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81 of 84 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gets A's on all Five "Great Cookbooks" Requirements
I'm a bit of a cookbook maven, so have thought about what makes a great cookbook. Keepers gets an "A' on all five of my categories.

First, of course, it has to have well-written recipes for dishes that I would actually make. While Thomas Keller's French Laundry Cookbook is beautiful and descriptive, realistically I'm not making too many recipes from it...
Published 13 months ago by Sutton Faller

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6 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not what I expected
I thought I would enjoy this cookbook more, but it doesn't give you how long it takes to make each item and you really have to read to figure out each recipe. It isn't easy to follow along like I expected it to be for a weeknight cookbook. Some good tips that I will try, but will have to take more time to read prior to using a recipe.
Published 10 months ago by Heather


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81 of 84 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gets A's on all Five "Great Cookbooks" Requirements, November 17, 2013
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I'm a bit of a cookbook maven, so have thought about what makes a great cookbook. Keepers gets an "A' on all five of my categories.

First, of course, it has to have well-written recipes for dishes that I would actually make. While Thomas Keller's French Laundry Cookbook is beautiful and descriptive, realistically I'm not making too many recipes from it. Keepers on the other hand, has dozens of recipes that I will or have already made. The instructions are very clear, and the authors provide ideas for modifications. The range of recipes is impressive, and all are written with families in mind. Let me be clear though - these recipes have actual FLAVOR. My 11-year-old daughter actually licked the sauce off the saute pan that I cooked one of the fish recipes in.

Second, a great cookbook is fun to actually read. I don't just want a list of recipes - I can get that by searching epicurious.com. A great cookbook should be just like a novel - you look forward to finding the time to sit down and enjoy. Keepers is just that - it's written so well that you don't want to put it down. I "stole" three hours on a Saturday morning to read the book, and still wasn't finished. The style is casual and somehow "intimate" - like you're chatting with your best friend over coffee (or wine). Not your typical hotshot chef cookbook.

Third, a great cookbook teaches you something. I consider myself pretty knowledgeable about cooking. I've had a subscription to Cook's Illustrated since its inception. But I learned a bunch of tricks from Keepers (e.g., "glueing" puff pastry to the pan sides for the gorgeous cover-photo dish - it worked!) and I really appreciated the "10 Kitchen Tools Worth the Space" section (how have I lived without a fish spatula all these years - brilliant!) and the list of Flavor-Boosting Staples (what took me so long to buy miso?)

Fourth, a great cookbook has to have a unique point of view. There's only so many Thai cookbooks one can have, and if I receive another braggadocio-filled celebrity tome, I may slit my throat with a 10-inch Wusthof. Keepers discusses real-life cooking; the pressure of having to get dinner on the table EVERY night, the boredom of the same old thing each week, the fear of messing up. The authors give great solutions for these problems and allow us the permission to be imperfect. Oh, and did I mention the recipes have actual FLAVOR?

Finally, a great cookbook has to be laid out well and look good. Of course the photos have to be tempting, but layout is really important when you're trying to find that chicken thigh or the substitution for creme fraiche. Keepers organizes the information the way "normal" people would look for it (e.g., you can look up recipes for those nights when you have to have staggered meals due to soccer and band practice). And for some reason, I just LOVE the feel of the cover - it's like a muted corduroy and it just makes me smile to pick it up (maybe it was chosen to provide "traction" for cooks with always messy fingers?? :-)

Keepers rates on all my "great cookbooks" requirements and I highly recommend it. You'll cook a little differently after reading it, and your family will thank you. I'm giving a bunch of copies for Christmas.
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sticking with one cook book help with ingredients/style for hesitant cooks...who are not hesitant anymore!!!, October 8, 2013
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This review is from: Keepers: Two Home Cooks Share Their Tried-and-True Weeknight Recipes and the Secrets to Happiness in the Kitchen (Hardcover)
Pasta..mac & cheese and baked fish...Thats all I dared to try and cook and then this book came along and I am making-
Deviled Panko crusted Chicken
Chicken pot pie
Chicken Milanese
Fancy!!!! Yes - Chicken Pot pie can be fancy if you never ever ever baked anything except pre-made frozen meals.
I do consider myself reasonably good Indian cook but never ever got the courage to make anything other than basic pasta, mac and cheese.

I made Deviled Panko crusted chicken first - added more cayenne and black pepper - EVERYTHING cleaned out- I was shocked - If 2/3 kids and my husband likes a recipe - it is a success. I was numb when 4/4 said - "This is great!! when can you make it again" or "what else are you making?" or "chicken pot pie- please..."

