Top positive review
6 people found this helpful
One of the best cookbooks on my shelf
on March 11, 2012
I'm the proud owner of a ton of cookbooks, and my shelf is pretty crowded with titles that I like to read but that I don't actually cook from that often.
Since I bought it, I haven't bothered to fit The Naptime Chef's book on my shelf, because it's found a better place: on my kitchen counter. In use. Kelsey's recipes are delicious looking and sounding, and they're also a creative call to action to get in the kitchen, no matter how busy or complicated our days may be.
There are a bunch of moments in our lives when routines change--after we graduate from college or start a family. Kelsey Banfield's cookbook identifies the latter as a time when a foodie home cook's priorities have to change. But she also shows with her recipes, introduction, and helpful sidebars that just because life's gotten busier doesn't mean food lovers have to abandon great cooking, or revert to cake mixes or take out.
I don't have a kid yet, but I'm in school and engaged, so I always need great, straightforward recipes for two that I can make ahead of time or whip up quickly when I get home from a super long day. That's why Kelsey's book has been invaluable to me.
Here's what I love most about it:
-Kelsey's tips for planning ahead. In all her recipes, she tells you exactly what needs to be done to get this appetizer/main dish/dessert on the table. It's great to learn what can be frozen easily and how long different parts of a recipe keep in the fridge, and it really helps with planning.
-The little boxes that separate prep time from cook time so you know the start-to-finish time but also how many precious minutes you'll have while the food is cooking unattended to wash dishes/clean the apartment/talk on the phone.
-The recipes all have creative little extras or combine ingredients in surprising and inventive ways. They take a go-to comforting family dinner and give it a welcome gourmet twist.
The first recipe I made was the Chicken Sausage and Tortellini soup on page 92. I had pretty much everything in my pantry already, but I wouldn't have thought to combine sausage, pasta, tomatoes, and spinach in soup. Topped with parmesan cheese, the dish was hearty and rich--enough for a Sunday night dinner and a few days of lunch during the week. Best of all, my kitchen was hardly a mess afterwards.
Other recipes I'm exited about are the Sticky Orange Drumsticks, the Pesto Goat Cheese-Stuffed Chicken Breasts, Baked Gnocchi with Roasted Eggplant and Mozzarella, Crispy Parmesan Potato Wedges, Green Beans with Toasted Almonds, Olive Oil, and Sea Salt, and Everyday Cream Puffs. And a whole lot of others.
I'm so glad to have this book in my collection and would recommend it to busy cooks whether or not they have kids!