They taught us real food, or guarded our budget, or helped us do both! These are the cookbooks I turn to again and again.
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Pretty Simple Cooking
100 Delicious vegetarian recipes to make you fall in love with real food
By Sonja and Alex Overhiser
This cookbook made me fall in the love with plant-based eating. Rather than scaring you about what you’re currently eating or making you feel bad about your food choices up to this point, Pretty Simple Cooking shows you just how beautiful, simple, and delicious real food can be. No harsh rules, just delicious plant-forward recipes that make you think, “hey, I could do this.”
Because this is a vegetarian cookbook, most of the recipes and main dishes are reasonably budget-friendly. Naturally, use your discretion to decide whether certain recipes are in your budget or not.
My Favorites Recipes from Pretty Simple Cooking:
- Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Skillet Cookie
- Balsamic Blueberry Breakfast Parfait
- Layered Mediterranean Hummus Platter
- Baked Goat Cheese
- Irresistible Tomato Almond Dip
100 Days of Real Food on a Budget
Simple tips and tasty recipes to help you CUT OUT PROCESSED FOOD without breaking the bank.
By Lisa Leake
If eating healthy is completely jacking up your grocery bill, this is the cookbook for you! So many fantastic fundamentals and yummy recipes to saving money while eating healthy, all shared in the endearing fashion of Lisa Leake’s other 100 Days of Real Food cookbooks.
- Cinnamon Roll Pancakes
- Zucchini Egg Scramble
- Easy Chinese Chicken
- Fast Food Chicken Nuggets (my kids’ favorite, obvs)
- Spaghetti Squash Carbonara
- Zucchini & Feta Fritters
- Not a recipe, but her 10 Ingredient Swaps to Save You Money is so helpful!
I have many, many more that I’ve tried and have earmarked to try, but these are the recipes we make again and again.
Soul Food Love
Healthy Recipes Inspired by One Hundred Years of Cooking in a Black Family
Part family biography and part cookbook, Soul Food Love is one of my favorites for a few reasons. The first half of the cookbook tells the story of the authors’ families, and the second half shares the dishes inspired by their legacy. By the time you get to the recipes, they remind of you of Paw Paw and Dear, and Caroline, and Grandma Bontemps.
The other reason I love it is because I grew up in the South, and I like healthy cooking. The authors put a fresh spin on classic Soul Food flavors while honoring the traditions that started them.
We use the recipes in this cookbook all the time.
Some of my favorite recipes from Soul Food Love are:
- African Chickpea Soup
- Salmon Croquettes
- A Mess of Greens
- Spicy Pepper Chicken
- Sweet Potato, Kale, and Black-Eyed Pea Soup
- Peanut Chicken Soup
100 Super Delicious Recipes by Kids, for Kids!
A new favorite! One of the authors of Chef Junior is from our favorite kids’ cooking class, Kids Cook Real Food. With gorgeous photos, kid-friendly recipes, and simple instructions, this cookbook makes me want to get into the kitchen more. This summer, my kids are using Chef Junior as part of their Summer School, choosing recipes they want to make each week.
So far, our favorite recipes from Chef Junior are:
- Taco Casserole
- Breakfast Burritos
- Apple Sandwiches
- Cucumber Salad
- Oven-Roasted Green Beans
- Pineapple-Lemon Ice Pops
- Peanut Butter & Chocolate Mini Cups
How to Cook Everything
Simple Recipes for Great Food
By Mark Bittman
This is the cookbook every home cook needs in their kitchen. Need a good brownie recipe but don’t want to chance a random Pinterest tutorial? This cookbook has it.
I mean, pretty much all of them.
Found a weird cut of meat on sale but you have no idea how to cook it? This cookbook has it.
And it’s simple, easy to follow, and delicious.
- Um, the brownies
- Blueberry cobbler
- Ratatouille (who knew it was so simple?!)
- Cheese straws (like crackers, kind of)
- Fried rice
- How to cook a chicken breast perfectly
Cookbooks that help me Save Money and Eat Healthy:
- Nourishing Traditions (real food traditional cooking education)
- Breakfasts by Sue Gregg (whole grain baking and recipes)
- How to Cook Everything (you need a recipe? It’s probably in here)
- Soul Food Love (memoir meets cookbook – soul food recipes with a healthy spin)
- Pretty Simple Cooking (plant-forward vegetarian recipes)
- 100 Days of Real Food on a Budget