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63 of 64 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Look no further - you've found the perfect cookbook
I have several of Pam Anderson's books, and always considered "How to Cook Without A Book" my favorite. But Perfect One-Dish Dinners is quickly moving up the ranks to the top. We've made three recipes out of this book in a week, and each one was as good as the last. Even better, both the turkey feta meatballs with penne and the coq au vin blanc were actually BETTER as...
Published on August 26, 2010 by Amber N. Bracegirdle

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98 of 112 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Lovely book, but... mis-aimed?
Perfect One-Dish Dinners / 978-0-54719-595-7

I love cookbooks and I was excited to try this one when it came available on NetGalley. Several weeks later, I'm a little...confused.

Make no mistake about it - this is a breathtakingly lovely book. There's a lot of valuable recipes here, but they're definitely of the "advanced student" variety, so do be...
Published on October 19, 2010 by Amazon Customer


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63 of 64 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Look no further - you've found the perfect cookbook, August 26, 2010
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This review is from: Perfect One-Dish Dinners: All You Need for Easy Get-Togethers (Hardcover)
I have several of Pam Anderson's books, and always considered "How to Cook Without A Book" my favorite. But Perfect One-Dish Dinners is quickly moving up the ranks to the top. We've made three recipes out of this book in a week, and each one was as good as the last. Even better, both the turkey feta meatballs with penne and the coq au vin blanc were actually BETTER as leftovers, leading me to think that I should make ahead on Sunday nights for delicious meals all week long with hardly any prep.

I can't say enough about the coq au vin blanc. It was so yummy I was dreaming about it long after we'd finished the pot. The photos are gorgeous, and I love that Pam includes optional wine pairings, appetizers, and desserts for almost every dish - so if you're entertaining a crowd, you've got your menu planned already.

None of the ingredients are foreign or hard to get, and we (a family of 2) are easily getting 4 meals out of each dish. That makes for a super economical dinner, even if you're splashing out for really nice prosciutto or wine.

Next on my list to make: the pecan pie sundaes. This Texan approves of any meal that ends with pecans!
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98 of 112 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Lovely book, but... mis-aimed?, October 19, 2010
This review is from: Perfect One-Dish Dinners: All You Need for Easy Get-Togethers (Hardcover)
Perfect One-Dish Dinners / 978-0-54719-595-7

I love cookbooks and I was excited to try this one when it came available on NetGalley. Several weeks later, I'm a little...confused.

Make no mistake about it - this is a breathtakingly lovely book. There's a lot of valuable recipes here, but they're definitely of the "advanced student" variety, so do be aware of that. Almost every recipe has at least a dozen ingredients, and almost everything in this book is made completely from scratch - anytime dumplings or biscuits are working into a recipe, for instance, you *will* be making those dumplings from floury scratch.

There's nothing wrong with an advanced-level cookbook, but it's just strange because the book is marketed as "easy" recipes, and there's really nothing easy about these. No prep times are estimated with the recipes, but I'd guess that most of them take over an hour to prepare. Adding to my confusion is the whole "one-dish" premise isn't kept to - the introduction states that "one-dish" dinners are easier, and thus was born this book... but every "one-dish" comes complete with an appetizer and dessert suggestion... as well as the occasional side. Don't get me wrong - it's great to have the suggestions of sides and desserts for when they are wanted or needed, but this is especially weird because everything is grouped together as one "meal", rather than the usual entrees, sides, appetizers, desserts layout of most cookbooks. The practical upshot of this is that if you want to make the "Blueberry Cheesecake Ice Cream", you'd better remember that it was listed with the "Lobster Dinner", because there's no Table of Contents to get you there. (In all fairness, there is an alphabetized index in the back.)

I'm also not sure about the "Get-Togethers" part - a lot of the recipes are very exotic and specialized, and maybe my family is different, but if you get more than 5 of us in a room together, someone is going to dislike (or worse, be allergic to) at least one of the ingredients in these dozen-ingredient extravaganzas.

So, ultimately, if you take out the "one-dish", the "easy", and the "get-togethers", we have "Perfect Dinners: All You Need". But, then, I don't know if this is ALL you need since the layout can still be a little wonky - there's no Table of Contents, the pictures aren't labeled (although they ARE lovely) and sometimes require a little guess work to match with the relevant recipe, there's no prep times listed, and there's no nutritional data summary (a nice touch in many of the Better Homes and Gardens books that I've come to like).

Really, if you have all the time in the world, love baking from scratch, are an advanced hand in the kitchen, and have a non-picky and open-minded group of friends and family, there are some really good three-course meals in this book. I just don't understand why they're not marketing it that way?

