- Hardcover: 338 pages
- Publisher: Cook's Illustrated; 1st edition (September 30, 2004)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0936184809
- ISBN-13: 978-0936184807
- Product Dimensions: 11.2 x 8.6 x 1.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #257,545 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Cover & Bake (Best Recipe) Hardcover – September 30, 2004
The Amazon Book Review
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". . . .makes one-dish dinners a reality for average cooks, with honest ingredients and detailed make-ahead instructions." -- The New York Times, December 8, 2004
From the Inside Flap
No potluck dinner or church supper would be complete without Baked Ziti or Tuna Noodle Casserole. But are these dishes ever as good as they sound? More often than not, the noodles are dry and crunchy, the sauce lackluster, and the overall dish, well, passable at best. And while everyone loves the idea of a one-dish meal that is made ahead and pulled hot and browned from the oven, the reality is often disappointing.
With Cover & Bake, the editors of Cooks Illustrated set out to revive the venerable casserole. This kind of cooking is uniquely American, and many recipes have deep roots in regional traditions. From Turkey Tetrazzini and Chicken Divan to Crab Imperial and Hoppin John, casseroles represent the ingenuity and practicality of the American cook. But over the last 50 years, many of these classics have taken a turn for the worse as busy home cooks, pressed for time, turned to sorry shortcuts like processed foods to make things easier. For Cover & Bake, the editors tested new versions of old standbys and in the -process have re-imagined the art of the one-dish meal to meet the demands of todays cook.
Here you will find classic assemble-and-bake casseroles like Macaroni and Cheese and Creamy Chicken and Rice as well as innovative dishes like Mediterranean Chicken Bake and Polenta Casserole with Italian Sausage. The key to making these recipes work, apart from using the freshest of ingredients, is to use high heat and shallow baking dishes that allow you to put already cooked ingredients into a hot oven for a short period of time so that their flavors can meld without overcooking. Weve experimented with techniques that allow you to cook everything in just one pot whenever possible, avoiding the need for hours of preparation and cleanup just to get a casserole in the oven. And nearly every recipe can be made ahead, allowing home cooks to serve these wholesome dishes on a busy weeknight.
Looking beyond what most people consider to be a casserole, the editors offer an original take on the subject with inventive skillet "casseroles" (Skillet Lasagna and Beef Stroganoff), slow-cooker meals that are really worth serving (Curried Chicken with Potatoes and Peas), pot pies with multiple topping options (many of which can be made ahead), oven braises and stews that cook in a slow oven for hours so that you wont have to stand over a hot stove, and breakfast and brunch dishes that can be assembled the night before, allowing you to relax along with your guests. For every type of one-dish meal, we have given you practical tips and techniques along with step-by-step illustrations that make the process easier. For instance, in the slow-cooker chapter, there is a detailed guide to using slow cookers effectively based on our extensive testing, along with specific tips, such as how to arrange vegetables around the edge of the slow cooker so that they will cook all the way through.
In addition, this book contains all the relevant tastings and testings conducted in Americas Test Kitchen. Learn which baking dish is our hands-down favorite. Are all storage containers created the same? Want to know which slow cooker has the best combination of features? Weve done thorough research into each of these topics (and more) and recommend specific kitchen items (yes, we name brands) that deliver superior results. In Cover & Bake, you will learn which brand of chicken broth tastes best, how to buy canned tomatoes that taste almost as good as fresh, and how to choose among myriad brands of rice, pasta, and noodles when youre in the supermarket. Starting with the right ingredients and the best possible equipment makes all the difference, so we have made sure to give you the information you need to be successful in the kitchen.
Cover & Bake is packed with more than 200 recipes for one-dish meals for everyday cooking. These practical recipes will allow you to get dinner on the table with a minimum of fuss while still serving up a fresh-tasting meal.
Founded in 1980, Cooks Illustrated magazine is renowned for its near-obsessive dedication to finding the best methods of American home cooking. The editors of Cooks are also the authors of a best-selling series of cookbooks (The Best Recipe Series) and a series of companion books to the Americas Test Kitchen public television show (which reaches 2.4 million viewers per episode). Filmed in Americas Test Kitchen (a 2,500-square-foot test kitchen in Brookline, Massachusetts), the show features the editors, test cooks, equipment testers, science experts, and food tasters from the magazines staff.
Top Customer Reviews
I'm not going to repeat the praise offered by other reviewers; I concur with all of it. The reason why people should buy this book (or give as a gift) is because each and every recipe has detailed instructions for making these dishes ahead of time and refrigerating or freezing them. Most of the dishes can be frozen for at least one month, many for two or even three months. And, best of all, they taste great no matter when they eat them.
This cookbook has made my busy life simpler. I love to share good food with my friends and family, and Cover & Bake makes that easy to do. I have relied on recipes from Cook's Illustrated for years and now, when I'm at a time in my life where time is scarce, I can continue to produce great food in a short period of time.
Just a sampling of how I've been able to utilize this book:
1. Spend one day every month preparing 4-5 casseroles that go straight into the freezer.
2. Make one "fresh" casserole each week that is eaten right away.
3. Prepare the food for a party 2-3 days in advance so my final hours before the party are focused on cleaning up after my preschooler!
4. Share one casserole each week with elderly relatives; I can even make up individual sized portions easily.
5. Made a few casseroles for a friend's freezer while she was recuperating in the hospital.
6. Shared a few casseroles with a friend who was at home with her new baby.
This is a great cookbook to have, and great cookbook to give away. I am excited by it.
I am very happy with this cookbook. I have cooked from it several times a week since I received it 2 months ago. So far, I would like to make most of the recipes again. A few I didn't care for, but probably because they were not my tastes, not because they were bad recipes.
The techniques used in this cookbook are great and can be used in your own recipes. For example, they suggest to only partially cook raw chicken in your sauce, etc., as opposed to adding diced cooked chicken, like so many casserole recipes require. The chicken tastes so much better this way.
In addition to casserole recipes, there are great recipes for making meals all in one skillet, recipes for using in your slow cooker, and some great breakfast dishes. There is also a good chapter on side dishes.
Another feature I appreciate is the "planning ahead" that accompanies most recipes. It tells you exactly what can be done ahead, and how to adjust the cooking time if you do. This is something they rarely discuss in their magazine, and I am happy they tackled this, because it will be very helpful for entertaining.
There are recipes using meat, poultry and seafood. There are also quite a few good vegetarian recipes, like tamale pie, vegetable pot pie, sopa seca, plus side dishes and some of the breakfast casseroles. They say in the book that they made some of these recipes from scratch, and I believe it. There is some real creativity in here, while at the same time you are getting recipes for some old standards you would expect, like mac n' cheese and pot pies.
If you like casserole type dishes, and/or if you like Cook's Illustrated recipes, I highly recommend this book. It is a new favorite of mine.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Looking forward to trying these recipes. They are easy to follow, don't require expensive ingredients and best of all are tested by CI. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Bert M
Excellent recipies, well researched, as usual. Wish there were more dessert options.Published 11 months ago by Ms. Picky
Love the "Cook's Illustrated" series. I like the additional information provided about the recipes. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Kay S
This cookbook is excellent. I just assembled the Easy Meat Lasagna with Hearty Tomato-Meat Sauce and the 24-Hour Omelet for a birthday I am hosting tomorrow. Read morePublished 20 months ago by Patty S.
I borrowed this book from the library and looked for a recipe for chicken thighs. I found "Moroccan spiced chicken and apricot stew" in the slow cooker section. Read morePublished 23 months ago by Amazon Fan