100 Classic Gluten-Free Comfort Food Recipes by Donna Washburn & Heather Butt (review)

100 Classic Gluten-Free Comfort Food Recipes by Donna Washburn & Heather Butt (review)

I've always been one to express my love to friends and family with food (among other things). Homemade cookies regularly in the cookie jar. Special treats for special folks on special days. Enjoying food crafts and activities with kids. Festive family occasions focus primarily on food.

Enter a grandchild with food allergies. Gluten issues, in particular. James, my bonus grandson courtesy his dad Patrick marrying my daughter Brianna, can't eat the majority of my long-time specialty goodies and holiday favorites. Figuring out how to express food-love to that kiddo has been a challenge. For the most part, food isn't what James and I share.

That's all about to change, courtesy 100 Classic Gluten-Free Comfort Food Recipes by Donna Washburn and Heather Butt, which I recently received from publisher Robert Rose free for review. The 224-page cookbook takes the mystery out of making savory and sweet dishes without gluten! A lifesaver for this grandma and her gluten-free grandson.

Read More

Cookbook review: 175 Best Multifunction Electric Pressure Cooker Recipes by Marilyn Haugen

Cookbook review: 175 Best Multifunction Electric Pressure Cooker Recipes by Marilyn Haugen

I have a lot of cookbooks. At last count — which was just before sitting down to write this review — there are 54 cookbooks on my kitchen bookshelf. And that doesn't even include the literally hundreds of cooking magazines I've collected throughout the years.

In addition to learning techniques and tasty treats from all those cookbooks, I've also learned that it's rare to find a cookbook in which every recipe turns out fabulous. 175 Best Multifunction Electric Pressure Cooker Recipes by Marilyn Haugen free for review just might be one of the rare ones. 

Read More

Back in print: 125 Best Chicken Recipes, 125 Best Casseroles and One-Pot Meals

Sometimes it's nice to go all out gourmet in your cooking. Other times — most times, for me — it's nice to stick to the basics. And what can get more basic than chicken, casseroles and one-pot meals?

125 Best Chicken Recipes

Two cookbooks by long-time food writer Rose Murray focusing on those standard favorites of many a cook are now back in print: 125 Best Chicken Recipes and 125 Best Casseroles and One-Pot Meals. I recently received a free review copy of each, and I couldn't be...

Read More

Cookbook giveaway: Taste of Home Recipes Across America

Recipes Across AmericaAs I’ve mentioned here many times, one of my favorite sources for tasty home-style recipes is Taste of Home. I recently had the pleasure of trying out for free yet another super Taste of Home cookbook, this one called Taste of Home Recipes Across America. It's 735 of the best recipes from coast to coast.

The hardcover Taste of Home Recipes Across America (512 pages and published by Reader’s Digest) highlights regional recipes from across the country. Divided into five regions (Northeast, South, Midwest, Southwest, and West), it's the best of the best specialties enjoyed by locals, plus ethnic specialties passed down through generations that became hometown favorites — all shared by real family cooks, not fancy-schmancy celebrity chefs.

A sampling of what you’ll find from each region:

Northeast — Philly Cheese Steak, Yankee Pot Roast, New Haven Clam Pizza, Authentic Boston Brown Bread, Buffalo Chicken Wings, Amish Sugar Cookies and Brooklyn Blackout Cake

South — Shrimp Po-Boys, South Carolina-Style Ribs, Bacon Collard Green, Cheese 'n' Grits Casserole, Georgia Peanut Salsa, Sweet Potato Fries, Banana Pudding and Hummingbird Cake

Midwest — Church Supper Hot Dish, Onion Loose Meat Sandwiches, Cherry Wild Rice Salad, German Potato Salad, Chocolate-Covered Buckeyes, Golden Apple Snack Cake and State Fair Cream Puffs

Southwest — Arizona Chicken, Barbecued Beef Brisket, Chicken-Fried Steaks, Sizzling Tex-Mex Fajitas, Armadillo Eggs, Texas Caviar, Dr Pepper Barbecue Sauce, Classic Fruit Kolaches, German Chocolate Cake and Tres Leches Cake

West — Buffalo Steak Salad, Chicken Long Rice, Pacific Rim Salmon, California Sushi Rolls, Green Goddess Salad Dressing, Romaine Caesar Salad, Utah Buttermilk Scones, Caramel-Frosted Potato Cake, Oregon's Best Marionberry Pie and Lemon Tart with Almond Crust

Being a Colorado resident, I was interested to peruse the culinary favorites featured in the Southwest category. Most turned out to be the flavors I know, love, and make. What I found most surprising about Recipes Across America, though, was how much the recipes of the Midwest — where I was born (in Minnesota) — felt like home. Several were foods I hadn’t thought about in years, but am now determined to cook up at my home here in the Rockies.