NOTE: This review is based on a free Advance Review Copy of this book provided through NetGalley.

~ Ana Mardoll
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One-Dish Dinners: A One-Cookbook Meal Planner That Makes Entertaining That Much Easier, August 31, 2010
This review is from: Perfect One-Dish Dinners: All You Need for Easy Get-Togethers (Hardcover)
This book is packed with foolproof recipes that take the sting out of entertaining. Each main recipe is not only beautifully photographed but also includes a complete meal plan with appetizer, salad when appropriate, dessert, and even wine pairing suggestions. The appetizer and dessert options are more than suggestions: their recipes are included as well. If there are any shortcuts or more-instant alternatives available, those are likewise noted, which makes the whole process of putting an entire meal together--even at the last minute--completely doable. Whether it's for a get-together or just a family meal, cooking at home just became that much easier and a whole lot more delicious.

This is more than just a collection of recipes. Pam Anderson's experience as a recipe developer is evident and she isn't afraid to break the rules of traditional methods if she finds something that works better. She'll tell you why it's better, too. From tips on how to make mac and cheese incredibly moist to great suggestions on replacing the meat in some dishes with seafood or vegetarian options, this book is full of great nuggets of culinary wisdom that will serve you well in the kitchen.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful Cookbook, August 31, 2010
This review is from: Perfect One-Dish Dinners: All You Need for Easy Get-Togethers (Hardcover)
This cookbook, filled with mouth-watering recipes and photos, is one of the most unique cookbooks I have in my very large collection. Pam Anderson makes cooking for get-togethers a breeze by providing the main entrée recipe, as well as an appetizer, salad, dessert and even a suggested beverage pairing for the entire meal. Another great feature of the cookbook is that the recipes are broken down into easy-to-follow steps. As Ree Drummond perfectly stated, "Pam makes you feel like you can cook anything, and with her help -- you can!"

For a dinner party I hosted recently, I prepared the Coq au Vin Blanc with Spring Vegetables. The recipe was not only easy to prepare, but it allowed me to cook the entire dish before my guests arrived so that I could enjoy their company. The aromas that permeated from this dish made the house smell wonderful and the taste was absolutely delicious. I served this dish with a goat cheese salad and homemade rolls to soak up the sauce from the main entrée. For dessert, I prepared the Pecan Pie Sundaes recipe from the cookbook. The whole table went silent as we devoured the sundaes and savored each and every bite. A few days after the party, I received an e-mail from one of my guests asking for the recipes because she loved the food and couldn't wait to make it for her family.

This cookbook includes recipes for appetizers, stews, casseroles, roasts, salads, desserts...the list goes on and on. If you are hosting a dinner party, or need recipes for simple yet flavorful dishes for weeknight meals, this book, as stated in its title, is perfect.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Filled with amazing recipes, August 31, 2010
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This review is from: Perfect One-Dish Dinners: All You Need for Easy Get-Togethers (Hardcover)
This book is chock full of amazing recipes. So far, I've made the coq au vin blanc and the cassoulet-style Italian sausages & white beans, and both meals were extraordinary. In fact, I was so confident with these easy-to-follow recipes (and easy-to-find ingredients) that I made the coq au vin blanc for the first time for company. Not only did it turn out perfectly, but everyone loved it and it was gone within minutes. It is now a staple in our regular meal rotation.

The photography in this book is just gorgeous, and I love how each main dish is paired with appetizers, salads, desserts, and drinks. Even if you don't happen to have what you need on hand for a particular pairing, these drool-worthy suggestions are instant inspiration for planning a complete dinner party. The hardest part is deciding which recipe to try next!
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best book for the wanna-be cook, September 3, 2010
By 
Michael (Evanston, Illinois) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Perfect One-Dish Dinners: All You Need for Easy Get-Togethers (Hardcover)
I saw Pam Anderson this week on WGN-TV in Chicago. She was preparing a one-dish pasta and meatball dish that really looked great. And I thought, Even I could do that. She then prepared an even simpler but scrumptious-looking dessert in minutes. She spooned out some raspberry jam and toasted almonds between two short-cake shells (store-bought) and then slathered on some creme cheese frosting. I cook a little bit and I think I'd do it more but some cook book recipes are just too complicated. I went out and bought four books, one for my wife and me, and one for each of our three grown kids. We all want to eat at home more and I think Pam's book is the recipe.
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19 of 23 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not One-Dish Dinners at All, November 3, 2010
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This review is from: Perfect One-Dish Dinners: All You Need for Easy Get-Togethers (Hardcover)
I don't get it. I bought this book specifically to create ONE DISH meals on weeknights when it's just the two of us, and it's full of meals that include the dish, an appetizer, a salad, and a dessert. You'd spend half your day in the kitchen making this. This isn't what I wanted at all. I just wanted ... well ... one dish meals, where you cook the meat and vegetables in the same pot, and maybe even rice and potatoes too.

