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I've been in love with her blog for awhile, but this cookbook is amazing. I've book marked so many new recipes to try - I've actually saved so much in the last few months on food cooking solely from her blog and this book.
I'm a big fan of her blog (One pot beef & mushroom stroganoff, teriyaki salmon, etc.) and I'd been wanting to buy her book for some time. I finally clicked "add to cart" this year.
When I received it, I had one little disappointment: there are few pictures illustrating the recipes. I do like a visual when cooking. Plus, every recipe on her blog has step-by-step pictures. It's pretty minor, but it was a disappointment.
Excluding that, the book is really good. I've made four recipes from it and it didn't disappoint. They're simple, easy, delicious and nutritious. They are made for a novice cook. In two hours, I've had time to make two recipes and wash dishes. So students who have little to no time to cook, this is for you.
Also, the ingredients are all pretty easy to find. If she uses ingredients that are not easily available, she sometimes suggests substitutes. For e.g., fettuccine noodles instead of lo mein noodles. I live in a remote area where there are no Asian stores (unfortunately) so I appreciate these little notes.
I hate wasting money on food. I kept pinning Budget Bytes Recipes on Pinterest and made a few of the recipes because the ingredients were things I already had in my kitchen. Then I found Beth's blog and book so I immediately reserved it at the library. Once I had the book, everything Beth talked about in the first chapter resonated with me; trying to save money but still eat delicious food, the lost art of cooking on my generation, the "need for basic cooking instructions" and so many recipes I wanted to make. After a month, I had to buy the book. She budgets each recipe down to the penny. I needed a basic cookbook to save money but still make delicious up to date meals with simple basic ingredients. She rates each meal with a dollar sign for cost, 1 ,2 or 3 and then a symbol for freezer friendly meals. There are so many delicious recipes such as Autumn Delight Baked Oatmeal, Naan bread, No-Knead Focaccia, Basic Hummus, Quick Salsa, many dressings, Red Enchilada sauce, Vinaigrette Slaw with Feta, pasta and noodle dishes including Sesame Noodles and Easy Pad Thai. There is a soup chapter which includes, a Better Than Mom's Chili and a Lentil and Sausage Stew recipe. There is so much more including a chapter on meat, poultry and seafood, rice, beans and lentils as well as 10 delicious desserts. I think what I love most is that Budget Bytes has all the delicious take out meals you want but can now afford to make and eat every day at home! Such a great purchase!
While I'm a fairly experienced cook, I find myself running into the problem of not knowing what to make for dinner after work that is good, isn't something I've already made a ton of times and am getting tired of, and doesn't take a lot of time to prepare. I also try to be frugal while also liking to experiment with different flavors and cuisines - I don't enjoy feeling limited by the frugality.
I've known about the Budget Bytes blog for a while and have enjoyed Beth's recipes so much that I ordered this book the day it came out. Now that I have it and am looking through it, I'm excited to find that not only are there a bunch of recipes that aren't already on the blog, but so many of them sound tasty, easy, and generally healthy (though there are some not-so-healthy recipes for when you feel like being not-so-healthy) - while also being reasonably priced, as per the theme of the book and blog. I already picked out three recipes I'm going to try over the next few days: lemon-parmesan pasta with peas, hearty vegetable & barley soup, and one-skillet lasagna. And it isn't just recipes; there is a lot of other helpful info included.
While some of these recipes dip into Asian/Mediterranean/Mexican-style flavors, there isn't anything in here you can't pick up at the average American supermarket. And while a lot of the recipes are simple, they often use ingredients in ways I hadn't considered. There are also some more time-consuming recipes for when you're in the mood to chop a lot of vegetables and so on. But I appreciate that they didn't include "prep time" in the book, because in my experience the prep time listed is never accurate!
I think it's safe to say that if you like the blog, you'll like this book. Even if you've never heard of the blog, there's a good chance you'll like this book if you're looking for some cooking inspiration.
UPDATE 2/17/2014: In the last week or so, I've made a bunch of recipes from this book (including the one for dinner rolls, the first time in my life I've made anything using yeast) and like it even more now. I am so glad I bought it. Great cookbook!