Dinner Product Reviews

8 Essential Cookbooks Every Busy Family Needs

Dear Pinterest, we are not breaking up. I promise.

You know I love Pinterest, I really do – especially for finding incredible recipes. I have so many boards dedicated to different types of food, I probably have enough recipes pinned to last a lifetime. Truth is though, when I need to plan meals or am looking for a solid, time-tested recipe, I often turn to my ever-growing collection of cookbooks.

Confession: I have a cookbook problem. I often joke with my momfriends that they can come cover anytime and check out a book from my library. It’s bad. Me + Barnes & Noble = Trouble. Can’t. Stop. Won’t. Stop. Collecting Cookbooks. There is something so comforting about having a diverse collection of beautiful cookbooks full of comforting recipes and drool-worthy pictures.

While I probably have 15-too-many on my shelf, I often turn to the same few for easy meal planning. Since my friends and family are always asking what my favorite recipes are, or if I have any quick dinner ideas, I thought it would be fun (and practical – but mostly fun) to share my top sources of meal inspiration. So whether you’re a busy mom, dad, grandparent, etc. I hope you find these suggestions helpful!

8 Essential Cookbooks Every Busy Family Needs

1. The Skinnytaste Cookbook by Gina Homolka 

Essential Cookbooks for Busy Families

Gina’s blog, www.skinnytaste.com, is nothing short of a revelation. Every recipe I have ever made from her site comes out perfectly – and the best part? – her recipes are super easy.

Family Favorites: Tri-Color Summer Penne, Spinach Falafels, Carrot Ribbon Salad

Get it on Amazon, here.

2. Skinnytaste: Fast & Slow by Gina Homolka

Essential Cookbooks for Busy Families

Gina’s 2nd cookbook with even faster and easier recipes. Each recipe can be made in under 30 minutes or in the slow cooker. I know, I know. I don’t know why you don’t have this book yet, either.

Family Favorites: Coconut Veggie Curry, Zucchini “Meatballs”, Slow Cooker Salsa Verde Chicken

Get it on Amazon, here.

3 & 4. The Pioneer Woman: Food From My Frontier & Dinnertime by Ree Drummond

Essential Cookbooks for Busy Families

In another life I would also live on a ranch in the middle of nowhere with my brood of children and fabulous lodge. For now, I will settle for the PW life via cookbook (and as you can see, I have all of them). This book has so many sticky notes and dog-eared pages, its truly my go-to. No hard-to-find ingredients or complicated recipes, just regular, easy meals.

Family Favorites: Beef & Bean Burritos (made with turkey), Mexican Rice, Chicken Parmesan

While the title pretty much sums it up, Ree has included ideas like Breakfast for Dinner, Soups, and Main Dish salads. This book is more or less the ultimate resource for easy dinner recipes.

Family Favorites: Cajun Chicken Pasta, Orange Chicken & Chow Mein, Vanilla Pudding (that counts, right?)

Get them on Amazon, here and here.

5. Steamy Kitchen’s Healthy Asian Favorites by Jaden Hair

Essential Cookbooks for Busy Families

Much like Tyler Florence’s book, Jaden manages to create incredible recipes from a minimal amount of ingredients, and of course, with super simple preparations. When I need to make dinner fast, this is often my go-to book. You can also check out her blog http://steamykitchen.com/

Family Favorites: 10 Minute Thai Vegetable Curry, Kung Pao Chicken, Singapore Noodles

Get it on Amazon, here.

Kid-Focused Picks 

Essential Cookbooks for Busy Families

6. Start Fresh by Tyler Florence 

This is far more than a “baby food” cookbook. Tyler Florence dedicates half the book to easy recipes that can be eaten as a whole family. The most incredible part is that his recipes use SO few ingredients and most can be made in one-pan. YES. The cost of this book is worth his recipe for Ginger Chicken with Coconut Rice. Promise. (We also had a lot of success using these recipes with the baby-led weaning method).

