When I was in college, I did not cook a lot. If I did cook, I usually made fajitas or quesadillas. They were so easy to make and let’s face it, I love Mexican food. After I graduated college and moved to Hoboken, NJ, I became obsessed with the Food Network and I got hooked on the show, The Barefoot Contessa. The show prompted a new love of food and cooking.
If you are not familiar with The Barefoot Contessa, it is a show hosted by Ina Garten. She previously worked in the White House Office of Management and Budget and moved to East Hampton after seeing an ad for a specialty food store for sale in the New York Times. She purchased the specialty food store and developed many great recipes that she features in her books and on her show. I love that her recipes are classic (as she would say, with the volume turned up), easy to make, and taste impressive. Another bonus is that the ingredients are easy to find. I hate when I find a recipe that I want to make only to discover that I need a small amount of something that I most likely will never use again.
My love of food and cooking has grown over the past few years but more recently, I have started cooking more healthy meals for myself and my family. I have become a big fan of Paleo and I find myself focusing on making Paleo friendly meals. If you are not familiar with Paleo, it is a clean way of eating that focuses on lean meats, nuts, fruits, and vegetables.
Some of my favorite cookbooks that I think are must haves are:
The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook | The first cookbook by Ina Garten. My favorite recipes include:
Barefoot Contessa Parties | I use a lot of recipes in this book for Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve. My favorites are mashed potatoes, ham and cheese tart.
Barefoot Contessa at Home | This is the first Barefoot Contessa cookbook that I ever received. It has so many great recipes for out
Julie Bauer’s Paleo Cookbook | If you are curious about Paleo recipes, I highly recommend this book. I’ve made so many recipes from this cookbook for people and they had no idea that the recipes were Paleo. My favorite is the Buffalo Chicken Casserole.
Better Homes and Gardens | This is a great cookbook because it covers all of the classics like spaghetti and meatballs, pancakes, banana bread, etc.
See below for my other favorites: