Disclosure: I was provided a copy of The New Family Cookbook from America’s Test Kitchen to facilitate my review. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.
Since it’s almost a New Year, and many people are creating new food resolutions, I have something special for you today. Whether you’re choosing to cook more, planning to eat as a family more often, or opting for healthier recipes in the New Year – I have something special for you today. A few months ago America’s Test Kitchen was kind enough to send me a copy of The New Family Cookbook to review. Now, this book is seriously no joke. It has a zillion (1,100) recipes and it’s huge. Like, college textbook huge. Their aim is to be a complete cookbook for your family and provide everything you may need in one book.
They nailed it.
What I love about America’s Test Kitchen is how scientific they are. They explain the cooking process and why one ingredient reacts a certain way when combined with another. They test their recipes many different ways and times so you can trust that they will come out correctly every time. As I went through the cookbook, I found such a variety of cooking tips, cooking methods, emergency substitutions, and even a break down on how to do certain things in some of the recipes on every few pages.
In addition to their scientific method of cooking, when testing recipes they are also testing many different products. From cooking utensils to food brands, they tell you what works best every time and often provide a price tag. For some of the more expensive items like pots, they’ll provide two or three different ranges of items for every budget.
Years ago when I first began experimenting in the kitchen, America’s Test Kitchen was one of my favorite shows and magazines. I enjoyed learning how things come together, the best way to cut certain meats and vegetables, and all other logical aspects of cooking. Now when I get creative with ingredients I still have my scientific facts on how they will come together. It truly is an art form and they even share the best ways to cut and prep your ingredients.
I love this easy cheat page right on the back cover that shows how to know when your meat is done, equivalent measurements on items and an easy conversion chart. It takes a lot of the guess work out since everything is right at your fingertips.
All this information PLUS 1,100 recipes makes this book HUGE. It’s fully comprehensive and comes with everything you could possibly need, and breaks down each recipe easily so it makes sense and it’s easy to follow. Since this book has so much, it was so hard for me to just test one recipe and share my thoughts on the book. So I chose quite a few recipes that would interest my family and had ingredients that I had on hand, but still had a variety. Easy peasy!
My first recipe was the Cranberry-Pecan Muffins found on page 568. The muffins include toasted pecans and cranberries that are chopped up with confectioners sugar. There’s also chopped pecans in the streusel topping. I thought this recipe would be a good start because muffins are always a good idea and it was a nice way to try out the methods that America’s Test Kitchen deems best for things like cranberries, which can be a bit sour sometimes in recipes. These muffins were so delicious, and even my family members that aren’t cranberry fans couldn’t get enough of these. Delish!
The next recipe I decided to try was the Carrot-Ginger Soup on page 102. Now I didn’t expect my family to love this, because we prefer chunkier soups and don’t really eat the pureed variety. The soup smelled delicious as it was cooking and the recipe as written prepares quite a bit of soup. It’s a mild soup that you can eat as is, or even add other vegetables or meat to and serve over rice or noodles. I liked the flavors a lot.
The next recipe was a quick dip, the Middle-Eastern Roasted Red Pepper Dip on page 22. With ingredients like walnuts, roasted red peppers, molasses and cayenne pepper I was quite intrigued. It ended up being really easy to pull together and the entire family enjoyed it. The flavor profile was interesting, slightly sweet with a depth in flavor.
I wanted to make a hearty meal for the family, so I chose the King Ranch Casserole on page 374. It includes baked tortillas, rotel tomatoes, chicken and fritos. It was definitely a filling meal and was not lacking in flavor, like so many casseroles tend to.
I’d like to preface this portion and add that I grew up absolutely hating Brussels sprouts. I could not stand them, I thought they were gross and it was a form of torture whenever my parents made them and made me eat them. I do have a recipe that I was surprised to like that is composed of shaved Brussels sprouts and they’re a part of a salad. I was pleasantly surprised that I liked it, but I decided to try something new with these Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Garlic, Red Pepper Flakes, and Parmesan that can be found on page 465. These were good! Like, delicious. Like, so delicious that I kept eating them like finger food as I took this photo. Like, looking at this photo is making me want more. Oh, they were sooo good. I’ve talked many times about how I love to roast veggies to bring out their flavor. That is the trick to these Brussels Sprouts. With the addition of garlic, red pepper flakes and Parmesan these are a total winner!
I had everything on hand to make these Cream Cheese brownies on page 637, so I thought why not? I love that the brownies aren’t overly sweet, and the swirls of cream cheese definitely add another dimension to these brownies. They were super easy to whip up and they were a snap to cut up too. Not overly fudgy, overly rich, or overly sweet.
The Final Verdict
Are you sold on this book yet? There’s seriously so many recipes in here. If my opinion isn’t enough, check out this video.
I thumbed through the book for a good week or so before I could even attempt to figure out what I wanted to try first. This would be a great book for kids to learn how to cook, or an addition to a well stocked cookbook collection. Any level of home chef can appreciate everything this cookbook has to offer. I’ve already challenged my family to each pick one recipe a week from it to test out and make themselves. You can too, since I’m giving one away!
Here’s how to enter:
Prize: One (1) Copy of The New Family Cookbook by America’s Test Kitchen.
Giveaway runs through the evening of January 12th.
Eligibility: Winners are limited to the continental United States and must be 18 years of age or older. See full contest rules in the rafflecopter form. You will be notified via the email you used in the rafflecopter form if you win, and you will have 48 hours to respond, or a new winner will be chosen.
Enter using the rafflecopter form below. You can sign into the form with Facebook, or you can use your name and email address. Good luck!