Most people in America are short on time. Everyone loves a home cooked meal, but how do you find time and/or motivation to get one on the table at the end of a crazy day at work? The only thing I want to do at the end of a long work day is sit on the couch, read or watch TV, and tune out the world for a bit. I actually love to cook, but when cooking becomes an obligation, I despise it. I also hate having to clean the kitchen every time I cook, which is all the more reason to pick up take out and toss it out with the garbage when finished.
I'm certain I'm not the only one who feels like this. Enjoying cooking prompts me to check out more than my fair share of cookbooks from the library and I often find myself flipping through them on the couch at the end of the day, pausing at a delicious sounding recipe, and thinking, "Who has this kind of time??" Spending over an hour on cooking and clean up combined is far too much for me and a number of cookbooks seem to be written from the vantage point that I have nothing better to do than slave my evening away. I finally found a (perhaps obvious) solution: quick and easy cookbooks. As many cookbooks as I've perused in my life, it's funny to me that it took me so long to pick one up. I'm sort of a foodie wannabe, so I guess I've stuck to the critically acclaimed and famous chef cookbooks, which don't a care a lick about my schedule.
Here are some of my favorite quick and easy cookbooks that you can find at the library. Just because it's quick and easy does not mean I want to skimp on flavor or freshness, so these are all cookbooks that keep taste in mind and minimize the not-so-healthy shortcuts that can be typical of these types of books:
(Hint: To find a complete list of quick and easy cookbooks in FindIt, the library catalog, type in "quick and easy cookery" and select Subject from the dropdown menu to the right of the search box.)
The 30-minute Vegan: Over 175 Quick, Delicious, and Healthy Recipes For Everyday Cooking
I'm not vegan, but there are some major health benefits to eating like one and I love, love, love this cookbook! This cookbook helped me figure out how to make cooking vegan a little simpler and a little quicker. They even have recipes for easy, green juices that I love to start my day off with. I'm excited about The 30-minute Vegan's Taste of the East, which came out last year and is currently on order for the library.
The Art of Simple Food: Notes, Lessons, and Recipes From a Delicious Revolution
Alice Waters, the author of this title, is the co-founder of Chez Panisse, but that's no reason to be intimidated. These recipes are healthy, utilize fresh ingredients, and are super simple. Waters also includes lots of helpful hints useful to any cook.
Everyday Food: Fresh Flavor Fast: 250 Easy, Delicious Recipes For Any Time of Day
Martha Stewart and Co. are responsible for "Everyday Food". The recipes are delicious and simple and great for families. If you subscribe to the magazine, there isn't much here that will be new to you, but, if not, this is one of those books that you'll use time and again.
Mariel's Kitchen: Simple Ingredients For a Delicious and Satisfying Life
I've always had a little crush on Mariel Hemingway, but I promise that's not why I included her book here. Mariel lives a very healthy lifestyle and, after reading and enjoying Mariel Hemingway's Healthy Living From the Inside Out, I was thrilled she was putting out a cookbook so I could take a look at some of the food she enjoys eating. These recipes are healthy, flavorful, and, most importantly, easy!
Mark Bittman's Kitchen Express: 404 Inspired Seasonal Dishes You Can Make in 20 Minutes or Less
I have two of Bittman's other cookbooks, How to Cook Everything and How to Cook Everything Vegetarian, which I refer to constantly. Although I've stumbled across a few recipes that just haven't turned out at all like he said they would, most of the time this book does not disappoint and the prep and cook time estimates are almost always accurate.
Vegan On the Cheap: Great Recipes and Simple Strategies That Save You Time and Money
The recipes I've tried in this book are easy and delicious and it has helped me enjoy some dishes and vegetables I never had before. The emphasis in this one is on cost, so all of the food costs are broken out for you, but it also works as a quick recipe book. So far, I haven't spent more than an hour on any one recipe.
Vegetarian Times: Fast and Easy: Great Foods You Can Make in Minutes
This is another one where if you receive "Vegetarian Times" at home or browse them at the library, you may not find much new here. But, for those of us that don't subscribe, this is a great little collection of their easier recipes.