Recipes Across America isn’t just a cookbook, it’s a journey across the country in ways that relate to food. In sidebars throught the book you'll find food facts, folklore, recipe histories plus photos of food festivals and landmarks.

Of course, the recipes are the reason for the book being, and Taste of Home offered me one to share with you here:

Louisiana Red Beans and Rice
Excerpted from Taste of Home Recipes Across America: 735 of the Best Recipes from Across the Nation
By Taste of Home

red beans and rice

Smoked turkey sausage and red pepper flakes punch up the flavor of this saucy, slow-cooked version of the New Orleans classic. For extra heat, add red pepper sauce at the table.
-- Julia Bushree, Georgetown, Texas

Prep: 20 min.
Cook: 8 hours
Makes: 9 servings

4 cans (16 ounces each) kidney beans, rinsed and drained

1 can (14½ ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained

1 package (14 ounces) smoked turkey sausage, sliced

1 cup chicken broth

3 celery ribs, chopped

1 large onion, chopped

1 medium green pepper, chopped

1 small sweet red pepper, chopped

6 garlic cloves, minced

1 bay leaf

½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

2 green onions, chopped

Hot cooked rice

1. In a 4-qt. slow cooker, combine the first 11 ingredients. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours or until vegetables are tender. Stir before serving. Discard bay leaf.

2. Sprinkle each serving with onions. Serve with rice.

From now until September, Recipes Across America ($24.99) is available for purchase only at http://www.recipesacrossamerica.com. Come September 12, it will be available where books are sold.


GIVEAWAY

Taste of Home has generously offered to award one winner a copy of Recipes Across America ($24.99 value). Enter to win via Rafflecopter below through midnight August 12; US residents only, please. Winners will be notified via email and have 48 hours to provide shipping information; prize to be shipped by brand representative.

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I received a free review copy of the book plus the offer of one for this giveaway. Anecdotes and opinions are my own.

Best Loved Recipes: Taste of Home's latest offering

I've been a fan of the Taste of Home brand for quite some time. Take a look at this:

That is my collection of Taste of Home's Quick Cooking magazines, pulled from my cookbook shelves for the photo. The magazine on top? Take a closer look:

  

That is the premiere issue of one of my favorite cooking magazines. I obviously have pert near every issue since that first one in 1998. Yes, I'm a Taste of Home fan.

I recently received free for review Taste of Home's Best Loved Recipes cookbook. Considering the number of Taste of Home recipes I've looked at through the years, I think I'm pretty well qualified to tell you, yes, the 1,485 recipes included in the massive tome are indeed some of the best.

Upon receiving Best Loved Recipes, I spent quite some time going through the 26 chapters, everything from Appetizers to Soups. In between are chapters on anything and everything cooks—from beginning baker to accomplished chef—need to know, need to offer. A few of my favorite chapters: Cooking for One or Two (equally important for my empty nest as well as my little birdies who are now living solo), Mom Made It Best, Mealtime Express, and Grand-Prize Winners.

From the many chapters, I chose a handful of delights to try in preparation for this review. Of the few desserts and main dishes I prepared, these were my favorites...so far (photos and recipes directly from the book):

CANDY BAR APPLE SALAD — In my husband's words, "Any time a candy bar is included in the meal, it's a good meal."

 

TOFFEE POKE CAKE:

SHORTBREAD LEMON BARS:

My friends and family enjoyed those goodies in just the first week or so of having the hardcovered book in my hands. With more than a thousand left to choose from, I have no doubt we'll find many more favorites, many more that will be our very own best-loved recipes.

What I loved about the cookbook: As is the case with most Taste of Home offerings, the recipes are the real deal from real people, with no hoity toity kitchen acrobatics meant to impress judges over taste buds. I love that the cream of the crop—the very best of the best loved recipes—are marked with a Top 100 Recipe icon or included in the Grand-Prize Winners chapter. The quote from each contributor preceding their recipes provides a homey touch. the Mom Made It Best and Our Favorite Contributors' Meals chapters were especially delightful to peruse.

What I didn't love so much: I love that there are so many recipes between the covers, but that makes for a massive cookbook (928 pages!) that doesn't stand up real well on my cookbook holder. There are several full-color and glossy pages of luscious photos of many recipes batched together throughout the book, but I'm a phot fiend and would have loved to see more—though I realize that including more photos would make the book ridiculously large, so I get the reasoning on limiting them.

Taste of Home's Best Loved Recipes hardcover cookbook has a suggested price of $34.99. The cookbook will be available at all major book sellers September 13, but can be ordered now for $24.99 (with free shipping) through the Taste of Home website.