Every mom needs an arsenal of weeknight dinner recipes to help her get meals on the table on even the busiest, deadline-filled days. So we asked Katie Workman, mom, blogger and author of The Mom 100 Cookbook: 100 Recipes Every Mom Needs in Her Back Pocket for her top new cookbook recommendations. Check out her eclectic list of must-have titles -- and pick one up for the mom in your life (or, you know, yourself).
1. Real Simple: Easy, Delicious Home Cooking: 250 Recipes for Every Season and Occasion. Edited by Allie Lewis Clapp, Lygeia Grace, and Candy Gianetti
Appealing recipes with short ingredient lists, simple dirctions and lovely photography make this an approachable, weeknight-workhorse cookbook. Recipes are arranged by season, and -- thankfully -- most can be whipped up in 30 minutes or less.
2. The Dinnertime Survival Cookbook: Delicious Inspiring Meals for Busy Families by Deborah Ponzek with Mary Goodbody
Deborah Ponzek is an extremely talented chef who knows how to translate her culinary talents to a home kitchen. Her food is filled with bright, bold, comforting flavors, and she has a knack for combining simple ingredients into sophisticated dishes. This book will become one to reach for over and over again.
3. Dinner: A Love Story by Jenny Rosenstrach
Inspired by her much-loved blog by the same name, Rosenstrach's cookbook is more than a collection of delightful recipes -- it's an engaging story underscoring the importance of family dinners. Bon Appetit said, "She inspires you to stop just talking about dinner and start making it." I couldn't agree more.
4. The Smitten Kitchen by Deb Perelman
Another entry from one of the most popular food bloggers out there, Perelman's recipes are of the I-can't-wait-to-make-this variety -- with gorgeous photos to support the yearning. The recipes are classic and modern at the same time, with lovely and clever twists on comfort food-esque dishes. And Deb is a mother, and so she weaves tales of feeding her young son into the mix. I have a visceral attraction to the titles of her recipes, which consist of itmes like Apple Cider Caramels and Harvest Roast Chicken with Olives and Grapes.
5. Jerusalem: A Cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi
Ottolenghi's melting-pot food is beautiful and appealing, and this award-winning book is inspiring. Middle Eastern/Mediterranean dishes like Roasted Cauliflower Salad with Celery, Hazelnuts and Pomegranate reinforce the idea that we also eat with our eyes. Many of the dishes, though certainly not all, are weeknight friendly, and it's worth noting that you may have to work to find a few of the more esoteric ingredients. So, no, not everything is fast and easy -- but this falls squarely into the category of worth the effort.
6. What’s For Dinner? Delicious Recipes for a Busy Life by Curtis Stone
You may have seen celebrity chef Curtis Stone on Bravo's Top Chef Masters and he certainly knows his way around a professional kitchen. But in this book he tackles cooking at home with attention to saving time and money, and creating wonderful reasons to gather friends and family together for a meal. The recipes are completely enticing, as is the photography, and it's a book that will first make you hungry, and then motivate you to get those dishes on your own table.
7. Foolproof: Recipes You Can Trust by Ina Garten
Foolproof is the latest in the Ina Garten library of completely appealing cookbooks. Her recipes have earned her a ridiculously loyal following for a reason, and the title of this book should be enough to make even a novice mom-cook feel like breaking out the skillet. The recipes are all filled with flavors and ingredients that are easy to love, and Ina guides readers with advice about planning a menu, timing a meal and what you can make in advance. Plus, it's simply beautiful.
8. Bouchon Bakery by Thomas Keller
This one is for the avid baker in your life. Thomas Keller has earned the reputation for being one of the best chefs in the world for excellent reason, and now he is tackling the baked goods category. It's a stunner of a book, gorgeously designed, and filled with photos that make you weepy with desire. The combination of American and French classics make for a rich and personal collection, and Keller never forgets to teach the home cook new techniques while providing extremely detailed recipes.
9. Canal House Cooks Every Day by Christopher Hirsheimer and Melissa Hamilton
The bucolic, seasonal, beautifully food-centric life lived by co-authors Christopher Hirsheimer and Melissa Hamilton may not be exactly like the life most of us moms lead day to day, but we can dream, can't we? And to help us dream (and put a bit of this life on our own tables), they have created a magnificent cookbook with a year's worth of recipes for the home cook, based on (you guessed it) their beautiful blog. The two celebrate the simple pleasure of elegant but unfussy food that reflects what they want to eat at every time of the year. Right now Shaved Asparagus and Arugula Salad with Bruschetta sounds absolutely perfect to me.
10. Weelicious: 140 Fast, Fresh and Easy Recipes by Catherine McCord
McCord is a tireless blogger and trained cook who has turned her love of cooking for her young family into a highly usable and approachable cookbook focused on getting kids to eat happily and healthily. She believes in the one family/one meal idea -- preparing a single, delicious, nutritious meal the entire family can enjoy together. Amen to that.