I’m one of those people who like to read cookbooks like novels. I really read them all the way through, checking out the photos and the complexity and getting a feel for the author before I cook anything out of them. It makes sense to me to try to get a feel for the personality of the chef/author, to find out if we’ll see eye to eye, so I’ll know if this is the kind of person who I’ll like “cooking with”.
Every now and then one of the cookbooks really stands out and becomes a resource I’ll go back to, over and over again. Perfect One-Dish Dinners – All You Need For Easy Get-Togethers is one of those kinds of cookbooks. It’s not just beautifully designed, with lots of luscious photos, it’s also chock-full of delicious recipes that feed a crowd or that allow a smaller family to cook a big meal for time-savings over the week. Every recipe I’ve made serves 4-6 or more, which means leftovers for our house – usually lunch for me for several days. The recipes are not super-simple, but for anyone who’s got a little cooking experience, you’ll quickly realize that making your own dumplings isn’t hard and results in a much tastier product than something out of a box.
I will say that “one-dish” is a bit of a misnomer, but don’t let that dissuade you. These recipes are delicious. They are get-together-ready. And the author, Pam Anderson, has grouped them so that you have a starter, an entree and a dessert, all together. I took a handful of the appetizer recipes and used them as snacks for a party, including Perfect Spinach-Artichoke Dip, Mini Parmesan Muffins with Prosciutto and Basil, Irish Soda Bread with Smoked Salmon and Lemon-Dill Butter, Parmesan Pepper Crisps, and The Best Seven-Layer Dip, with Perfect Cupcakes with Pineapple-Ginger Cream Cheese Frosting for dessert.
Some of the dinners I’ve made include One-Pot Penne, Spicy Chicken Enchiladas Verde, Chicken Biryani, Tamale Pie, and my favorite – Chicken Potpie with Green Apples and Cheddar Biscuits. The Penne was simple and delicious. The Enchiladas came together quickly on a busy night. The Chicken Biryani was a nice change of pace with great flavor. The tamale pie was a calorie buster, but really tasty. And the combination of the green apples in the potpie was fantastic.
This cookbook would make a great gift for the cook in your life, and many of the recipes come with “instant alternatives” – ways to speed the meal prep and simplify life. Whether you like cooking ahead, like me, or you feed a big household, or you’re looking for delicious options for supper club, this cookbook has great ideas you can put to use!