My love of cooking began at four years old. Instead of having tea parties like other little girls, I demanded a to play restaurant, where I made my own mac n’ cheese with cut up hot dogs and served it to my toys in my cafe. (Ahhh I miss the days when I ate dairy). I learned to cook and bake over the years, starting to make more and more complex recipes.
I received many cookbooks as presents (the ENTIRE Barefoot Contessa collection – thanks mom!) and would thumb through my mother’s favorites. Over time, I collected a roster of my favorites, perfect for quick and easy recipes! Now that I work full time, I don’t have time for Julia Child’s complex recipes and rely on easy tried and trues.
You’ll find that (and some more) in each of the cookbooks below.
The Defined Dish
I kid you not, I only cooked from the Defined Dish’s cookbook for two months straight. I kept thinking I would find a dud recipe, but I could not! This is the first cookbook from food blogger Alex Snodgrass, and it’s 10/10 amazing.
The cookbook focuses mainly on Whole30 friendly recipes that a busy professional can make for their family. It contains several one dish and 30 minute recipes.
Family Style, Barefoot Contessa
This was the book that got me into cooking. Every recipe is 10/10. Ina Garten is basically my cooking fairy godmother. My favorite part is how easy the recipes are, most of them can be made in under an hour. Some of them require a bit more prep, but I promise you they are WORTH it.
The Dahlia Bakery
Oh the cakes, the pies, the every single recipe in this cookbook! I could wax on poetically about my love for the creamy fillings, the smooth frosting, the cherry pie…it’s all delicious. This book took my baking to the next level. While some of the recipes are more complex and time consuming, they’re well worth the effort (only on the weekends).
I’d suggest heading straight for the Olive Oil Cake, Cherry Hand Pies (which I usually make into a big pie because who has the time to make individuals) and torte section.
How Easy Was That?, Barefoot Contessa
Can you tell that I like the Barefoot Contessa? Something about her tasty recipes and style of writing have me turning to her again and again. While these recipes are rarely dairy free or gluten free, I find that they can be easily modified! I typically sub oat milk 1:1 with regular milk, or coconut cream for real cream. Easy peasy!