Single Lady Tips: Cookbooks

Although I do pull a fair amount of recipes off of Pinterest (follow me here and you’ll see how many I’ve really pinned and tried!) I love using a tangible cookbook.  They just look so pretty stacked or shelved in your kitchen or dining room and it can be so nice to just sit and page through looking for a great new recipe to try!

Of course, all the single ladies (and guys) will understand the struggles I face as so many cookbooks really don’t focus on my needs AT ALL.  Here’s what I look for in a cookbook:

  • Quick recipes – TBH I don’t want to spend 4 hours every night preparing my dinner.  I’m good with an hour or so as long as that can feed me at least two dinners and one lunch.
  • Simple recipes – I’m not saying it has to be 3 ingredients or less, but it’s best if I generally have 90% of the ingredients on hand and the terminology isn’t too complicated.  I don’t have the patience to cook like Julia Childs every night!
  • Reasonable portions – It’s nice to find recipes that are good for only two servings since I’m just one person, but it’s also good to find recipes that are good for more, especially if it’s one that freezes well (hello crock pot recipes!).
  • Delicious – Should this really be something I have to say?

Let’s get to it – the good, the bad and the ugly of my cookbook obsession!  (Really just the good, the very, very good.)

30-MINUTE ONE-POT MEALS

30 minute one pot meals

I picked this guy up at Costco last weekend for $12.99, but you can get it on Amazon for only $12.35!  I haven’t made anything yet, but am planning on whipping up the “Pan-Seared Chicken with Creamy Garlicky Wine Sauce” for dinner sometime this weekend.  I’m excited to really work my way through it for a couple of reasons. One, they look so appetizing and two, 30-MINUTE ONE-POT MEALS.  Seriously, I can be done cooking and cleaning up in less than 35 minutes.  I don’t play when it comes to amazing things like this!

The Little Black Apron

little black apron

I can’t lie to you guys: I bought this book because the cover was SO CUTE!  Also, clearly the marketing team knew who they were talking to because the subtitle “A Single Girl’s Guide to Cooking with Style & Grace” couldn’t be more fitting for my cooking goals.

I think this is a great book for true beginners because it does a great job of defining so many terms and helping you understand how to stock your pantry and how to “whip up” simple things at the last minute out of staples.  It also gives you recipes with only  a few servings (think 2-3 depending on how much you actually eat), which is pretty cool for the single ladies (or single dudes).  My favorite recipes in this book are the salads.  I often find I get really uninspired by lettuce and The Little Black Apron has some really great ideas of how to dress up your greens and some great vinaigrettes you can make just a few servings of!

Cravings

cravings

You know I had to go for at least ONE super-trendy, totally-in-right-now cookbook!  Chrissy’s book uses a ton of whole, fresh ingredients and usually I’m pretty familiar with everything on the list.  My favorite in her book is the “Shaved Brussels Sprouts with Grapes and Almonds;” honestly, it’s a pretty simple recipe, and uses ingredients I usually have around or love to eat, but wouldn’t normally throw into one dish.  This is why I need cookbooks though – to help with the inspiration!

Crock Pot 5 Ingredients or Less

crock pot

Y’all know I love a good set it and forget it crock pot meal, especially now that it’s cooling down and we’re heading into fall and winter.  There’s not much that can beat the smell when you walk into your house after work and you can tell that your dinner is ALREADY DONE.  Seriously, whoever came up with crock pots, I bow down to you.  Also, whoever came up with crock pot LINERS, you’re equally as great.  You have made clean up a cinch!  I promise, they are totally worth the $$$.  Anyway, this crock pot book does a good job of utilizing ingredients you have on hand and the recipes are super easy.

On my List:

I have a few other books that I don’t LOVE quite as much, but there are also a few that I’ve got my eye on…

Eat Like a Gilmore

It hasn’t been released yet, but I may or may not be planning to pre-order…

Skinnytaste: Fast & Slow

I’ve loved every skinnytaste recipe I’ve tried from the blog, so I think this whole skinnytaste quick-fix thing is a great idea.

