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The recipes I have made are good so far. The book is budget friendly so it does have limits to make sure each meal is reasonable priced. Over all it's good, would of liked a few more main meal recipes.
I really wanted to like this cookbook as I love Lisa’s other two books, but unfortunately this one is a total disappointment. Her “budget” isn’t really practical for most people hoping to reduce their grocery budget. For instance, her recipe for sheet pan Brussels sprouts and potatoes comes in at $12.27 just for a side dish. She recommends serving it with simple seafood from her first book. It doesn’t include the cost but I’m sure that’s would come in at over $20 for the whole meal. Her breakfast smoothie bowl has a cost of $3.46 per serving. So choosing just those two meals for a family of four would cost almost $35 and we haven’t eaten lunch. Another recipe for simple walnut crusted salmon costs $15.87. This is just for the main dish. Most people cooking on a budget can’t really afford wild caught salmon at $10 per pound. And then you still have to add side dishes. She also recommends growing your own fresh herbs which is great in theory but in the winter, you would still have to buy them, adding significantly to the cost. Unfortunately I think this book is really out of touch with cooking on a budget.
The title says "on a budget" and the author says she followed $125 grocery budget each week. Each breakfast, lunch, and dinner is around $15, so $45/ day for a family of 4 to eat home-cooked meals. Then she suggest adding sides that are not listed in the price, so another $2 worth of broccoli/rice, etc., at dinner, and at least $2 for the nuts and fruits pictured but not listed in her lunch recipes. Then she lists "leftovers" as a meal in her meal plan. My family would not have leftovers from 1 lbs of meatballs, so that's ridiculous. I would be spending $350 /week to follow this "budget" cookbook. I am regretting this purchase. Even if I only did $15 dinners, that leaves $20 for breakfast, lunch, and snacks for 4 people for a week, based on the author's budget. This is not a budget-friendly cookbook.
I have been a fan of Lisa's for awhile now. I have ordered numerous copies of her books for myself and to give to friends. This one is perhaps my very favorite. Every single recipe we've tried has been fantastic. I'm looking through the book while I write this. Favorite breakfast: Budget Granola. Just so, so good. I'm never buying granola again.
Favorite lunches for kids and adults: Pimento Mac and Cheese (I can't stop raving about this one!) and Deconstructed Spring Roll Bowls. Favorite side/salad: Zucchini and Feta Fritters.
Too many favorite dinners to name all of them, but my kids went bananas over the "Fast-Food" Chicken Nuggets and the Quick and Easy Fried Rice is my new go-to.
And there's a chapter on Slow Cooker recipes. SO helpful. I use my slow cooker several times a week and I've loved the Cuban Pork and the chicken recipes we've tried so far.
We've tried a few of the desserts and decided the Blueberry Lemon Cheesecake is probably the best cheesecake recipe we've ever tried.
I've made all of the recipes from the Homemade Staples chapter and the The Best-Ever Steak Butter really IS the best. I've been making big batches of it and keeping it my freezer - not just for steaks! It's great on veggies too.
Lisa has a knack for salad dressings. I will never buy store-bought dressings again. Between the three books, all of the bases are covered.
Besides the great recipes, I've really appreciate the time and effort that's gone into the budget stuff as well as labeling the recipes for food preferences and allergies. I'm a very visual person and I love the way the book is laid out and the charts and diagrams included. Like I said, this is my favorite of all three - all of which I love and use on a regular basis.