01 October 2022

2 Cookbooks with Fresh Ideas for Nutritious, Yummy Meals (Weekend Cooking)

We're finally done with our fall travels to visit family, and I've come home to a stack full of cookbooks to share with you. Today I'm sharing two that helped me put dinner on the table over the last few weeks.

Thanks to the publishers for providing me with review copies.

Book cover of Dinner in One by Melissa ClarkFirst up is the latest cookbook by one of my go-to authors: Dinner in One by Melissa Clark (Clarkson Potter). If you love delicious and easy one-dish dinners, then this is definitely the cookbook for you.

The recipes are grouped primarily by equipment (sheet pan, pressure cooker), but a few chapters focus on a course (pasta, soup), including one with one-bowl cake recipes.

After all our travels, I was less interested in dessert than I was in good eating, so I turned my attention to Clark's appealing and nutritious dinners.

One of the winners in the sheet pan chapter was the Glazed Tofu with Sweet Potatoes and Silky Red Peppers. In the introduction to the recipe, Clark writes: "If there's someone in your life who swears tofu is always boring and bland, this is the dish to change their mind." I'm here to say that this dinner did indeed change Mr. BFR's take on tofu. He even gladly ate the leftovers for lunch the next day!

We also liked the Spaghetti with Tuna, Capers, and Cherry Tomatoes from the pasta chapter and the Lemony Beef, Spinach, and Barley Soup from the pressure cooker chapter. I marked a ton of other recipes in Dinner in One for future dinners, such as Cheesy Meatball Parm with Spinach, Lemony Turkey and White Bean Soup with Winter Greens, and Garlicky Pork Chops with Cauliflower and Pomegranate.

The recipe introductions include helpful information, such as substitutions, side dishes, freezing information, and technique tips. Clark's directions are clear and easy to understand, and the recipes call for familiar ingredients.

Recommendation: I've trusted Melissa Clark's recipes for years, and her Dinner in One has a permanent place in my cookbook collection. Vegans, vegetarians, and gluten-free eaters will find a number of appropriate recipes.

Book cover of The Mediterranean Dish by Suzy KaradshehI'm sure I don't have to tell you that the world's love affair with Mediterranean foods is still going strong. I'm fully on that bandwagon, so I was excited to pick up a copy of The Mediterranean Dish by Suzy Karadsheh (Clarkson Potter). In case you've never heard of Karadsheh, she's the cook and spirit behind the very popular website The Mediterranean Dish. It's her site that I turn to first when I'm looking for a good and reliable Mideastern recipe.

Because Karadsheh grew up in Port Said and married into an American-Mideastern family, her perspective of Mediterranean food has a cosmopolitan twist. I also love that she infuses her website and recipes with her personal attitude about food and life: "Eat with the seasons; use mostly whole foods; and above all else, share."

Cooks newish to Mediterranean cooking will appreciate Karadsheh's guide to ingredients and what to keep in the pantry. Don't worry, the ingredients may be new to you, but they aren't hard to find. Be sure to read the recipe intros, because they contain useful tips and Karadsheh's personal story behind some of the recipes.

You'll find recipes for every meal plus snacks and sauces in The Mediterranean Dish. I made a few dinners and a couple of salads, and each dish was a winner. The Tuesday Night Skillet Chicken Cutlets with Artichokes and Mushrooms (which I served over orzo) is a great choice for spring or fall. The Farro, Corn, and Cherry Tomato Salad with Basil Vinaigrette screams summer, but we had it for September lunches. We also really liked the Garlicky Spinach and Chickpea Soup with Lemon and Pecorino Romano and Sheet-Pan Smoky Chicken, Chickpeas, and Carrots.

Of course, I've marked many more recipes to try this winter. Here are a few: Easy Homemade Pita Bread (I'd love to try her version), Mama’s Citrus-Carrot Jam (sounds so interesting), Roasted Bell Pepper Boats with Orzo and Basil Vinaigrette (we love stuffed peppers), Wine-Braised Lamb Shanks with Cinnamon and Rosemary (I love shanks!), and Orange-Cardamom–Olive Oil Cake.

Recommendation: I've been making Suzy Karadsheh's recipes for years and recommend her debut cookbook, The Mediterranean Dish, without reservation. Vegetarians and vegans will find many recipes to add to their repertoire, and I think gluten-free eaters will find plenty to cook.

Instead of typing out a recipe, I decided to share one of Suzy Karadsheh's videos so you can get a sense of her and her style of cooking. The recipe demonstrated here is for a Moroccan-style vegetarian dinner.

Shared with Weekend Cooking, hosted by Marg at The Intrepid Reader (and Baker)


Jackie McGuinness 10/1/22, 7:49 AM  

We have one more week of travel. We are extending it to visit family in Montreal on the weekend so we don't have to make that trip again this fall. We've had enough driving!
Can't wait to be in my own kitchen!

Karen 10/1/22, 7:49 AM  

Wow, I think I would definitely USE both of these, rather than flip through and admire the photos and then never open them again, as is the case with all too many cookbooks!

gluten Free A_Z Blog 10/1/22, 8:28 AM  

Welcome back from your travels. Ours are just beginning. We leave for Florida for the winter and some cruises. Thanks for the great reviews. Both both look appealing to me and I'm sure I would try the tofu recipe.

Tina 10/1/22, 10:26 AM  

Both cookbooks are appelaaing. So glad Mr BFR likes tofu now! It's a challenge here as well but I have found some recipes where it's acceptable to all :-)

Tina 10/1/22, 10:27 AM  

Appealing.....That's what I meant. That will teach me to hit publish before proofing!

Greg 10/1/22, 2:52 PM  

I'll have to look into The Mediterranean Dish. I kind of want to try the Roasted Bell PEpper Boat... Dinner In One sounds great too.

Vicki 10/1/22, 4:13 PM  

I may look for a copy of these books, I think I'd like them. I never had tofu until my son and his family became vegans. I tried it and it was ok, just not something I'd want to eat all the time.

Marg 10/1/22, 9:32 PM  

As great as travel is, it is always nice to get home to your own kitchen.

Both of these cookbooks look really good!

Claudia 10/2/22, 3:55 PM  

Dinner in One sounds like one I'd actually use! Love one dish cooking.

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