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5.0 out of 5 starsGreat book for new cooks and veteran cooks, too!
Reviewed in the United States on 15 September 2020
I like to cook and have an embarrasingly large collection of cookbooks. While I've cooked some version of most of the recipes included in this book at one time or another, there's plenty of variations and time saving tips for an old cook to learn new tricks. The recipes in this book are simple and delicious with easy to follow instructions. I'm impressed by the wide variety of dishes included, all with only 5 ingredients (one of the ingredients is often one of several multi-ingredient spice blends also included in the book). The author's many variations on tomato soup, omlets and deviled eggs are all worth a try. This book has you covered from breakfast through dinner and dessert. A perfect book for college grads, newlyweds and the kitchen phobic.
5.0 out of 5 starsMaximizes Flavor; Reduces Time, Spend, and Angst
Reviewed in the United States on 21 April 2020
I love food, but cooking can exhaust me. Accordingly, I find "The Quick and Easy 5-Ingredient Cookbook" to be a godsend. While focusing on minimizing ingredients and time, these recipes deliver huge flavor while also curbing spend and angst.
Take, for example, "Taco Soup," an idiot-proof recipe that winds up in one vessel, leverages each food group, and marries the rich evocations of yesteryear cooking with brilliantly updated ingredients and aspirational new flavors.
I'm elated to have what amounts to an extremely practical, go-to cookbook. - (Was this review of use to you? If so, let me know by clicking "Helpful." Cheers!)
5.0 out of 5 starsQuick Homemade Meals For Beginners & Others . . . .
Reviewed in the United States on 6 April 2020
This cookbook would make a most excellent gift for someone who is just starting off cooking for themselves, or for someone you are trying to encourage to cook for themselves; either because you are tired of cooking for them, or you want them to break their fast food addiction. Besides the simple type recipes, Eileen Kelly includes all types of food tips about buying, storing, measuring, freezing, defrosting, leftovers, etc. (Her advice about how long refrigerated leftovers can be eaten is a bit on the super safe side, however.:)
Plus, there are instructions on how to make your own seasoned salt, basil pesto, house salad dressing, homemade dijonnaise and brown sugar-soy sauce. I'm definitely going to try that last one because all my homemade soy or teriyaki sauce concoctions are never very good; and all the ones online have too many ingredients I don't have. In addition, I'm definitely going to try the sheet pan french toast that you make in the oven. While the book has some vegan and vegetarian main courses, there are a lot of meat ones, too. (So, anyone who is offended by meat eating probably wouldn't embrace this book.)
Ms. Kelly has organized the recipes and everything else is a very clear, uncluttered way. Pictures are limited, but I'm not sure why cooks even need pictures. Maybe it's a psychological thing or something. The food is going to look like whatever it's going to look like when you finish anyway. Now, the one thing I thought was missing in this book were instructions on how to peel a boiled egg. Strange, since I'm sure Ms. Kelly must realize there are those beginner cooks who have no idea how to peel an egg. Even experienced cooks can have problems peeling eggs. Also, deviled eggs only last two days in the fridge? Yes, they are usually gobbled down within two days, but, if by some miracle there are still some left, they can be quite good and safe to eat after two days, in my less cautious opinion.
I have a couple of different cookbooks that are marketed as collections of recipes that require 5 or less ingredients, and the result of these recipes is often disappointing. I was hopeful that this collection would fare better. In one sense it does and the recipes I have tried have turned out reasonably well. However, there is some creative counting going on here.
I will start by saying that this is a relatively small collection of recipes, approximately 60 recipes total. If you are looking for a large collection of quick and easy recipes, this isn’t it.
One of the things that has always bothered me about the Joy of Cooking is that it is filled with recipes that are based on other recipes which in turn are based on still more. As a result you end up making things going 2-4 recipes deep to get what you want. This cookbook does some of that too, and it lists the result of one recipe as one single ingredient. More obvious is that some ingredients like salt, pepper and butter aren’t counted at all. Why not? This might be a relatively minor complaint but the collection claims 5 ingredients, not 5 main ingredients plus 2-3 more that “don’t count”.
Creative math aside, this is a reasonable collection broken down into several chapters: quick dinners, breakfasts, soups/salads, vegan/vegetarian main dishes, poultry/seafood, beef/pork, snacks/side dishes, desserts, and finally spice blends. I have not tried too many of these but those I have tried have turned out well and I have earmarked a few others. Each recipe is clearly labeled with special attributes of the recipe – vegan, freezer-friendly, gluten-free, etc., which is helpful for those looking for special preparation styles or have dietary restrictions.
This is not a bad collection but the creative counting methods are deceptive. In many cases, “five” means 8-10. This is a marketing issue, and the cookbook would have been better marketed as a collection of simply and easy-to-prepare recipes instead.
4.0 out of 5 starsNeeds pictures of recipes and to be spiral bound.
Reviewed in the United States on 16 June 2020
Pros? Recipes have pretty basic ingredients. The directions are simple. There are tips and tricks included. The recipes sound good just reading them.
Meh--there is a short list of ingredients that they say don't count towards the five (nonstick cooking spray, butter, olive oil, salt, pepper, and water), and I have no problem with that but some might, so that's neither a pro nor a con.
Cons? The recipes need photos--we eat with our eyes, too, and that makes recipes look more appealing. I like to flip through a book and stop at a delicious-looking recipe. I had got this to hopefully interest my kids in cooking more, but they were bored with all words (yes I know there are kids cookbooks but I was hoping to kill two birds with one stone). I would love to see this book with a spiral binder so you could leave it open on the counter.
I can see how this book, which uses many shortcuts (frozen veggies, canned beans, seasoned salt) and limits each to recipe to five ingredients, apart from salt, pepper, butter and other seasonings, will really appeal to harried working people and especially working parents. But I'm someone who loves to shop the farmers markets and now, in the midst of the coronavirus quarantine, has been ordering farm boxes with fresh produce. I also don't eat meat. So I'm not really the target market for this book.
That said, I can see how I might adapt some of the recipes for my cooking style--substituting fresh veggies for frozen and beans cooked from dry for the canned ones.
If you're looking for shortcuts to tasty meals, this may be a good bet. If you're more like me, you might want to explore something a little less basic.
4.0 out of 5 starsPerfect Meals for College Students
Reviewed in the United States on 8 April 2020
What do I like?
College students do not have a lot of time nor money to cook meals for themselves. When I look at most recipes, I say “There is no way I am going to go buy all of those ingredients.” This cookbook is perfect for students like me. The recipes are easy to make and do not require a lot of baking and cooking supplies. There is a wide variety of meals in the book also.
What I dislike?
If I had one suggestion, it would be to add a picture with every recipe. At the beginning of each chapter, there are some pictures, but I would prefer a picture with every recipe so I know what the meal looks like.
Is the price justified?
For $10, I do not think you can go wrong. If my opinion changes in the future, I will update this review.