If you’ve been reading my blog for awhile, then you know that I’m not a gourmet chef. I’m heavily reliant on Dream Dinners, spaghetti, and the Chinese restaurant down the street for my sustenance. I was very excited when I received the new Taste of Home Cookbook, Cooks Who Care Edition.
The Taste of Home Cookbook, Cooks Who Care Edition is divided into 19 sections plus an index. Each section starts off with a Cooks Who Care story, which celebrates chefs who have given back to their communities by hosting fund raising events, donating Thanksgiving dinners, helping young women learn essential life skills, and through other acts of kindness. In addition to the almost 1400 recipes, the Taste of Home Cookbook, Cooks Who Care Edition has tons of pictures of finished meals and preparation tips,and a kitchen basics guide. Throughout the cookbook, there are little sections that have helpful tips that range from which apples to use for baking to how long to cook a beef roast to medium-rare. As if that wasn’t enough, people who purchase The Taste of Home Cookbook also receive a free subscription to Taste of Home Magazine, plus access to addition recipes on the taste of Home website
Each recipe has a little icon with it to let you know if it’s a Classic Recipe (like how Mom used to make it), Time-Saver Recipe (perfect when you’re short on time), Light Recipe (for healthier eating), and Serves 2 Recipes (for when you’re only serving 2 – duh!) Recipes will also give you a prep time and a cook time so you can plan your meal-making process. The recipes give you the ingredients, directions, and importantly, the nutrition facts for each serving. They also show the chef/mom/dad/person who contributed the recipe.
Of course, to test out the cookbook I had to cook up some recipes! After flipping through the different sections (I had to flip! There were too many recipes to read all of them!) I singled out the following four dishes:
Buttermilk Fried Chicken with Gravy
Flavor: 3/5. I thought that the chicken was cooked and tasted perfect, but others thought it needed a little salt. One really nice thing about the chicken was that it tasted really light, even though it was fried. Not sure if that’s the recipe or the peanut oil we used for frying. The chicken came out nice and crispy, but still moist on the inside. The gravy didn’t go over quite as well as the chicken – many thought it was a little bland.
Instructions: 3.5/5. In general, the instructions were clear and the chicken cooked up well following them as written. Even when I thought that the chicken couldn’t possibly come out well following their directions, it did. The only hiccup came with the gravy. It took a lot longer for the gravy to thicken than what the book says – although the cooking time could have been affected by my attempt to double the recipe.
Bacon Twice-Baked Potatoes
Flavor: 5/5. These potatoes are AWESOME. Bacon? Check. Cheese? Check. Chives? Check. Potato? Check. The best baked potato I’ve ever had. If I were to change anything, it would be to add even more bacon than the recipe specifies. The recipe is fairly straight forward, so it’s very easy to tweak/customize to your own tastes.
Instructions: 5/5. Everything cooked up well by following the instructions. It took the amount of prep and baking time that was suggested.
Cider Apple Bake
Flavor: 4.5/5. The recipe called for eating these with half-and-half or heavy whipping cream. We tried it with cream first and were all quite surprised at how well the cream blended with and augmented the flavor of the apples. I took off half a star because other tasters tried it with French Vanilla ice cream and thought it tasted better. I liked it with the cream. Overall, the flavor of the apples was very nice and not too sweet. I definitely recommend eating this warm.
Instructions: 4.5/5. The instructions were good, but I think it takes longer than 10 minutes to peel and slice 6 large apples. Then again, I could just be a slow peeler. Otherwise, baking and cooking instructions were clear and followed.
Golden Lemon Bread
Flavor: 5/5. The Golden Lemon Bread was another big hit. It has a great texture that is half way between bread & pound cake, but it’s not heavy at all. All of the lemon flavor comes from the glaze that you make and top the bread with after it’s pulled out of the oven, which is amazing because the lemon flavor really permeated every bite without being overwhelming. This is the one dish of the four that I’ve been asked to bake again, which I will because it’ super easy.
Instructions: 4.5/5. Again, the instructions were good and the amount of prep time was accurate to the minute. It took my loaf an extra 5 minutes in the oven to bake fully. This is to be expected since ovens can be so moody from home to home.
I am VERY happy that I got the opportunity to review and test out the Taste of Home Cookbook, Cooks Who Care Edition. It’s a thorough, clear, and helpful cookbook that even beginners can use. The recipes are easy to read, follow, and based off my small sampling, should taste great.
If you would like your very own copy of Taste of Home Cookbook, Cooks Who Care Edition, you can purchase it on amazon.com or you can enter the….
WCatDD Taste of Home Cookbook Giveaway!
One lucky winner will receive one copy of the Taste of Home Cookbook, Cooks Who Care Edition.
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Giveaway ends at 11:59 PM EST, October 22, 2009.
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