Cookbook Roundup: Feeding the Family

When things are going as planned at home, I cook five or six nights per week (all bets are off during baseball season!). Because I’m cooking a good 300 nights a year, roughly, I am always looking for inspiration in the kitchen, particularly in the form of that one dish that every family member will eat without complaint. Enter The Mom 100 Cookbook, a lifesaver for any busy mom looking to break out of her rut in the kitchen (I tend to rely very heavily on chicken sausage and pasta when I need to punt). Workman has compiled 100 recipes spanning breakfast through dinner, vegetables, brunches, potlucks, and desserts, as well as practical tips, like allowing kids to customize their meals in order to increase the likelihood they’ll try something new (Sesame Noodles, p. 183). The recipes are unfussy and easy to follow, and I like that they aren’t dumbed-down for kids or try to hide vegetables in places where veggies don’t belong — I am a firm believer that vegetables should be taken on their own terms. Our favorites so far have been the Fresh Mozza­rella Pasta Casserole (p. 176-77) and the Cheesy Chicken Enchiladas (p. 164-67); I soon plan to try the Cheesy Rice with Broccoli (p. 246) and the Big Batch Turkey Meat Sauce with Ziti (p. 178). — Melanie Haupt


AdvertisementOne of my favorite family cookbooks is Dinner: A Love Story by Jenny Rosenstrach. As a book nerd, I have to say that I love the design and photography as well as the writing and recipes. Rosenstrach started Dinner: A Love Story as a blog, but of the many food blogs that I’m gratified to see in print, this one is tops.Two of my family’s favorite recipes are Pork Ragu and Anna’s Sausage, Bean and Kale Stew. My 8-year-old daughter can hoover down the Kale Stew, and I served the Pork Ragu to some friends with teenage boys: One of the boys declared it the “best pasta ever,” and the other wasn’t expected to eat any of it because he’s on a medication making him not very hungry until late at night – he had seconds. Every recipe I’ve tried has been spot on. One thing I relate to is Rosenstrach’s honest portrayal of going from being a working professional who loved to host dinners for friends to a parent with small children, which throws everything for a loop for a little while. She writes knowledgeably about trying to reincorporate the entertaining part of yourself back into your family life. — Shannon Oelrich



My go-to family-friendly cookbook is The Vegetarian Mother’s Cookbook. I first stumbled on it when I was pregnant with my daughter, since I’m a vegetarian and wanted to make sure I was getting the nutrition I needed, notwithstanding the fact that I don’t eat meat. The book is geared toward pregnant and breastfeeding mothers and their families, but I still use it now, even though I am neither, since it has tons of delicious and easy recipes with an eye toward the nutrition that hungry mamas and growing bodies need. There are plenty of freezer-ready meals perfect for stocking up for a rainy day (whether or not you’re expecting a baby), and there is a wealth of nutrition information contained in the book. My favorite recipes are for a high-protein breakfast porridge made with amaranth, quinoa and millet, and a vegetarian shepherd’s pie, which subs lentils for the more traditional ground beef or lamb. I know it sounds weird, but even my omnivore husband devours it, claiming it’s better than the original! — Lauren Walz

Catherine Prystup
About Catherine Prystup 2157 Articles
Catherine Prystup founded out of a desire to build a better community for Austin-area moms. She has three children, ages seventeen, eight and three years old.