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Every once in awhile, I will catch the Today Show segment called "Steals and Deals", where Jill Martin highlights great deals from manufacturers at huge discounts, good for 24 hours only. In the past, I have gotten some terrific bargains on Christmas gifts for family members on jewelry and health and beauty items.
A few weeks ago Random House had a fantastic deal on several sets of three cookbooks from celebrity chefs. They had sets from Lidia Bastianich, Bobby Flay, Tyler Florence and Martha Stewart. The deal was three books for just $21, which really is a steal.
I chose the Martha Stewart Living Everyday cookbook set, which had Everyday Food Light, Everyday Food Great Food Fast, and Everyday Food Fresh Flavor Fast. I used to pick up the Everyday Food magazine once in a while because the recipes were usually pretty easy to make and used fresh ingredients that I generally had on hand.
Everyday Food Light features recipes all under 500 calories, and I like how the book starts with tips on poaching, steaming, and stir-frying, along with lists of what herbs work best for each style of cooking. The calorie counts are printed in big numbers right on the photo page for each recipe. The recipes are separated by season, which I always find helpful. I turned right to the Fall section and found several recipes to try, including:
- Butternut Bisque (117 calories)
- Roast Chicken with Pears (421 calories)
- Chicken Cacciatore (212 calories)
- Braised Chicken with Mushrooms and Oven-Baked Polenta (30 minutes prep time)
- Steak and Onion Sandwiches (20 minutes prep time)
- Pork Chops with Apples and Shallots (30 minutes prep time)
Everyday Food Fresh Flavor Fast has 250 recipes in the book, which divides the book into categories like Breakfast, Appetizers, Pasta, Desserts. The end of the book has helpful tips with lots of photos on Chopping Onions, Peeling Ginger, and Softening Brown Sugar. Again, the nutritional information is indexed instead of with the recipe. I'm going to try:
- Roast Beef with Peppers, Onions, and Potatoes
- Warm Spinach Salad with Poached Eggs
- Mexican Ice Cream Sundaes with Cinnamon-Chocolate Sauce
All of these recipes are pretty basic, they don't require a lot of technical skill, making these books great gifts for people just starting out on their own. I also like that each recipe has a glossy photo so you know what your final dish should (sort of) look like.
The Steals and Deals website is here.