Spaghetti, eggs and toast, and cereal have become the boring staples of my workday dinners. One of my New Year’s resolutions has been to expand my weekday cooking repertoire with more interesting meals. I have a limited amount of time each evening, and I’m no Julia Child, so recipes have to be fairly quick and simple.
My tried-and-true cookbook favorite, How to Cook Everything: 2,000 Simple Recipes for Great Food by Mark Bittman is helping me meet this goal. I credit his earlier book, How to Cook Everything: the Basics: Simple Recipes Anyone Can Cook, with teaching me to cook competently in the first place. His books feature basic cooking techniques and skills along with great recipes. Instructions are straightforward, adaptable, and never too fussy.
I’ve recently found some fun new cookbooks that have inspired my weeknight cooking. Most of the recipes I’ve tried in Almost Meatless: Recipes that are Better for your Health and the Planet can be adapted for either vegetarians or meat-eaters. The idea is that cooking with less meat helps your pocketbook, your waistline, and the planet, without sacrificing any flavor or texture. I’d recommend this book to anyone interested in eating less meat without going entirely vegetarian.
As an unabashed Francophile, I absolutely adore Clotilde Dusoulier’s Chocolate & Zucchini: Daily Adventures in a Parisian Kitchen. Even if you don’t make a single recipe, this is a charming read. Don’t let the “adventures in a Parisian kitchen” subtitle mislead you. Dusoulier lived in San Francisco for many years, and her recipes are designed for American cooks and kitchens. Recipes are accessible, straightforward and—in my experience—always delicious. The yogurt cake recipe is so easy and such a crowd pleaser, it almost feels like cheating.
Because I’m always finding interesting new cookbooks and cooking magazines to try at the library, I think I may actually be able to stick with this tasty resolution.
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