8 Cookbooks You Will Actually Use

by Sara Farrell Baker

Raise your hand if you have no idea what you’re making for dinner.

*raises both hands and a foot*

If you’re like me, you go back and forth between being in a dinner rut, making the same meals over and over until you put a bite of that enchilada bake in your mouth for the millionth time and all your saliva dries up on contact. Or you are burnt-out, feeling your brain shut down when it’s time to plan meals for the week because you’re just over it.

A new cookbook always helps me when I need some inspiration. The market is saturated with them, but here are a few that either have a home on my shelf or come highly recommended by food-loving friends.

1. What A Good Eater! by Alessandra Macaluso & Amy Godiwalla


For anyone wanting to get out of the habit of cooking one meal for the adults in the house and a plate of dinosaur-shaped chicken nuggets and carrots for the kids. It’s full of flavorful recipes for babies, toddlers, and preschoolers, as well as meals the entire family can enjoy. Using healthy ingredients and a variety of herbs and spices, this cookbook has helped tons of parents get off the blue box.

2. Skinnytaste Fast and Slow by Gina Homolka


As one of my favorite blogs for searching healthy recipes, Skinnytaste does not disappoint with this collection of meals that you can either throw in the slow cooker or whip up in half an hour. There’s even dessert! May there always be dessert.

3. Forks Over Knives by Del Sroufe


Forks Over Knives has been a book and movie, detailing the benefits of a plant-based diet. If you’re vegan, or just trying to incorporate a vegan meal or two into your weekly meal plan, this book is full of healthy, delicious meals.

4. Kid Chef by Melina Hammer


It is my mission in life to get my kids self-sufficient as soon as humanly possible, so I am no longer the one-woman staff at Hotel Mom. Teaching them to cook is on my list, and this book has lots for kids to look through. From knife skills and tips on building a grocery list to kid-friendly recipes for snacks, mains, desserts, and more, I’ll be putting my feet up and asking them what’s for dinner in no time.

5. Instant Pot Obsession by Janet A. Zimmerman


Are you one of the eleventy zillion people who owns an Instant Pot? Did you cook beef stew every week for eight months? Did you stop using your Instant Pot because you ran out of recipes? Well, hear ya go.

6. The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deb Perelman


Smitten Kitchen is another one of my favorite food blogs. Even if the most you do in the kitchen is heat up leftovers from last night’s takeout, the pictures are beautiful. And if you do roll your sleeves up by the oven, the apple cake recipe is amaze.

7. 100 Days of Real Food by Lisa Leake


This cookbook changed a lot of my grocery store habits. I am not a health nut, but I do a lot more perimeter shopping, and there is a lot less processed food in my diet as a result. The pulled pork recipe is easy, delicious, and a big hit when I make it for parties.

8. Cravings by Chrissy Teigen


Chrissy Teigen. End of review.

Okay, fine. This is a great cookbook if you like savory, saucy, spicy foods. Plus, it has her signature sense of humor weaved throughout. Her husband even makes a couple appearances. You’re going to feel awesome when you make his fried chicken, bring it to a cookout, and when people ask for the recipe you can be like, “Oh, it’s my friend John Legend’s.”

There’s something about cracking open a new cookbook and flipping through the pages to see what looks good — and then trying a new recipe for the first time and finding out you chose right. These shouldn’t disappoint, and I hope you enjoy all the delicious noms coming at your face.

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