on November 17, 2005
I agree that this is Rachael's best and most diverse collection of recipes to date. I actually did a rough count of the recipes by the protein or main ingredient. This is approximately how the recipes stack up: 53 meatless (many do contain cheese, however), 11 lamb, 4 egg, 8 ground turkey, 21 ground beef, 80 chicken, 21 beef (steaks, London broil, etc.), 5 ground pork, 16 pork (chops, tenderloin), 9 turkey (cutlets), 10 ground chicken, 29 fish (halibut, cod, swordfish, salmon, tuna), 11 veal (ground, cutlets, etc.), 30 shellfish (shrimp, crab, mussels, scallops, calamari), and 48 sausage, etc. (ham, prosciutto, chorizo, Italian sausage, breakfast sausage, bacon, salami, pancetta, etc). According to the listings in the front of the book, there are 48 pasta dishes, 33 soups and 20 burgers. I may have miscounted a few, but I think these numbers are fairly close. Perhaps some reviewers got the impression that the ingredients were repetitive because of the technique Rachael sometimes (but not always) uses of providing a master recipe with variations by swapping out ingredients. For instance, there is a master macaroni and cheese with broccoli recipe, followed by macaroni and smoked gouda with cauliflower, Tex-Mex mac and cheddar (with ground beef) and a chipotle mac and cheddar with chorizo and tomato.
While many of the recipes are Italian or Italian influenced, reflecting Rachael's heritage, with Tex-Mex following closely behind, there are also Spanish, Cuban, Indian, Chinese, Thai, Japanese, French, Cajun, Greek, German, and Carribbean influenced recipes as well. There is also plenty of "American" fare as well, although there are fewer traditional "comfort food" dishes in this book than there are in some of her other collections. The subtitle of the book is a hint at that. It truly is "a year of deliciously different dinners." And, after several years of watching Rachael's show regularly and making many, many of her recipes, I find that I can come close to the 30 minute mark in completing the meals, especially after the first time making a particular recipe.
As for pictures, if you are familiar with buying cookbooks, you realize that you trade off photographs for affordability. If this book were full of glossy photos of the food, it would probably have a list price of at least $40. I don't know of anywhere else you can find such a large and diverse collection of recipes for so little money.
Love this book! I have all of Ray's previous books, and I often watch her show when I am cooking my own family dinner. We are huge fans of her Cooking Round the Clock book and her Cooking Rocks (for kids) books. On average, I use recipes from those books at least twice a week.
Her first book that I purchased was her 30 Minute Get Togethers and the first couple menus that I used were NOT 30 minute meals for me. However over the years I have learned to adapt. I have gotten quicker at chopping veggies and will use already prepared things if necessary. Ok, on to the new book.
This is her biggest book by far. I got it the day it came out and spent at least two hours pouring over the recipes and marking ones I want to try. For the most part I was thinking I would be anal here. I would start with recipe number one and go from there, making every single recipe and not skipping a one. But I husband really wanted to try #37-Warm Lemon Chicken Sandwich with Arugula and Pears. Not something I would normally make, but it sounded intriguing. WONDERFUL! Even my picky eaters (I have two) gobbled it up. We then went on to #38-Grilled Flank Steak Sandwich again we were not disappointed.
If you are looking for a cookbook that offers quick, but unique and tasty meals, this is the one.
on March 18, 2006
As the mother of a one-year-old who's beginning to want to eat what Mommy and Daddy are eating (until now, too often fast food), I decided I'd better get into the habit of cooking at home. Since I work full-time, the idea of 30-minute meals had a lot of appeal. The recipes I've tried so far were delicious, but I was disappointed that, even with help in the kitchen, none of them has taken only 30 minutes to prepare--they've usually taken an hour or so. I'm not completely inexperienced in the kitchen, so I don't think it's just me being slow . . . maybe Rachel's prep is lightning fast. Also, the recipes are very gourmet, and many call for ingredients that you might not be able to find at your local grocery store. Guess I'll still have to do some more searching for true 30-minute meals (if they exist!).
on November 24, 2005
I have read some of the reviews here and there seems to be a consensus that Miss Ray has a very chirpy and annoying personality. I have not had the opportunity to ever watch her show, so I am totally unfamiliar with her persona. So, I basically walked into the Rachael Ray world without an opinion one way or another. I originally avoided her books simply because I like fussy cooking and thought a thirty minute cookbook would be full of convenience foods and probably not very interesting. Lo and behold, my work schedule changed a few months ago and I no longer had the long, leisurely hours to cook - I found myself getting into a total rut - cooking the same quick foods again and again and again. So, I decided to take a gander at Rachael Ray's books and see what the fuss was about.
