. I love to cook with fresh, local ingredients and create great flavor combinations. So without further adieu, here are my top cookbooks for summer.

1) Cooking Light Fresh Food Fast: Weeknight Meals: Over 280 Incredible Supper Solutions

This is the newest addition to my shelf. The recipes are incredibly simple with great flavor profiles. This will definitely be my go-to-guide for summer meals.

2) The Food You Crave: Luscious Recipes for a Healthy Life
The Food Network’s star nutritionist offers up wonderful ideas for healthy, flavorful meals. We loved the Tuscan Roasted Chicken and Vegetables, the Smashed Potatoes with Sour Cream and Chives and the Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Orange Essence. I can’t wait to try some of the other recipes, like the Soft Asian Summer Rolls.

3) Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics: Fabulous Flavor from Simple Ingredients

Can you ever go wrong with Ina Garten? I certainly don’t think so! In this guide, she provides recipes for fabulous meals created with fresh, simple ingredients, as well as background information on her techniques. Her cocktail ideas and entertaining tips are not to be missed. I am looking forward to making the Baked Shrimp Scampi and trying the Juice of a Few Flowers cocktail.

This fantasic reference showcases a host of fast and delicious recipes, including many for southern favorites like King Ranch Chicken Casserole, Shrimp and Grits and Pineapple Glazed Ham. Chapters on Slow Cooker Favorites, One-Dish Dinners, and Healthy ‘n’ Quick Recipes make this an indispensable addition to my kitchen.

5) How to Cook Everything, Completely Revised 10th Anniversary Edition: 2,000 Simple Recipes for Great Food

This is a classic that has been described as the bible of home cooking. In addition to wonderful recipes and detailed insights into ingredients and techniques, Bittman provides lists of potential variations to help you customize the recipes. Using his suggestions, I customized a recipe for a Black Bean and Corn Salad that is to die for. I can’t wait to try more!

Do you have favorite recipes from any of these cookbooks? Please share!


  1. I actually have none of these books, which surprises me since I avidly collect cookbooks! Thanks for the recos!

  2. I am always looking for good cookbooks! I don't have any of these, but I'm definitely going to have to try some of these. I have a Cooking Light 5 ingredient 15 minute cookbook that has some great recipes. One of my favorite cookbooks is actually the Junior League of Tallahassee cookbook! There are so many tasty recipes that call for ingredients I actually have at home!

  3. Thanks for these! I want to try out The Food You Crave!

  4. Thanks for this post!!! I definitely want to purchase the Cooking Light cookbook!! I have been meaning to get one for a while now!



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