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Top Cookbooks for Families

The best cookbooks for cooking for kids and families

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Cooking for a family has its own set of challenges. From picky eaters to shopping on a budget to making sure that meals are nutritious and well-rounded, there'sa  lot of thought that needs to go into cooking for a family. These cookbooks will help cooks meet the demands of cooking delicious, healthy meals for their families.

The Family Dinner by Laurie David

The Family Dinner
Grand Central Life & Style

More than a cookbook, this book is a guide to helping Americans improve their family lives, beginning with one of the most important elements: sitting down together to dinner as a family. Author Laurie David is the producer of the film An Inconvenient Truth, so of course environmental issues play a part in this book - there's information on composting and gardening, a chapter on "Meatless Monday" (A movement encouraging Americans to eat no meat for one day a week both for health and environmental reasons) and tips on shopping for organic ingredients and decreasing your carbon footprint. There are only about 75 recipes, but other information, from conversation starters to tips for divorced families, makes the book worthy of being added to any family's kitchen library.

New Classic Family Dinners by Mark Peel

New Classic Family Dinners
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The family with sophisticated tastes will love this cookbook by Chef Mark Peel (and Top Chef Masters competitor) of Campanile restaurant in Los Angeles. On Monday nights, Campanile's menu focuses on Peel's interpretation of family-favorite comfort foods, and this book includes 200 recipes based on these Monday-night specials, which are typically classics with an innovative or upscale twist. Some of the most enticing recipes include Beer-Braised Brisket with Caramelized Root Vegetables; Rabbit Cacciatore; Chicken a la King with Wild Mushrooms; Peach Cobbler with Buttermilk Biscuit Topping and Devil's Food Layer Cake with White Mountain Frosting. The involvement or difficulty of the recipes varies, but there is plenty of explanation on techniques that will help cooks succeed.
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Giada's Family Dinners

Giada's Family Dinners
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If you've ever found yourself wishing you could be a guest at Giada's dinner table, now's your chance... sort of. Her 2006 book (the second one that she published) is filled with Italian-accented dishes that are especially geared towards feeding a crowd. There are chapters that focus on grilled foods, recipes for get-togethers and for feasts and celebrations. A section of menus gives ideas for occasions from a kid-friendly weeknight dinner to a Thanksgiving feast. The book is filled with photos of Giada and her family, giving readers insight a delightful peek into a big, warm Italian family.
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Sara Moulton's Everyday Family Dinners

Sara Moulton's Everyday Family Dinners
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Moulton takes a fresh approach to family and weeknight dinners in her book, offering new ideas for keeping meals interesting - for instance, one chapter includes appetizer-type recipes rethought for a main course, and another chapter is devoted entirely to egg dishes. There are also chapters on vegetarian dishes, two-for-one recipes that make enough food to create another meal from the leftovers. I particularly like that she doesn't believe in mise in place for home cooking (mise en place is the idea of getting all the vegetables and ingredients prepped and arranged before beginning to cook) - she believes instead that it's more efficient to prep as you go, and her recipes are written as such, with instructions on how to chop or prep each ingredient within the body of the recipe.
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So Easy by Ellie Krieger

So Easy by Ellie Krieger
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If you're concerned about eating healthfully, this cookbook, by the host of Food Network's Healthy Appetite, will help ensure that the meals you cook for your family are nutritious and wholesome. There's two chapters each for breakfast and lunch - one chapter focuses on packed or grab-and-go options for these meals, while the other incorporates meals to enjoy at home. Similarly, there are dinner recipes that can be prepared in under 30 minutes, and recipes that take a little more time. Every recipe is a complete meal, and because Krieger believes that no food is off limits, you'll even find indulgent ingredients like bacon or butter, but just used in moderation. Nutritional information is listed for each recipe, including notes on when a recipe is a source of certain essential nutrients.
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America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook by America's Test Kitchen

America's Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook
Cooking.com

The popular television show has helped Americans master challenging recipes, choose the best equipment and learn new techniques. Now the staff of America's Test Kitchen are ready to help American families eat healthier. The 800 recipes in this book lean heavily to American classics, many of which have been updated to be a little healthier and lower in fat, although the book is by no means a low-fat or diet cookbook. Each recipe includes dietary information, which makes it easy to keep track of what you're eating. There's also plenty of great refrence information, such as taste tests of different products, information about cooking equipment, and step by step tutorials.

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