Jul 1, 2008

Review of 'Simple and Delicious Recipes' From the Taste of Home

by Natalie Mitts

I picked this cookbook because I've always heard good things about recipes from the Taste of Home. The title also intrigued me - can recipes really be simple and delicious? I have the hardest time finding enough time to cook, but this book promised to provide great recipes that don't take hours to make. So I tried it out.

This book contains 242 recipes. It has planned dinners five nights a week for 12 weeks, including a photo for each entree. With that setup, you could eat 60 new recipes in three months. There are also breakfast items, burgers, desserts, salads, sandwiches and soups. Search the index by category, cooking time or alphabetical listing. All meals come with a time estimate, so you know what you're getting yourself into.

The first recipe I tried was the Caramel Chocolate Cake. It's basically the reason why I tested out this cookbook, as you can see from the photo (shown here). This recipe takes a simple box cake mix and adds pudding and pecans for flavor. It was delicious and looked beautiful. I would definitely make this again, although next time I would wait longer to add the icing and pecan topping because both were very runny.

I was also a big fan of the Chicken Wellington. It was surprisingly filling and I found myself wishing I had made more. The gravy was simple and worked really well with the pastry.

There are also some no-fail recipes like the Barbecue Jack Chicken, Tomato Mac ‘n' Cheese or Swiss Cobb Salad. These taste great no matter how many substitutions you make or steps you do out of order. Even an amateur cook like myself could turn those recipes into delicious meals.

One thing I didn't like about this cookbook was the presence of so many fish recipes. There is one fish entree per week, which decreases your options significantly when your family doesn't eat seafood. However, it's nice that the book provides such a good variety of meat dishes including pork chops, sausage, rib eye steak, turkey, beef and of course, chicken.

Most of these recipes can also be found online at tasteofhome.com. Overall, I thought this book was a great find as it provided some new options for meals in my home. I am excited to try out more of the recipes, like the Taco Puffs or Chicken Pizza (complete with pesto).

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