Customer Review

22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Yum-O!, January 7, 2006
This review is from: Rachael Ray 365: No Repeats--A Year of Deliciously Different Dinners (A 30-Minute Meal Cookbook) (Paperback)
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.
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Location: High Point, NC USA

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