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Simply Done, Well Done Paperback – April 5, 2011

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"Cuban Cocktails: 100 Classic and Modern Drinks"
From the renowned Cuban rum bar Cienfuegos—owned by the co-owner of Death and Co., named Best American Cocktail Bar at Tales of the Cocktail® in 2010—comes this spirited collection of 100 recipes that celebrate Cuba’s rich history and culture. See Details
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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

bold, flavorful food the whole family will love

In Simply Done, Well Done, Aaron McCargo, Jr.–the star of the Food Network's Big Daddy's House–shares 120 of the fun, family-friendly recipes that have made him a rising star. From hearty comfort foods to classic barbecue favorites to radically delicious desserts, Aaron whips up mouth watering dishes inspired by family, friends, and good times shared over great food. With simple techniques and audacious ideas, he delivers big flavors and big fun with recipes like Spicy Beef Quesadillas, Pepperoni-Cheeseburger Turnovers, and Tiramisu Cupcakes.

With his trademark charm and straight forward kitchen instruction, Aaron explains the basic cooking skills and the vital ingredients that make big, bold cooking easy for any cook. For home-cooked meals that will knock your socks off and satisfy even the heartiest of appetites, look no further than Simply Done, Well Done. Gather the family around the table and get ready for some serious fun!

About the Author

Aaron McCargo, Jr., was the winner of season four of The Next Food Network Star and currently stars in Big Daddy's House on Food Network. He lives in New Jersey with his wife and children.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; 1 edition (March 18, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470615338
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470615331
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #337,167 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Aaron McCargo, Jr. competed on and won season four of The Next Food Network Star in 2008, beating out thousands of culinary hopefuls for the ultimate dream job - his own Food Network show. Big Daddy's House premiered August 3, 2008 and ranked as the number one "In the Kitchen" weekend show during its initial six-episode run. With the show's continued success,Aaron consistently films new episodes of Big Daddy's House with Follow Productions outside Philadelphia.

On Big Daddy's House, Aaron shares his passion for big, bold flavors and fun, family cooking. From comfort foods to barbeque favorites to breakfast delights, Aaron whips up mouth-watering recipes inspired by many years of culinary experience and his fun-loving family while bringing a down-to-earth vibe and warm smile to the kitchen. Whether cooking with his children, relatives,friends, or even by himself, big food and big fun reign supreme.

A family man who adores all things flavorful, Aaron's passion for cooking was sparked at the age of four when he started baking cakes in his sister's Easy Bake Oven. At the age of 13, Aaron worked as a Junior Volunteer in the kitchen at Cooper Hospital University. From there Aaron's entrepreneurial spirit set in as he began making and selling cakes and cookies to his childhood friends. He has since worked in nine New Jersey restaurants including casual and fine dining.

In 2003, Aaron opened his own restaurant in Camden, N.J., called McCargo's Restaurant. Most recently, Aaron served as the Executive Chef of Catering at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia. He attended Atlantic Cape Community College's Academy of Culinary Arts.

Aaron has been featured on numerous national news programs including The Today Show, Regis and Kelly, and Rachael Ray. His rise to fame has been covered everywhere from The New York Times, to Essence Magazine. As a contributing editor for both the June and July 2009 issues of Essence Magazine, Aaron shared his insight on one of his favorite topics: how to get the family into the kitchen.

Aaron has successfully launched his first signature spice line, now available
online and continues to donate his spare time to nonprofits likes Share Our Strength and their Great American Dine Out to help end childhood hunger.

Born and raised in Camden, N.J., Aaron regularly speaks to youth at schools and community events illustrating that they too can succeed despite the odds. He is also the founder of the Play to Win Charity to increase the graduation rates of male youths. Honoring him for his success and service, Camden Mayor Gwendolyn Faison presented Aaron with the keys to the city in 2008 and designated September 25 as Aaron McCargo, Jr. Day.

Aaron comes from a large family (he has five brothers and sisters) whose constant support has helped him achieve his goals. In his spare time, Aaron enjoys Bible study, tennis, buffalo wings,watching sports, and traveling.

