America’s Test Kitchen is one of my favorite PBS shows to watch. It is always so interesting to hear their take on “the perfect” way to make any dish. Often I have taken their advice and have been able to take simple foods to an entirely new level. Their companion magazine, Cook’s Illustrated, is just as much fun to read as the shows are to watch. When I found their book,The Best Skillet Recipes: A Best Recipe Classic ,I wanted to see what goodies they had in store. I was not disappointed.
I think one of my favorite features of any Cook’s Illustrated book is their product comparisons. I like to know what most people think is the best brand of chocolate or egg noodle or peanut butter. It doesn’t always mean that is the brand I will buy (or can even afford), but at least I know. You know?
Between the wonderful illustrations and great introductions to each recipe, there is some really great information in this book. Cutting up a whole chicken 101 is on page 51. How to fry and shape your own crispy taco shells is on page 163. Want to make some compound butter for the freezer? It’s on page 23. Want to make a beautiful tart tatin? It’s on page 324.
This is actually a great basic weeknight, busy life cookbook. Many of the recipes like Baked Ziti, Meatloaf and Ramen with Pork, Scallions and Cabbage are quick and frugal. There are also some recipes for less standard, but still delicious fare like Thai curry, Stir-Fried Glazed Tofu, Fish Tacos, and Pan-Seared Salmon with Lentils and Chard. None of the recipes seemed too involved, all sounded delicious.
I would definitely recommend this book as a gift for a new cook or for an experienced cook who might be wanting to refine some meals that have become boring. There is something for everyone in this one!
I made American Chop Suey for this post. First off, I was completely unfamiliar with this dish. No where in any of my culinary adventures had someone placed a plate in front of me and said, “have some chop suey!” From the name, however, I was expecting an Asian inspired concoction. I was completely floored when I set off to make it and it was, in fact, what I have always called “goulash.” This dish was delicious, and will join my list of favorite skillet dinners, but I may not be calling it chop suey.
Cookbook Review: The Best Skillet Recipes
Author: Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 red, yellow or orange bell pepper, seeded and chopped
- 1 celery rib, sliced thinly
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 15 oz tomato sauce
- 14.5 oz petite diced tomatoes
- 1½ cups chicken broth
- 8 oz elbow macaroni
- salt and pepper to taste
- Heat the oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium and cook onion, pepper and celery until soft.
- Add the garlic and cook another minute.
- Add the beef, stirring and breaking it up.
- Cook until beef is browned.
- Add the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes with juice, chicken broth and pasta.
- Cover, increase the heat until it boils, then reduce the heat to simmer until the pasta is cooked.
- Add salt and ground pepper to taste (maybe 1 tsp salt and ½ tsp pepper).
I made this gluten free by substituting gluten-free pasta and using gf chicken broth (Herb Ox)
Note: I received no compensation for this post and all opinions are mine.