Reviewed by Ambrea
I decided to read Dinner Made Simple by Real Simple, a cookbook which shares the same name as the magazine, and I was pleasantly surprised by what I found. Okay, so I know you can’t really “read” a cookbook in the traditional sense; however, I can say with confidence that I looked at every single page in this book and I examined all the recipes, checking it out from cover to cover and even tested some of the recipes. It has been thoroughly read.
And I loved it.
Now, let me tell you why:
One, I loved the pictures. They were bright and really very lovely, showing how a dish should look. Granted, reality is never going to be as pretty as the picture (and I will never get the portions just right, because I like to deviate just a little too much), but I think the book does a fine job of showing readers and would-be chefs how to prepare a dish—and then helping you achieve those results.
Two, I adored the fact that the book had an index; in fact, it has two. One is similar to a table of contents, which shows you the main ingredient of each recipe in alphabetical order, followed by an easy-to-read table that shows you what’s vegetarian, what’s vegan, and what’s family friendly (read: what’s good for picky kids), what’s gluten free, and more. Moreover, it goes on to tell you all the nutritional information and it helps you make healthy choices. It’s a very handy resource when looking for a way to lose weight and still have delicious recipes.
Three, I liked that it has good food that’s easy to make within an hour or less. Most of the recipes only take 30 minutes, and that’s including prep time and baking, which I absolutely loved. As the subtitle suggests, it has “easy recipes” that are loaded with simple but wholesome ingredients and easy-to-read recipes that make cooking so much less of a chore.
For instance, I liked that I could literally reach into my cupboard and cobble together a delicious meal in just an hour after work. I tried the Shepherd’s Pie (which was pretty delicious), the garlic rolls (equally delicious, but I added some mozzarella cheese and I think it could have used more butter and parsley), and the sausage broccoli calzones (or, more accurately, I took the recipe and made it my own with Italian sausage, spinach, pepperoni, mozzarella cheese, and a little bit of parmesan cheese).
All the recipes I tried turned out delicious, and they were seriously some of the easiest meals I made throughout my week. Moreover, I liked that it had such variety. I found recipes I loved, and then if I didn’t like the recipe I found next, I simply didn’t make it. There are more than 350 recipes that range from gluten-free to Vegan with a splattering of other healthy choices in between decadent recipes like Salted Caramel Cupcakes and Hot Chocolate Cupcakes with Marshmallow Frosting, so there’s bound to be something for everyone.