Make it Ahead: A Barefoot Contessa Cookbook

Ina Garten is one of those totally aspirational chefs.  When I watch any of her shows, I’m just thinking, “I see now; I just need to harvest my own wheat/vanilla/oranges/EVERY SINGLE INGREDIENT.  Then I’ll be able to make perfect gourmet meals in 15 minutes while also cleaning my house and traveling to foreign countries.  I’ve been doing it all wrong with the store-bought variety.”  Props to Buzzfeed for the amazing Barefoot Contessa listicles: 1|2|3

Spoiler: I am 75% Barefoot Contessa.  I’m shocked it’s that much!

The Tucci Cookbook

Basically I just love Stanley Tucci and I feel like his cookbook would be pretty good.  I think there should be an audio version to go along with it, so you can listen to him explain the recipe as you’re reading it/cooking.

Easy Strawberry Cobbler

One of my girlfriends and I have a running joke that I won’t make anything with more than five ingredients.  While this isn’t true, I am always the go-to girl if you need a quick and easy recipe.  I like things that require five ingredients or less, 10 minutes or less of prep, and can be cooked/baked in under an hour (perfect when you love to have people over at the last minute!).

I made this cobbler recipe Wednesday morning when I got back from a walk through the park near my house.  I had leftover sliced up strawberries that I knew I wouldn’t want to eat and I was able to throw everything together and let it bake while I took a shower – a perfect sweet breakfast treat!

Easy Strawberry Cobbler

Serves 2

Ingredients:

1 cup sliced or diced strawberries (or any berry, really)*
1 1/2 Tbsp. sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp. flour

Crumble:
1/4 c. oats
1/4 c. flour
1 Tbsp. sugar
2 Tbsp. melted butter

*This recipe is perfect for berries that are past their prime!

Dishes:

Two 2 c. prep bowls
Two ramekins (mine are 4 oz. size – Norpro 6 Piece Porcelain Ramekin Set)

Directions:

1. Mix the strawberries, sugar and flour together until evenly coated and spoon into your ramekins.
2. Mix the oats, flour and sugar together evenly.
3. Add the melted butter to the oat mixture slowly and blend it.  You should get a pretty crumbly texture.
4. Split the crumbles evenly on top of each ramekin.
5. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes.  I recommend putting the ramekins on a cookie sheet as they tend to overtop and the berry syrup is tough to clean off the oven bottom!

Quick Breakfast: Mug Scrambled Eggs

Dela Darling: Mug Scrambled Eggs
While this week definitely hasn’t been the busiest for me, I’ve been doing a lot of housewalking and regular outdoor walking to drive up my step count (Thanks for the motivation, Laurie – I’m coming for you!).  Even though I’ve been feeling great all week and sleeping better as a result, I found that I’m spending more time in the mornings trying to get my steps in than actually accomplish things like getting dressed and eating breakfast.  I feel like a kid who just got a new videogame and I am ADDICTED.  My cousin literally told me she “couldn’t even take me seriously” while we chatted since I was so focused on housewalking…
Anywayyyyy, cue a quick recipe for mug scrambled eggs.  Such an easy recipe that requires such little effort that it’s not even a big deal for a weekday morning.  I was even able to housewalk while I microwaved and while I ate – twofer!
Dela Darling: Mug Scrambled Eggs
 
Mug Scrambled Eggs
Ingredients:
2 eggs
2 Tbsp. (approx.) of milk – any kind is fine
2 Tbsp. (approx.) of shredded cheese – any kind you prefer.  I like cheddar or pepperjack, but sometimes Feta adds a little different flavor to the mix.
Salt & pepper to taste
Directions:
Crack those eggs right into your mug; then whisk together with the milk, salt and pepper (I just use a fork for this. #lazy #dishwasherfriendly).  Sprinkle the cheese on top and microwave for 2 minutes.
Dela Darling: Mug Scrambled Eggs
 Who doesn’t love a quick, hot meal in the morning?  And of course, so adorable in one of my Anthropologie mugs.  Definitely filled my belly and brightened up my morning yesterday!  (Seriously ladies, tableware can set the stage for your entire day.)