Married with three children, Aaron lives with his family in New

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 36 people found the following review helpful By AddyeB on March 30, 2011
Format: Paperback
What strikes me the most about this book is that it's more than just a cookbook, it's a story, a miniature novel that grabs your attention and leaves you unable to put it down until you've reached the end. I've owned and read other cookbooks by other chefs, but none of them seem to bring the authors/chefs to life like this one does. Reading this felt like I was sitting down and having a conversation w/Mr. McCargo in his living room or kitchen. It's warm, inviting, laid back, simple, and thoroughly enjoying to read from beginning to end. Having watched him on "Big Daddy's House" on Food Network and having met him in person, it's great to see how his personality and easy going, fun demeanor come to life in the pages of Simply Done. Gorgeous pictures-colorful, bright, and captivating enough to make me hungry just looking at them lol. I really love how he added "how to's" and other educational peices of information about knives, different foods, spices, etc that help you become more knowledgeable about food and cooking. A must have for anyone who loves to cook at home or professionally-I can't wait to try some of these recipes!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By EatMoreGreatFood on April 17, 2011
Format: Paperback
I LOVE to cook for my family and friends. Food brings people together in a special way that allows us nourish our mind, body and spirit. What is better than being surrounded by family and friends who love each other, while we share in life's great experiences? SIMPLY DONE WELL DONE is the road map to food happiness. :-) Aaron McCargo, Jr. has brought food to life in his wonderful book and each recipe is a celebration of life. I took a detour and instead of trying the recipes first, I invited some friends over on a Friday night and with some great jazz music playing in the background, we created a festival of food that put a smile on our face, love in our hearts and a song in our tummy! The CORNED BEEF REUBEN CASSEROLE was unreal! Easy to make, filled with flavor and the perfect blend of rich taste. We were a little skeptical about making the STUFFED GRILLED BONELESS PORK CHOPS with HICKORY BACON, SMOKED GOUDA and MARMALADE GLAZE because we were intimated by the picture. But let me tell you this, the dish was not only SIMPLE, but AMAZING and OUT OF THIS WORLD. My girlfriends and I still hum when we talk about it! The TOASTED JASMINE with CRUNCHY BEAN SPROUTS and CREAMED SPINACH and TURNIP CASSEROLE were equally easy, but mind altering and out of body! One of the best features of this book was the CONDIMENTS in the back! The ARUGULA MAYO is off the charts! I would have never thought of those two ingredients as a combo, but once I tried it there was no turning back! Watching BIG DADDY's HOUSE on TV always felt like I had to have a lot of kitchen experience to try some of the recipes, but this book made me feel like a winner!
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By bdizzle on April 13, 2011
Format: Paperback
We've tried the Sliders w/ Pesto Mayo, Cheddar Cheese and Caramerlized onions -- Ridiculously tasty. We also tried the Orzo, Squash & Bacon dish - loved it. Want to try the soups but may save those for the Fall. Chicken Taco Pizza w/ Chipotle is next for the kiddos and Stuffed Pork Chops w/ Bacon, Gouda and Marmalade Glaze is next fo the grown ups. Cool tips and personal anecdotes from Aaron accompany alot of the recipes. Highly recommended (worth the price just for the sauce & soup recipes).
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By K. Gill on May 4, 2011
Format: Paperback
I have this book and must admit that it is not at all my preferred type of food. It is all super high in saturated fat, and lots of meat. However, there is something so nice and down to earth about the book, that I put my reservations aside and delved into it. This book to me represented someone's genuine love for food and cooking and sharing this passion with others. It just transpired family and friend get togethers.

I tried the pickle slaw and it is really good. I am going to do the pulled pork soon (so I can make the slaw again!), and I know that it too will be good. I really love the sandwich section of this book, and this is what I will use it for mainly. I look forward to serving a few of these dishes this summer when we entertain outdoors.

No special or advanced cooking techniques are necessary to make these recipes.

If you're into heavy meals, or lots of nice sandwiches, this is your book.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By R. Stevens on May 21, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Cookbooks are always hard because everyone has different opinions on what makes a cookbook successful. For me, this book wins on all counts. The recipes are simple with lots of flavor and McCago's laid back nature shines through. I want to make almost every single dish in this book. Even the section on condiments is full of win in my opinion.

My only complaint: While I don't personally mind if there isn't a picture with every recipe, I thought it was kind of silly to have so many pictures of McCargo in the book. Yes, he's very handsome but it's not really necessary. (Though I'll admit the picture on page 63 is perfect.) That's such a small thing I feel a bit silly for even mentioning it, but it did stand out to me.

Overall, the dishes are what I've come to expect from McCargo and I can't understand why his show doesn't come on more often. I have a serious food crush on this guy.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By George Erdosh on October 14, 2011
Format: Paperback
Celebrity chefs and food show hosts rarely write good, user-friendly and practical cookbooks. Mercifully, McCargo's book doesn't fall in this category. This book is quite cook-friendly and very practical with good, simple recipes, mainly using easily available and relatively small number of ingredients. The recipe layout is good; nearly all recipes are on a single page for convenience, some illustrated with very nice full-page professional photos. Some of the ingredients are prepared foods (canned or bottled) to reduce preparation time, the techniques are simple and accessible to even beginner cooks. Excellent informative sidebars, many on full pages, are scattered throughout among the recipes. Head notes on top of many recipes are good, often with cute personal touches, and with information related to that recipe.||Some of the recipes appear to be original and many are enriched with the author's own creativity. But don't expect to lose weight as most are rich (each serving of his mashed potatoes, e.g., contains 2' tablespoons heavy cream and 1' tablespoons butter!). Each chapter heading is followed by a list of the recipes in that chapter. The last chapter provides a nice collection of dressing, sauces, gravies, seasonings. The subject index is excellent, nicely cross referenced.
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