My busy schedule is no longer an excuse to be in a cooking rut! This is a nice book full of clever ideas. I immediately sat down and skimmed through it, looking for recipes that would appeal to my family (I like the little check boxes next to each recipe that allow you to mark off the ones you want to try and the ones that are a 'keeper'). So far, everything I've cooked from this book is a 'keeper'! There are not that many convenience foods featured - simply real food. We've enjoyed the Rosemary-Orange Pork Chops with Lemon-Butter Broccolini, Chicken in Mustard Sauce with Asparagras, Ricotta Pasta with Grape Tomatoes Peas and Basil - and more.
One of the highlights of this book is the 'master recipes' - which can then be changed to create a 'new recipe' by altering ingredients. Although this may appear like a cheater's way to get in a few recipes, it truly helps to inspire creativity in the kitchen. And yes - the food CAN be done and on the table in 30 minutes! I've had no problem with the time factor at all. How nice to be able to have good quality food, imaginative combinations and new ideas for those of us who are rushed but still want to eat well.
On a side note: The industrious Miss Ray has just come out with a magazine, which I had picked up before I bought this book. This magazine, Everyday with Rachael Ray, is simply amazing. Every single thing that I have cooked out of this magazine has been unbelievably good. My son thought that the Chicken Curry recipe was the best he had ever tasted! I really recommend that you check out the magazine in addition to her other offerings.
on December 17, 2005
People really ought to be required to read the book before posting reviews. Contrary to the assertion in another review, and according to the book's index, out of 365 recipes, there are only 3 that use hot dogs, and 20 to 25 which use ground beef. For her ground beef, Rachael generally calls for ground sirloin, which is the leanest form of ground beef. Bacon is used in some dishes as a flavoring. I flipped through the first 50 recipes in the book, and she called for turkey bacon in 2 recipes, regular bacon in 3 and pancetta in 2 others. The recipes do frequently call for cheese, but often it is as a topping for a dish (parmesan sprinkled on top of a pasta dish, for instance) so that you can use a lesser amount or omit it altogether if you choose. There are absolutely no recipes using cream of mushroom or other condensed soups. There are many, many recipes using leaner meats such as chicken, pork tenderloin and ground turkey. And while there are plenty of recipes that use sausage (Rachael always says to feel free to substitute leaner sausages, like turkey Italian sausage for the real thing), there are more that call for fish or other seafood. For some reason, some people have taken a real dislike to Rachael. That's fine - to each his own. But that is no excuse for posting inaccurate information in a review.
There is also some inaccurate information in some of the positive reviews as well - for instance, one review references the dessert recipes. There is only one dessert recipe in this book. I think some of these people are using the reviews to try to hype another product.
If you're considering this book, I'd recommend that you not rely on the negative reviews, and take the positive ones with a grain of salt. Go to a library or bookstore, and look at it, then make your decision and buy it where you find the best price. Keep in mind that in her books and on her show, Rachael tries to demonstrate recipes that you can easily adjust to suit your taste and dietary needs. This book fits that mold as well. Personally, I find this book to be a nice mix of different types of foods and of healthier and more indulgent recipes, which is really the way I want to eat.
on November 14, 2005
I own all of Rachael Ray's cookbooks with the exception of her original book that is impossible to find. I was anxiously awaiting the release of 365 No Repeats, as I knew it would be her biggest book yet, and I was excited to try new recipes. I love to cook, and I don't mind cooking elaborate recipes when necessary, but I have found that Rachael's recipes, which use real, whole food ingredients (not unhealthy, packaged ingredients like her FoodNetwork neighbor Sandra Lee), produce wonderful results in minimal time. This appeals to me in particular, as I am a vegan and my husband is a meat-and-potatoes man, so I often must cook two meals for the household. In fact, I get a bit annoyed by people who claim Rachael isn't a "real cook." If you've ever made any of her recipes, you'll soon learn that she has a wonderful understanding of how flavors mix, and she manages to create dishes using whole foods in 30 minutes without sacrificing taste or turning to boxes.
