My husband and I love to cook together, but with a kid, some days it’s hard to do. One of us is on play duty while the other is on cooking duty. Every month we try to add a new dish to our go-to rotation of meals. Lately, we have been chowing down on this Salmon Avocado Salad I found from one of my favorite YouTubers (Darci Isabella). YouTube and Pinterest are two of my favorite places to go for a new dish, but I still love to have a physical cookbook on hand.

We try to purchase only cookbooks that have simple meals, with ingredients that are easy to find. The books that I am sharing today are my must-haves in the kitchen because we’ve cooked so many meals from them or reference them on a weekly basis.

Get creative in the kitchen!

Nom Nom Paleo by Michelle Tam
I didn’t get this cookbook based on the Paleo trend; I purchased this book based on design, layout, photos, comic illustrations, and the focus on Asian-influenced meals. Vietnamese, Korean, Japanese inspired foods are our favorites.
The dishes in this book are fun and straightforward. Also, it encourages you to include your kids in the kitchen, which I absolutely love. I also learned some new things along the way, like our fifth sense of taste (umami), which is the only way to explain the fantastic combined effect of multiple flavors on the palate or how to make your own kicking Sriracha from scratch.

Our favorite dishes:

  • Smashed Steak Skewers with Cherry Barbecue Sauce
  • Coconut Pineapple Cauliflower Rice

Vegetarian: 101 recipes celebrating fresh, seasonal ingredients,
by Alice Hart

We love to add vegetarian dishes to our meal planning once or twice a week. Vegetarian meals for us can be challenging because we get stuck, making the same dishes over and over again. This book really helps us step out of the box when preparing our vegetarian meals. We found preserving the texture is critical, for if it gets mushy, it’s Yuck! Yuck!

Our favorite dishes:

  • Carrot fritters with halloumi and sweet lemon dressing
  • Charred baby cauliflower with cumin, chili and almonds

The Abascal Way
If you need to detox or jump-start back into healthy eating, this is my favorite book. I love the recipes in this book; the meals are simple and easy to make. If you need to know more check out my previous post.

Our favorite dishes:

  • Eggs over easy in a nest of braised cabbage
  • Spicy Slaw (great with hummus)
Embrace Old School Chef Basics & Hacks. My kitchen is not complete without these books on hand.

The Basics by Filip Verheyden
When the recipe calls for your gourmet moves, and you have no idea what a Croquettes, Soufflé, Roux, Fish Stock, or Consommé is, this is the perfect pocket guide. Even if you never make some of these things, you may see it on a menu at a restaurant and knowing your stuff may help you use your gourmet moves on your selection.

Best Choices from The Peoples Pharmacy, by Joe and Teresa Graedon
Anyone who has listened to this radio show probably owns this book. It is a mix of old-time remedies that may or may not work, remarkable stories, and things in the kitchen that may help you when you are desperate for relief. Such as soothing a cough with chicken broth & thyme, or for a leg cramp, sip 1 oz. of pickle juice, or for constipation: try prunes or apples. The perfect book to keep in the kitchen, as food is medicine.

Kitchen Hacks (How Clever Cooks Get Things Done)
This book has cool tips and tricks that make me feel like the queen of hacks in the kitchen! I try to keep my tools in the kitchen to a minimum; I don’t always want to add a gadget for this and a device for that (although I just got an excellent cheese grater from my mother-in-law and we can’t wait to get back to making homemade pimento cheese). The tips in this book are written short and to the point. Love the clean layout, design, and its excellent use of illustration, which makes it easy to follow the tips.

Fermentation & Herbs
Although I have tried many different books on this subject and have yet to find a favorite. Mostly because I’m not much of a canning kind of girl, but I do love pickling. It covers fermentation of all types of vegetables, such as carrots, cucumbers, kraut, onions, and eggs.

For the minimalists that have gotten rid of all their books, here are my favorite online resources for new recipes:

Hope that helps you pick the right books for your kitchen and start cooking amazing meals for your family.

I am not an herbalist or a doctor. Do your research! Be sure you and your family members are not allergic to any of these ingredients before using this recipe. All the items on this blog post were purchased with my own money and are not sponsored. Just products I love, that also make my life a little easier.