I was super duper excited and shipped a book to my best friend-who cooks healthy, steamed, baked, simple recipes and is equally nervous about trying new ingredients and all.

We teamed up (always helps with motivation!!) - since we both had the same book, we decided to cook together. I went and stocked on the basic ingredients that the book uses - dried thyme/tarragon, vinegars, chicken stock etc.
My friend and I picked Chicken Pot pie for our first session - It was a hilarious cooking together. Figuring out, we have to take the dough out to thaw an hour before etc(oops!! mental note to read the recipe completely before we start to cook).
Now both are families are sold - mine cleaned out - i had to bake some fish as the kids cleaned out the potpie, leaving only a bit for dad to taste. I was told to make two pies!!! AWESOME!!

Friend and I got excited and decided on Chicken Milanese. Fennel and Shallots were new to us - We were nervous. The salad turned out really well!! Family is happy again. My little one was so curious peeking over from her little stool, while I was panfrying the chicken. "Wow!! I didn't know you can do that"..Well, neither did I - I said.
"Meatloaf", "Chilli". Seriously...now they think I can make anything and everything.

Too many cooks do not spoil the broth - it was so much fun - we thought we should put our cooking sessions on youtube-they would go viral instantly, as we struggle to figure out the new ingredients and our inefficiencies (or efficiencies) surface. We alternate houses - so we discover more tools/tips cooking together. Sticking with one book helps with the ingredient list/style and also trusting the recipes as you go along.

So...Thank you Kathy Brennan and Caroline Campion - This book is a KEEPER!!
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98 of 116 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice group of recipes for the less experienced cook, August 20, 2013
This review is from: Keepers: Two Home Cooks Share Their Tried-and-True Weeknight Recipes and the Secrets to Happiness in the Kitchen (Hardcover)
Not quite comfortable cooking? Stuck in a rut; always seem to be making the same dishes? Can't think what to make for dinner, again? Overwhelmed? Need help? Need a jump start? If so, and if these are questions you've been asking yourself, this is a cookbook you should consider.

If you are looking to add to your collection of real "keeper" recipes: Those recipes that have stood the test of time; those that are requested by family and friends over and over again; those that have been handed down through generations; those that have your name in the title; those that give you comfort just thinking about them: Well, this book may add a few "keepers" to your list, but overall, I think you'll be disappointed. These recipes are not those kinds of "keepers".

My actual rating of this cookbook is 3.5 stars. I know: I rounded it up to 4 stars--it is not a cookbook I'm going to buy, but it might be perfect for you, and I didn't want to dissuade you from taking a close look at it. My rating came with my realization that I require more from my "keepers" than these two authors who are past-editors of "Saveur" magazine. They just need their "keepers" to taste good and be quick and easy. I've been assembling my own list of "keepers" for a very long time, and I need my "keepers" to be over-the-top AND suitable for week-nights or the harried early day of a family-coming-for-holiday-dinner event. Some of these recipes fall into this category, but most are tweaks on recipes I've seen before in many other cookbooks and websites. So, I think the true value of this book depends on a mix of the experience level and the time schedule of the cook.

There are a lot of helpful tips and suggestions for the less experienced cook. Instructions and ingredient lists are concise and straightforward, easy to follow, and without errors. Page layout is easy on the eyes. The pictures are great and I've not experienced any problems with the recipes I've made. I think my friend--who has grade-schoolers and a job--would thoroughly enjoy this group of recipes, since she doesn't have a lot of cookbooks yet and she is always pressed for time.

AND IF YOU ARE PRESSED FOR TIME, THIS IS WHERE YOU SHOULD STOP READING. I continue with my review just to provide some extra info if you are interested:

If the mention of "Saveur" magazine threw up a red flag in your mind, (As it did for me: I dumped my subscription several years ago because I felt I could not trust a "Saveur" recipe enough to actually make it.), let me reassure you that the mistakes in recipes, in writing, and in general, that seem to cling to Saveur publications are NOT carried over to this book. Since "Saveur" really has nothing to do with this book, it's my opinion that the authors should have hidden the fact that they used to work there....

Take a look at the "Look Inside" feature of this book and be sure to check out the index: It is complete and you can see all the recipes there.

But the "Look Inside" feature won't show you many--if any--recipes, so here is my take one some of the better recipes in this book, and most of them I've seen before. (This is not exactly how the chapters are laid out; it just seemed easier to list my top picks this way)

FISH: Sautéed tilapia fillets that were briefly marinated in OJ, soy sauce and honey. Easy to put together, but the marinade kind of covered up the pure fish flavor: (Probably why they say kids love it...); and miso-glazed salmon--always good.