I pre-ordered this book off of Amazon, and have made a number of the recipes - either for me or my husband - over the course of the past few weeks. All I can say is that each one of them was tasty and relatively quick to make (usually a 30-minute meal takes me 45-minutes, but I don't pre-wash my veggies/fruits, and I don't have my pantry as organized as Rachael's on the show!). There is a huge variety of recipes in this book - Italian, Greek, vegetarian, etc. - and I love the idea of teaching you the method for one recipe and then giving you alternate recipes to follow using that same method.
The index of this book is wonderfully helpful (unlike some of her other books that lack a proper index), and the front of the book lists recipes in the book for various interests (e.g., vegetarian). I have only noticed a few repeats in this book from other RR products - the Florentine meatballs and Papa Al Pomodoro come to mind - but those are two of my family's favorite meals, anyway (make them together with the scotch/mushroom risotto in the book and you have a great and relatively inexpensive meal for entertaining that can accommodate vegans/vegetarians AND meat-eaters alike).
Like someone else said below, I don't know how Rachael remains so upbeat and friendly and yet continues to be so prolific. Three shows on FoodNetwork, a magazine, cookbook after cookbook, and soon a talk show. Wow. I hope she continues to be so productive, however, because those who own her cookbooks certainly benefit from her hard work.
A must for every kitchen.
on January 7, 2006
I have been a fan of Rachael Ray's for years, and I have her first two 30 Min. Meals books, as well as her Cooking With Kids book. I just received this book for Christmas, and I was initially concerned that the recipes would just be the same old rehash of her other books. Instead, these recipes are a refreshing change and shed more light into her cooking philsophy.
Throughout the book, one will find several recipes labeled "Master Recipe." Rachael explains in the Introduction that her philsophy has always been to create a recipe, then change a few things- add this, take away this- and come up with a totally different recipe. For example, one Master Recipe is for Spanakopita Burgers, which are Greek influenced burgers made with ground chicken. The next recipe is a variant where she switches the buns for pizza crust and omits a few items. The result is Spanakopizza, which is a vegetarian recipe that is quite different than the burgers. While this recipe stays in the same Greek vein, other variants do differ more from the Master Recipe. My favorite meal so far has been Pina Colada Shrimp, which was a variation off of a pineapple based chicken recipe.
My husband tonight commented that these recipes have been more exotic than her previous ones. I agree. I won't be trying the recipe that involves sardines, but I am glad to see that some of these meals are more than just glorified sloppy joes. For example, a few of the recipes involve a Puttanesca sauce, which I didn't even know what it was until I saw a recent episode of Rachael Ray's Tasty Travels! The recipes are also very fresh herb-heavy, and most of the ones I've made so far call for fresh parsley. I only mention this as I quickly discovered that I do not like fresh parsley, so you may want to venture with caution if you are used to using dried herbs.
I strongly beg to differ with one reviewer who said that Rachael Ray's recipes are for those who don't like to cook but who have to do so. I love to cook. However, as the mother of a two year old, I don't always have the time to prepare an entire Sara Moulton-esque meal every night. These meals do work if you are indeed one who finds themselves cooking begrudingly, but this book will also appeal to those looking to make sophisticated yet quick meals.
The only thing keeping this book from having five stars is the index. Each of the recipes in the book is numbered with a great big green number 1 - 366 (extra recipe for leap year!). I initially thought the numbers in the index corresponded to the recipe number, but instead, it's the page. This may sound obvious and silly, but I was just initially thrown since the numbers are about 1.5 inches big next to each recipe and so vital to the philsophy of the book.
