on June 19, 2011
As the other reviewers have noted, this is an excellent cookbook with fairly healthy, delicious recipes. I bought this cookbook about 3 months ago, and my husband and I have made our way through about half of it. There is literally not a single bad recipe in this book, and in fact, my husband has even liked many of the fish and vegetarian recipes, which is impressive given that he is your typical steak and potatoes kind of guy (for instance, the black bean tacos are AMAZING, and he and I both loved them). It has a great mix of styles of food and definitely provides something for everyone. The pictures give a great idea of what the final product looks like, the recipes are easy to follow and quick to make, and the ingredients are all easily found in any grocery store. I have tons of cookbooks, and I have never come across a single one that I like as much. I HIGHLY recommend this book to anyone looking for fast, fresh, and easy weeknight meals.
on May 25, 2011
This is a cookbook that is not only beautiful to look at with the photographs, but the recipes are the kind I will actually use as a "meat and potatoes", homestyle cook. They are healthy, relatively easy, and use regular ingredients.
When I review a cookbook, one can always tell how much it appealed to me by the posts-it tags I use to mark the recipes I want to try and my copy is now full of tags. I made the Chicken With Sugar Snaps and Asparagus and really enjoyed it, and look forward to trying Penne With Mushrooms and Turkey Sausage, and Black Bean Tacos With Avocado Salsa, to name just a few.
This cookbook is organized by season to take advantage of what is freshest at the market, and includes recipes for vegetarian dishes, fish and seafood, chicken, beef, and other meats. There are soups, casseroles, salads, and meat with vegetable dishes. Things like breads, side dishes, and desserts are not included; just recipes for everyday supper type entrees and I like that focus. For me personally this isn't a negative, but some of the recipes do require more preparation and cooking time than what the title would indicate. In other words, these aren't the 30-minute from start to finish type recipes some cookbooks promise, but the ingredients are simple and with some planning and preparing ahead, I think most of the recipes are doable for a busy cook.
This is a cookbook I can happily recommend to anyone who wants some new everyday recipes that use fresh and healthy ingredients.
I received a copy of this book for review from the publisher but the opinion of it is my own and was not solicited, nor was a positive review required.
on September 22, 2012
There are a few reasons why this cookbook is great.
1. The recipes are, as the title suggests, relatively quick. They take anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour, but you end up with pretty gourmet stuff at the end. And they're easy, too, which brings me to...
2. This is a great cookbook for someone of just about any level. I'm a competent cook, but I'm not great, and I can make these recipes without messing them up. Plus, the recipes are pretty adaptable, so someone of a higher skill level can use them as a base and add their own flair. For example, I don't have an herb garden, and I don't use herbs very often, so I will cut them out of the recipes sometime. Even though they are important, the food still turns out great without them. (Though when I do manage to include them, of course it tastes much better.) Often the author gives suggestions about how to adapt the recipes, which novice or advanced cooks can use as they wish, which brings me to...
3. The author includes lots of suggestions for what to serve each entree with, what to do with leftovers, how to make it vegetarian, substitutions. This is really helpful for me, since I cook only for myself; leftovers are key, and I can really make a nice healthy meal with her suggestions, which brings me to...
4. These recipes are healthy and they taste good! I am still not sure I believe it. Lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, but cooked in ways that are delicious. Plus the herbs and spices she suggests means I don't need to add a lot of salt or cheese (my favorite food) for flavor. Often I've eaten a meal from this book, and it hasn't been until I really thought about the recipe that I realized, "Wait that was really healthy!" The reliance on local produce in this book means that everything is delicious and nutritious, which brings me to...
5. The recipes are conveniently organized by season, according to what is being produced. I live in Southern California, which I think is where this book is geared to, so it's especially great for me. I'm not sure it would be as helpful if you lived somewhere where the produce was different, but it's not like supermarkets don't carry fruits & vegetables year-round. But the organization by season means I'm really eating meals with what is best at that time of year. Sweet corn & tomatoes in everything during the summertime, and lots of squash and citrus during the winter-- it never gets boring, which brings me to...
6. There is a recipe for everyone in this book. My roommate and I have pretty different taste in foods, and still there's recipes that look good to her, and recipes that I love. There's some I'd never cook, and there's some she'd never cook, but we can each find a whole bunch we're excited for! It's the perfect book for anyone to have in their a kitchen, which brings me to...