Beyond that some of them just look ... weird -- or so simple that anyone who has cooked at all won't need a recipe for them.

I try to review a book based on what it set out to do versus how well it achieved that, and this one falls short.

It implies easy and with minimal dishes to wash in the title, but that's not what's inside the book at all.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not One-Dish, not easy, not for get-togethers...., November 15, 2010
This review is from: Perfect One-Dish Dinners: All You Need for Easy Get-Togethers (Hardcover)
While this cookbook is beautiful, and the recipes have been delicious, it is a far cry from one-dish, easy, or appropriate for get togethers.

I do like the menu arrangement and the ideas for making easy substitutions for appetizers and desserts that preserve the flavor of a dish. However,I would not describe most of these recipes as "easy". They are definitely for someone who easily knows their way around a kitchen and a produce aisle and someone who has at least an hour to 90 mins to prepare dinner. I'm not sure where she gets the "one-dish" title. The recipes I've made require multiple pots and pans and with the exception of the paella on the cover, I wouldn't put just the main dish on the table as a one-dish dinner.

The recipes do not give approximate prep/cook times or nutritional information.

As for the get-together part? One of the other reviewers commented that the complex ingredients would bump up against allergies and aversions, but also the proportions are not appropriate for get-togethers. I made the Chicken Pot-Pie with apples and leeks. It was delicious, but I doubled the recipe and that barely fed 8 women.

Purchase this book if you like having menus laid out for you, if you and your family are adventurous eaters with complex (not selective) palates, but not if you are looking for easy or streamlined cooking.

- Artemis
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Invite your friends for dinner!, October 27, 2010
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This review is from: Perfect One-Dish Dinners: All You Need for Easy Get-Togethers (Hardcover)
I am a lazy cook. I have 4 kids. I'm a vegetarian as are my kids. My husband loves meat and works long hours. Did I mention I'm a lazy cook?

Yet somehow Pam Anderson's dishes have made me appear as if I should be on Top Chef. Most are easy, healthful and quick. And trust me, if I can do it, so can you. Yeah, you'll need to make some dough, but it's not rocket science. And either you make the dough, or you buy the stuff with all the preservatives in it. I'd rather go with the more healthful option. You just need to get the right ingredients.

And I've even substituted tofu or faux meat in some dishes. I made Pam's Coq au Vin Blanc, and right next to that in another dutch oven, Tofu au Vin Blanc. I swear the dear hubby loves me more because of how delicious the Coq au Vin was. And the Cassoulet-style sausages? So easy, so fast, and so satisfying. I make that dish for big groups, one platter with faux sausages and another platter with meat sausages. I have seen grown men groan in ecstasy at the dinner table over this dish. I made the Spicy Coconut Shrimp (and of course Spicy Coconut Tofu next to it), and that came out fresh and fantastic!

So why the 4 stars? A couple of dishes weren't too good - the creamy lasagna had too much cream cheese flavor. The dumplings in the chicken and dumplings dish were too dense and mealy. The enchiladas were soggy. And there is just too much emphasis on meat - even my steak-loving hubby thought so too.

That said, skip the heart-stopping meat dishes (most of the time) and go with the fresh ingredients recipes, and buy this book. Then invite your friends over for dinner.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Feast for the eyes, September 8, 2010
By 
Chrizette (SONEIKE, South Africa) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Perfect One-Dish Dinners: All You Need for Easy Get-Togethers (Hardcover)
What beautiful photos this cookbook has! They are sparklingly clear - almost edible. I love that in a cookbook - I want to see what the finished dish will look like. I have been swayed by a picture more than once when the ingredients have not jumped out at me.

The recipes are mostly simple and are written in a clear, straightforward way. There are no strange ingredients that you will have to go in search of. I just loved how Ms Anderson gives you options to vary the recipe and also suggestions for desserts or appetizers to go with the main dish. That is a real help in my home.
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Perfect One-Dish Dinners: All You Need for Easy Get-Togethers
Perfect One-Dish Dinners: All You Need for Easy Get-Togethers by Pam Anderson (Hardcover - September 20, 2010)
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