Desperation Dinners Hands down winner for quick dinners (20 minutes!) that are easy and taste great! I’ve recommended this to several people and have gotten good feedback from everyone. The recipes are good and easy and the preparation ideas will prove quite useful.
I bought Jacques Pepin’s Fast Food My Way after watching the cooking show of the same name on tv. The recipes are simple and good. There are a few different cooking methods for things like salmon that I just love. The photographs are beautiful and he explains things very well. I think beginner cooks and advanced as well could learn a lot. I keep going back to this for general ideas. There are more fish recipes in here that are appealing to me than many other books, for example. I’m not a huge fish fan but I do try to eat it since my family loves it and I know it’s healthy. The general techniques are very well explained as well, making it perhaps a better cookbook for beginners than advanced cooks.
A Dinner a Day : Complete Meals in Minutes for Every Weeknight of the Year This has a year’s worth of weekday menus and recipes, organized seasonally. (Also bound nicely! Why don’t more publishers think about how a cookbook is used?) Complete with a shopping list for each week and balanced meals. My only complaint is it’s hard to find a recipe you want to repeat because of the “cute” names. A minor flaw though.
Feed Your Family Fast, Healthy Meals on $10 a Day Linda West Eckhardt has written many good cookbooks, so you know the recipes are good while still being frugal. Lots of fish recipes, good shopping and menu-planning tips, and some great recipes.
How to Cook Everything: Simple Recipes for Great Food This may be inching out my Fannie Farmer in terms of favorites. I’d hate to have to choose between them. What I like about this one is that Mark Bittman gives you a basic recipe and then variations. For example, “Sauteed Pork Chops”, with detailed directions on a perfectly wonderful dish. But to top it off, he then has eight different ways to add on to the basic recipe, including sherry-garlic sauce, apples, dried fruit, vinegar, mustard (my personal favorite!), onions and peppers, or butter, chervil and shallots.
The Six O’Clock Scramble is one of my new favorites. The variety of recipes is fantastic, they’re good, and they’re well-written. This is organized with weekly seasonal recipes, basically 13 weekly menus for each season, with 5 recipes suitable for weeknight cooking in each menu. You can go even go online and print out the grocery list for each week! If you prefer, you can to the Six O’Clock Scramble web site and sign up for their email service and have a week’s worth of recipes along with the shopping list delivered to you each week.