7. It really teaches you how to keep a kitchen, with suggestions about what to keep stocked in each season and year-round, and simple staples for sides & desserts, which brings me to...
In short, if you only buy one cookbook this year, don't bother with the inaccessible Joy of Cooking or its ilk. Get Fresh & Fast! (That being said, if you buy more than one cookbook, Joy of Cooking's good, too.)
on October 5, 2011
All I can say is wow. Since my wife and I have had our first child about a year and a half ago we have made probably every recipe in this book. We love almost all of them (taste is of course subjective, so not every recipe will please everyone). The recipes are truly very fast to make (most in a half hour or less) and are healthy and delicious. We eat better now than we ever did before and it takes us less time than ever to make dinner. This book is truly a life saver.
on September 8, 2015
The other reviews here got me far too excited about this book. I almost expected angels would start singing as soon as i opened this. Sadly, i was dissapointed.
I don't know whether I just didn't do enough research but what I expected was:
- quick, fun recipes
- basic ingredients
- not too expensive.
Most recipes are fairly quick, though definetly not "15 minute meal" quick. Most take at about half an hour or are the type of recipe where you put something in the oven for an hour and just have your hands free whilst it's cooking.
What bothered me most though is the ingredients used. Most of them are what i would call "fancy". I don't expect every recipe to be brocolli or bell peppers, but this isn't a cookbook you pull out to see what you can do in a hurry with the random leftover ingredients in your fridge. You have to shop specifically for the ingredients in this book (most of them anyway) and they aren't always easy to find and quite a few of them aren't cheap at all. Also the recipes with these fancy ingredients weren't imho very innovative. But perhaps i just already own a few too many cookbooks and am a bit too hard to impress.
Also the lack of nutritional information bothers me since this cookbook advertises itself as "healthy". Although that doesn't necessarily means low calorie i do feel alot people who aim for "healthy" cooking might also be interested in the nutritional stuff... At least i know i am.
All in all i won't say i won't get a single good recipe for this book, but given the glowing reviews i'm definetly a bit dissapointed in what i ended up getting. But like i said before, that might be my own fault. Clearly my own expectations did not match the contents of this book.
the pictures are fabulous though.
on July 1, 2012
I own at least 30 cook books and have never made so many recipes from a single book as I have with this one! They are all fantastic, easy and fresh! It's organized by season, which I love because it lends itself to fresh, local produce. I've made about half the recipes from the spring and summer sections and have loved every one of them. My husband is a vegetarian and all these recipes can be easily altered to fit his dietary needs. My very favorite so far is the Goat Cheese Soufflé with Fresh Herbs. To die for!
on April 3, 2014
We have already tried 4 recipes out of this book and have several more marked. Those that we've tried are wonderful and we will make them again and again I'm sure. Really enjoy the organization (by season) and the beautiful pictures. Ingredients are healthy and easily accessible which is important in our house!
on December 2, 2013
This is my current go-to cookbook! Every recipe I have tried has ranged from excellent to very good. It is nice that I can use a handful of ingredients and in a short amount of time, usually 30 minutes or so, I have a dinner on the table that everyone will eat. The book is divided by seasons and has a variety of chicken, salmon, vegetarian, beef, and pasta options. I know if I am stuck for what to make, this book will have a recipe that will deliver.
on January 19, 2015
This is THE BEST "cookbook" I've ever owned or seen.
The recipe/meal ideas are wonderful. Along with each recipe is a lovely photo so you know what the dish will look like; suggestions, ideas, and shopping tips as well as suggestions for "make ahead" dishes and how to re-heat.
Ideas for substitutions come with each recipe.
Each recipe is creative--not your typical "meal and potatoes" dishes yet substantial and hearty.
If you are tired of the "same old, same old" and are looking for different without being complicated, this is the book for you.
on April 6, 2015
This book is phenomenal! As a fairly new person to the world of cooking, I absolutely love this. I'm trying eat clean and healthy, but don't want to sacrifice 1-2 hours of my evening to cook. Not so with this thing! I spend an average of 30-40 minutes start to finish, and everything I've made so far has been really easy to do, and very tastey.