Get it on Amazon, here.

Family Favorites: Ginger Chicken with Coconut Rice (obv), Chicken, Kale & Bacon Risotto, Barbecue Turkey Meatloaf Cupcakes

7. The Lunch Box by Kate McMillan & Sarah Putman Clegg

While I still have time before I start packing lunches to be taken off to school, this book has so many fun and simple ideas for easy (and healthy) lunches that all kids would enjoy.

Harper’s Favorites: Mini Chicken Salad Pitas, Frittata Sticks, Mac & Cheese with Mix-Ins

Get it on Amazon, here.

8. Jamie Deen’s Good Food by Jamie Deen

Essential Cookbooks for Busy FamiliesEssential Cookbooks for Busy Families

Perhaps the best part about this cookbook (besides the easy, family-friendly recipes) is that when you flip the book over, it doubles as Jamie’s son, Jack’s, own little cookbook with simple, kid-friendly recipes that little ones can make with their parents.

Family Favorites: One-Pot Chicken & Rice, Fish Packets with Zucchini & Butter Beans (a true revelation), Crispy Parmesan Chicken Cutlets (I probably make this at least once a week)

Get it on Amazon, here.

What are your essential, go-to cookbooks? I always love to discover new titles! 

Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post, however, I have included Amazon Affiliate links in case you’re interested in purchasing one of the books! I don’t link to or recommend products that I don’t love and use myself. 

Pin it for Later!

Easy dinner ideas! Most can be made in 30 minutes or less and in one pan! These are the best cookbooks for meal planning. Every busy mom needs these on her shelf!

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16 Comments

  • Reply
    lienonme2
    May 25, 2017 at 2:21 PM

    Thanks for sharing the books. I haven’t gotten a cookbook in awhile since most of what I do I find on pinterest but I may have to check some of these out!

    • Reply
      Marla
      June 4, 2017 at 1:38 PM

      Thanks for reading!

  • Reply
    Nostalgia Diaries
    May 25, 2017 at 2:21 PM

    As much as I love Pinterest, I’m still a sucker for a good old fashioned cookbook!

    • Reply
      Marla
      June 4, 2017 at 1:37 PM

      Same here! 🙂

  • Reply
    Megan
    May 25, 2017 at 6:53 PM

    I love how colorful your shelves are! I feel so many people rely on Pinterest and blogs for their recipes that we forget how nice a cookbook can be.

    • Reply
      Marla
      June 4, 2017 at 1:37 PM

      Thank you! I go through phases with Pinterest and then I kind of circle back to my cookbook collection and I’m reminded why I have so many of them!

  • Reply
    babiestobookworms
    May 25, 2017 at 7:41 PM

    Definitely need to check out the kid friendly ones! I have been liking the Pioneer Woman lately too.

    • Reply
      Marla
      June 4, 2017 at 1:36 PM

      I recently have gotten really into her recipes because they are so easy!

  • Reply
    Danielle @ A Sprinkle of Joy
    May 25, 2017 at 9:15 PM

    I don’t think I have any of those cookbooks!

    • Reply
      Marla
      June 4, 2017 at 1:36 PM

      My number 1 pick would probably be the Skinnytaste book then!

  • Reply
    Victoria
    May 26, 2017 at 12:06 AM

    I admire people with tons of cookbooks! I have always had a closeted love for cookbooks and Would love a kitchen where I could display beautiful books of food art… one day!

    • Reply
      Marla
      June 4, 2017 at 1:35 PM

      Moving into our house and being able to have a big shelf to store all my books was seriously the most amazing thing!

  • Reply
    Lindsey
    June 6, 2017 at 6:56 PM

    Thank you for these! We love Pioneer Woman, and I’ve been dying to try Skinnytaste but haven’t yet…you’ve convinced me to pull the trigger! 🙂

    • Reply
      Marla
      June 7, 2017 at 2:05 PM

      If you like Gina’s recipes you will really enjoy the book!

  • Reply
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