***UPDATE- I noticed a number of reviewers saying this book has no index. It sure does!! Maybe they mean no table of contents, but that's a totally different part of the book.
on September 27, 2006
Unlike some of the other reviewers who found the format difficult, I loved it. I don't have alot of time to "plan" every day meals and make a grocery list. I work a 50 or more hour job and have a 3 year old. But I love to cook and eat good food. I can thumb through the cookbook and find three recipes that I want to make for the week in 5 minutes, create a shopping list in a few more and be ready to hit the store. The whole meal is on one page and only randomly do I have to add a vegetable to make it healthier. The amount of time it takes to do "meal planning" with my other cookbooks drives me insane. And Although the ingredients may be more expensive - I buy less since I know exactly what I need for the week. The portions are great sized as well.
The recipes are excellent. I'll list my favorites at the end, but my husband loves the results and has even been tempted to make a few meals himself while I have been out of town. Yes, some of the meals do take more than 30 minutes if you haven't made them before, but once made twice - you can hit close to 30 minutes each time.
I love the different ingredients in the recipes. I just had Pumpkin Pasta with Sausage and wild mushrooms. I loved it and my 3yr old ate it as well (very picky eater). What I like is her ability to add unique ingredients that I normally wouldn't add - like pumpkin to a pasta dish. My 3yr old even ate Brussel Sprouts from a recipe in here.
18. Turkey Saltimbocca rollups with mushroom and white bean ragout
74. Turkey or chicken croquettes with spinach mashers (quick thanksgiving meal)
168. Creamy Broccoli soup
209. Pumpkin polenta with Chorizo and Black beans
284. Tangy Cherry Chicken
170. Turkey Cutlets with Sauteed Brussel Sprouts
on January 10, 2006
As someone who is very adept at cooking and has even done the cordon bleu course.... this is a GREAT book!
Sometimes we ALL get in a cooking rut. As another poster said, what is fascinating is the "variations on a theme"... I have learned a lot from those and even started varying my own.
I will have to argue about the "diner" concept. I have made about 10 of these and I cannot think of a single diner I have eaten in that serves this food.
I think the concept of using canned, etc... is to introduce those who cannot/do not cook to cooking without feeling overwhelmed.
I personally make my own chicken stock regularly, and have my own herb garden. I really don't think Rachel or anyone else is going to get upset if you substitute store bought with real!!!
The whole point is varying things and trying something new. Anyone who claims to be a "healthy" and "good" cook can do this. The beauty is that it also lets those with no idea LEARN without being overwhelmed.
I recommend it to ANYONE... experienced or not!
I have had quite a few nights lately where I am planning dinner without enough time to plan or hit the store, and this book has been awesome. Many of the recipes involve simple ingredients that I often have in the fridge, like sausages and potatoes, spinach leaves and tomatoes, onions, etc.
The recipes are unusual enough that I often wouldn't think of the combinations on my own (pretzel encrusted chicken, mmmm!), but are truly fast and easy to make. I am not much of a cook and am usually pretty tired when I get home from my job as a landscaper, so it really says something that every time I have turned to this book right before dinnertime, I have found at least a few options for a meal to make that night with what I have on hand, all of which have been do-able and not too complicated to figure out.
I love the fresh take she has on combining everyday ingredients so they make something a bit different and special. I have felt really treated and like I was eating something delicious and reasonably healthy, each time I have made a meal from this book. The 30 minute claim has been pretty close to accurate for each one as well, unlike a lot of "quick" recipes I have tried, which expect you to have a lot of ingredients already cooked or prepared in advance.
I would also like to note that I am cooking for a VERY picky eater, who doesn't like zucchini, beans, onions, garlic, bell peppers, anything sweet in his savory foods, many fishes, etc, and the structure of this book, of having a master recipe and then some variations that feel like a whole different meal but use the same general theme and directions, made it a lot easier to substitute for my picky eater's food dislikes. The variations were different enough that it was pretty simple to put together a bit of this and a bit of that from each recipe to make something that everyone in the house would enjoy.
I love Ray's obvious enjoyment of food and cooking, and her enthusiasm is catching! I am loving using her recipes as springboards to my own culinary experimentations, and her encouraging tone has really helped me enjoy cooking dinner even when I am in a hurry. This would be a great book to give to a college student or a new parent.