This post is sponsored by Taste of Home in conjunction with Blog Meets Brand, and I have been compensated for my participation. All opinions are my own.
When it comes to weeknight dinners, the saying, “If you fail to plan then you plan to fail” is absolutely spot-on. Raise your hand if you’ve found yourself in a fast food drive-thru on a Wednesday night because you started thinking about dinner at 5:30 and all the meat in your home was frozen solid and/or you were missing one key ingredient for pretty much everything you could think of that would come together quickly.
My hand is high in the air, friends. I’m guessing yours is, too.
We all know that creating a menu for the week is smart, but even that task can take quite a while to accomplish (I usually head to Pinterest looking for recipes and then get totally lost in DIY ideas and other life hacks and run out of time before I’ve found what I was originally looking for!). I’ve also found that I often will put together menu ideas that sound fantastic, only to realize when it’s time to start cooking that the recipes are much more complicated than I thought (I can’t even count the number of times I have been working through a recipe that I expect to be feeding my family 30 minutes later, only to find, “marinade the meat overnight” in the directions. UGH!!!!).
And this is why I’m really enjoying a brand new cookbook put out by Taste of Home called The Simple & Delicious Cookbook. It contains a whopping 1,347 different recipes that perfectly fit the needs of my busy schedule as a working mom who is also the head chef at home.
This full color binder has categories that make my heart sing, because they are exactly what I’m looking for, especially for weeknight options. Check out the categories:
- Snacks, Apps & Beverages
- Finished in 15
- 30 Dinners in 30
- On the Stovetop
- Slow Cooking
- Oven Entrees
- Quick Casseroles
- Fast Comfort Food
- Sides & Salads
- Breads Made Easy
- Good Morning
- Lunch on the Go
- Buy This, Make That
- Cook Once, Eat Twice
- Make-Ahead Magic
- Potluck Perfect
- Sweet Treats
- Desserts in a Dish
- Party Time!
- Holiday Highlights
Within the book, many of the recipes have large, color images next to them. But what I LOVED seeing was that at the very front of each section, every single recipe has a small color photo shown, which means you get to see everything in this book! That’s a rare thing to find in a cookbook, and especially at this price point.
I’ve been using this cookbook quite a bit since school started back as I have to really stay on top of the dinner plan in order to ensure that the kids’ homework gets finished and we eat something that is nutritious and that everyone will enjoy. The Simple & Delicious Cookbook is full of exactly what I’m looking for and since it’s all in one place, it keeps me from getting distracted online or from selecting recipes that are too complicated. The spinach & bacon salad with peaches (found on p. 259) was absolutely beautiful and easy! I cooked and crumbled the bacon in the morning and that helped this recipe come together lightning fast at dinner time!
Another big hit was the maple sausage skillet (p. 92). The onions, peppers and mushrooms became completely irresistible once I added a small amount of maple syrup. I have made similar meals to this, ingredient-wise, but it’s never occurred to me to add maple syrup. It tasted fantastic!!!
And for Taco Tuesday last week, we went in a new direction and had Thai Chicken Tacos (p. 59). I loved having a brand new idea for taco night and being able to introduce a different flavor profile. I also love that this recipe called for a rotisserie chicken, as taking a cooking shortcut like that can save you a ton of time (and I also think rotisserie chickens are a bargain…they usually don’t cost much more than an uncooked whole chicken!).
I’ve even been able to find some fun special treats for after school (my kids come home positively ravenous most days so I’ve got to be ready for them!). I made caramel heavenlies (p. 467) and we all immensely enjoyed them! They came together really fast and just needed time to cool down before being served. It’s even one your kids would love to help make!
If you are struggling with weeknight dinners or with avoiding the drive-thru, I highly recommend checking out The Simple & Delicious Cookbook. With so many recipes being offered, you could reject 2/3 of them and still have enough recipes ideas to provide a recipe each day for 1 year and 3 months with no repeats. And if you try them all? Well then you’ve got enough recipes in here to try one new thing each day for 3 years and 9 months. All for less than $20. That’s a no-brainer, if you ask me!