Favorite cookbooks

Earlier in the week I blogged about menu-planning on Habits for a Happy Home. One indispensible tool of coming up with a menu is, of course, cookbooks.  I’ll admit that there are weeks when I don’t crack open a single cookbook to plan. I just stick to tried and true favorites that I know by heart.  However, that can get a little dull and I find that I need some inspiration.  Sometimes, I just like looking a the beautiful pictures 🙂


Another source for recipes that has become very popular is the web.  Who doesn’t love just typing in what you want to make and coming up with several options.

I’ve listed below my top three favorites in both categories.  These are the three that I return to the most.  Then there are a couple of honorable mentions for books that I just love 🙂  You can click on the picks to go to amazon to look at the books.  Pics of the websites will take you straight there.

Cookbooks ~

The Ultimate Southern Living Cookbook

southern living

When something has the word ultimate in the title, it usually means it’s going to be full of good stuff, and this is no exception.  I wish this had been in my cookbook collection when I first got married. It is a great reference book with pictures of everything from different cuts of meat,to all types of pastas, to different cheeses. It has step-by step pics of many different cooking techniques, handy substitutions, menu suggestions and lots more.  This is a great gift for new brides.  When I am looking for a recipe, I usually go here first.

Favorite recipes include macaroni and cheese, spinach artichoke dip and favorite sugar cookies.

Betty Crocker’s Cookbook

betty crocker

Surprisingly enough, the next two on my list are void of pictures. (I love pictures) That is probably because they are full of so much other stuff, there wasn’t room for pics. This is an old paperback that I think was given to me by my mother-in-law many years ago.  It is worn and stained and there are pages falling out, a sure sign of a winner! Another go-to book for all your basics and then some, this has served me well.

Favorite recipes include golden chicken nuggets, meatloaf (easy and delicious), meatballs, simple pancakes and waffles.

Fix-it and Forget-it Cookbook: Feasting with your Slow Cooker

fix and forget

A slow cooker is a momma’s best friend.  There is so much you can do with it.  This cookbook proves it. What I really like about this one is that there are often several recipes for one meal. For instance, there are at least 6 different pot roast recipes, so if you are missing ingredients to one or have picky eaters, just keep looking and you are sure to find one you can use.  I have also combined some before using what looks good in one and something else from another.  I can’t think of a time that I have been disappointed.

Favorite recipes include Wanda’s chicken and rice, Shari’s beef stroganoff, and Lamb Shanks (a favorite of hubby’s)

Websites ~


all recipesThere are a lot of recipe sites out there.  I’ve been using this one for a while, so I keep going back to the familiar.  I use it most often when I have an extra day at the end of a pay period and I need to find something to make with the ingredients I have on hand.  Last week, I happened to have some frozen veggies, eggs and cheese, but no meat.  I wanted something more than scrambled eggs and I found a couple of wonderful quiche recipes – one with spinach and one with broccoli – that were top notch. I like that there are several options (sometimes too many!) for whatever I’m looking for and that there are pictures, and reviews with reader suggestions for alternate options.  I use the free version. You can sign in and save recipes in your own recipe box.  I just recently started using this feature, so the only recipes I have in it are the two quiches and a simple white gravy.

Christy Jordan’s Southern Plate


I recently heard of this site from my friend Tricia.  It has lots of tasty crowd-pleasers on here, most of them very simple to make.  I also enjoy her commentaries.  You can sign up for emails with new recipes and receive a free ebook.  I linked to a recent post of hers that had a fantastic message about why she thinks life is good RIGHT NOW and it also includes the recipe for meatloaf casserole that I hope to try, even though I don’t know what leftover meatloaf is, around here.  I might have to make two 🙂   From there, you can check out her home page.

Other favorites ~ taco  soup, not your average sloppy joes and deep dish pizza.

Miscellaneous Blogs

I always like recommendations from friends.  So if they suggest it, I will probably try it 🙂 These ladies have great collections of recipes on their sites that are family-tested and momma-approved.

Here are some that have become family favorites of ours:

Little Sanctuary’s Chicken Spaghetti

Hodge Podge’s Cookies and Cream

Frogs Snails and Puppy Dog Tales Mini Cheesecakes

Honorable mentions ~

Jan Karon’s Mitford Cookbook and Kitchen Reader


Recipes from the beloved Mitford Series (including Esther Bolick’s famous Orange Marmalade Cake) with excerpts from the books.  Fun to read while you’re waiting for your goodies to bake.

Everyday Italian by Giada DiLaurentis

everyday italian

This book includes recipes from my favorite cooking show.  I realize it’s criminal to not pick Paula Dean as my favorite when in the South, and I do love her, but Giada’s show appeals to me with all it’s fresh ingredients, beautifully prepared. The fact that it’s Italian food is a huge plus!

My big-giant-mess-of-a-recipe-file by Kerri

recipe file

Sorry, you won’t be able to find this on amazon.com or at your nearest book store, but you can come over and sift through them to see if you can find something you like.  I really need to do some straightening in this area.  I’m thinking of having a recipe organizing party where friends can get together with our files and notebooks that are stuffed with food-spattered recipes and weed out, rewrite and re-file.  Of course to be admitted, you have to prepare and bring one of the recipes  🙂

That’s it from me – bon appetit!  What’s cookin’ at your house?

7 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Kendra on October 19, 2009 at 10:26 am

    I envy your collection. I haven’t bought a new cookbook in so long – not since I discovered Allrecipes. There is just something special about a real book!

    So, have you made Esther Bolick’s famous orange marmalade cake? I’ve been dying to know if it is as yummy as I have imagined it to be.

    Great idea about the organizing party. Sign me up!


    • Posted by Kerri on October 19, 2009 at 10:45 am

      I haven’t bought one in ages either, I just couldn’t justify it. I did benefit from receiving the new Southern Living books when I was a consultant and I have received a few as gifts.

      I did make Esther’s famous cake many years ago, before I had a stand mixer and it was good, but not as good as I think it would be now that I have one. There are many steps to it. I was actually thinking about making it for the mom’s meeting tomorrow. It was a toss up between that and a pumpkin cake trifle. I’m going to the store this afternoon…

      I’m thinking the party might be a good winter-time activity – someone just needs to remind me 🙂


  2. Our suppers have never been the same since Southern Plate. My mother found it and spiced up our lives! I love that it is just good ol regular stuff but better.

    I believe your fix it and forget it cookbook will go on my Christmas wish list! My mother also gave me Jan Karon’s Mitford cookbook for Christmas one year. I’ve often looked longingly at Esther’s cake but have never attempted it.

    Me too! me too! on the recipe organizing party.
    Love this post!


  3. P.S. I just had to add that you surely are with it. October is Cookbook Month 🙂


  4. Posted by Krista on November 5, 2009 at 9:20 am

    I just found the cookbook section at our local library and checked out a couple of Sandra Lee’s Semi-Homeade books (surely the only way this sister of yours can figure out how to cook). She has some good ideas in there and I love that half of the ingredients are already ready. Can’t wait to try a few and I thought it was such a neat idea that they have this section at the library – you can always just copy any recipes you like before returning the books.


    • Posted by Kerri on November 5, 2009 at 10:56 am

      That is a great tip. I never thought to check the library. What a great way to try out things.

      Sandra Lee has great tips on using some pre-made things and it stills looks and tastes homemade. Miss Em likes to watch her show on the Food Network 🙂 Thanks for sharing!


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