CHICKEN: Roasted cut-up chicken pieces that were marinated in mustard, paprika, lemon and thyme; boneless thighs dipped in mustard, herbs, cayenne, then panko breadcrumbs, then baked; and one-pot chicken with carrots, celery, leeks and potatoes bathed in apple cider vinegar, olive oil and herbs (you don't need to brown the chicken).

MEAT: Marinated London broil with chimichurri sauce or mustard butter (why choose top round when you can use a flatiron?); beef (tenderloin) stroganoff; stir-fried beef and snow peas; and pork chops braised in a sauce of brown sugar, broth, lemon and rosemary.

EGGS, CHEESE, PASTA, GRAINS: Huevos rancheros (Really? We need another recipe for this?); broccoli and cheddar crust-less quiche; tomato and cheese quesadillas, (definitely does not fall into my "keeper" category); a very simple (too simple) tomato sauce; a creamed tomato sauce with garlic, pepper flakes, heavy cream and parsley; farfalle (bow-tie pasta) with gorgonzola, ham and peas; cheese polenta; couscous, chickpeas, tomatoes and feta; a quinoa salad with lots of raw veggies; and four faro salads for each season of the year (I would have liked more grain recipes--they are so easy.).

SOUP & SALADS: (Another) Italian wedding soup (I was totally put-out by the lack of great soups in this book...); some basic salad ideas (how this fits into the "keeper" I don't know; and iceberg with ranch dressing (It is a nice ranch dressing recipe).

VEGGIES: The vegetable recipes are fairly basic and nothing new. There are detailed tips for roasting them: Simply cooked swiss chard; glazed carrots (butter and sugar); sugar snap peas with radishes and mint; a tomato and zucchini gratin (that is so similar to the ones found in several of my tomato cookbooks); pickled cukes; tomato-bread salad; simple roasted potatoes; and boiled potatoes with lemon, dill and coarse pepper.

So, there it is: It's a nice grouping of recipes for someone who wants a general cookbook; nothing really over-the-top. It kind of reminds me of the old, but tried and true--not tired "Food and Wine" magazine cook books. I used them a lot in my younger days and I can see the value of them.

**I received a temporary 2 month download of this cookbook from the publishers (through NetGalley) in exchange for a review.** So, I've been working with these recipes for a few months now, trying to get a feel for them. I've scrutinized the book, page by page, double-checking ingredient lists, reading instructions and cooking with it.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Cookbook, June 14, 2014
This review is from: Keepers: Two Home Cooks Share Their Tried-and-True Weeknight Recipes and the Secrets to Happiness in the Kitchen (Hardcover)
First of all let me say i am FAR from a beginning cook:) i have cooked for years, even professionally as a private chef and now i am caring for my 95 year old mother and Am a VERY BUSY COOK! lol
This book has the easiest, BEST fried rice recipe for example... AND the One Bowl Summer Spaghetti is SO simple and brilliant.. and FAST!
Also the fish taco recipe rocks, again for being SO FAST and DELICIOUS!
I am a Big fan of Ina Garten and i feel it's safe to say, if you like her food, you will like the recipes in this book.. but these come together MUCH faster ( AND with a LOT less BUTTA;)
Great book- I had to have it for my collection and HIGHLY recommend it.. ALSO there are some great hints in this book- i am 62 and have years of experience cooking, traveling etc. and there is ALWAYS something NEW to learn, and these two gals showed me a thing or three.
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23 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Keepers is a keeper!, August 20, 2013
This review is from: Keepers: Two Home Cooks Share Their Tried-and-True Weeknight Recipes and the Secrets to Happiness in the Kitchen (Hardcover)
I have somehow amassed quite a cookbook collection and what always shocks me is that so many recipes on cookbooks don't work. Or they call for ingredients that you can't find easily at a grocery store. Or you start making the recipe and halfway through you realize that you need another 12 hours of marinating time.

Keepers has none of that. It's recipes are simple, wholesome, delicious--and, best of all, you can pull most of them off in under 40 minutes. Many are easy takes on dishes people love that are a pain to make. Lasagne? You can pull it off in less than 45 minutes. Broccoli quiche? Just make it without a crust. Most also have fewer than 10 ingredients in the list, so you're not running around like a crazy person or chopping up weird amounts, like 1/2 tsp fresh basil. Hate that!

Best of all, these ladies also give you a million ideas, so you don't need to shop for your dinner, you just need to look in your fridge and see what you have. There salad section is brilliant, as is the section about flavor-boosting pantry staples. The food is modern enough for adults to enjoy, while still be simple enough to not freak out kids.

I wish there were more cookbooks for people like me: a working mom of two kids who loves to eat but doesn't have the hours (or energy) in a day to make a full-on meal happen after a long day. So happy to have this in my hands as the school year starts!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must have! Practical and useful for everyday cooks., April 18, 2014
By 
StephWM (Philadelphia, PA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Keepers: Two Home Cooks Share Their Tried-and-True Weeknight Recipes and the Secrets to Happiness in the Kitchen (Hardcover)
What a great book! I find myself purchasing cookbooks often and rarely looking at them. I purchased Keepers a month ago and find myself referencing it daily. It is very practical and user-friendly for everyday cooks. It has helped expand my usual weekday dinner repertoire. It's not just a cookbook with recipes- Keepers gives helpful tips for things like grocery shopping and seasoning. A must have!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars These recipes ARE keepers, November 10, 2014
By 
Liz (New Jersey) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Keepers: Two Home Cooks Share Their Tried-and-True Weeknight Recipes and the Secrets to Happiness in the Kitchen (Hardcover)
I took this out of the library first and then had to buy it. I think it really delivers on its promise for weeknight dinners your family will enjoy and you will want to make again. Some of my favorite recipes are Beef Fajitas with Charred Tomato Salsa (the charred salsa alone would justify the cost of the book), Sausage and White Bean Gratin, Morning Chicken (marinate in the morning, cook in the evening), Deviled Panko Custed Chicken Thighs (my picky eater son loves Panko), Roasted Cauliflower Dressed Up, Lemony Turkey Bolognese, Skillet Lasagna and Black Bean and Butternut Squash Enchiladas. If you're looking for some yummy and easy weeknight meals, this book is for you.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Cookbook!, January 13, 2014
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This review is from: Keepers: Two Home Cooks Share Their Tried-and-True Weeknight Recipes and the Secrets to Happiness in the Kitchen (Hardcover)
I love cookbooks, but have a few too many and vowed not to buy any more. Nevertheless, while buying Christmas gift books for others on Amazon, I read the reviews and couldn't pass it up. I have made several of the recipes and all have been fabulous with no alterations. From the carrot-ginger dressing, fajitas with charred tomato salsa (most excellent salsa), green beans with sun-dried tomato pesto breadcrumbs, maple barbecue drumsticks, to tonight's dinner of the jucy lucy turkey burgers, all recipes have been true to their word -- "KEEPERS"! I will keep exploring this book for sure and am so glad I indulged.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not the wow I hoped for, but still a keeper, January 29, 2014
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This review is from: Keepers: Two Home Cooks Share Their Tried-and-True Weeknight Recipes and the Secrets to Happiness in the Kitchen (Hardcover)
I would recommend this book. Lots of good cooking basics and pantry ideas. I was really hoping for several winning main dish recipes that would please my grandkids. So far I have not found a main dish recipe in this book that is a big hit or asked for again. However, I do like it because the food is fast, healthy, and uses many ingredients we like. There have been several of the vegetable recipes that are successful, which is great. I do use it, and refer to it for ideas, as I often get stuck on the "what's for dinner?" question. I seem to use it mainly as a starting point, and don't really follow a recipe the way it is written, but that is my personal style. There are a few too many peppers and spices for my grandkids, who are still pretty young, and I expect them to grow into many of the recipes.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great for busy family's weekday meals, February 22, 2014
This review is from: Keepers: Two Home Cooks Share Their Tried-and-True Weeknight Recipes and the Secrets to Happiness in the Kitchen (Hardcover)
I love this book! Not only does it have a ton of practical, hassle-free, delicious recipes, it includes tips on various topics to help you love cooking/being in the kitchen.

My husband and I have been using the cookbook almost everyday since we purchased it. First my husband thought it was just another cookbook to clog the bookshelf, but it has not left our counter because we use it so often! Now I'm staring to worry about exhausting all the great recipes in it, and wishing they'll come out with a sequel.

A few reasons to love this book:

1. No non-sense hard-to-find ingredients in the recipes,
2. Easy to follow, detailed instructions - perfect for learning something new,
3. Fast prep and cooking time, as long as you have all the ingredients, from cutting board to dinner table usually takes less than 30 minutes,
4. Diversified recipes that are so fool-proof and delicious, they make you feel you're a chef at a five-star restaurant!
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