From Hetty McKinnon's Family to Now & Again by Julia Turshen, here's what we have on our shelves.

By Bridget Hallinan
April 13, 2020
Each product we feature has been independently selected and reviewed by our editorial team. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.
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Ideal weeknight recipes are unfussy, quick, and come with a relatively short ingredient list. After all, the last thing anyone feels like doing after work is spending a few more hours of work on dinner. When we're in a pinch, there are a few cookbooks our editors lean on for meals that are fast, but still delicious and exciting—one swears by Cooking for Jeffrey by Ina Garten, and another has a few staples she loves from Just Cook It! by Food & Wine's own Culinary Director-at-Large, Justin Chapple. In this roundup, we've compiled 15 of them, so you can add them to your shelves as well. Read on for the full spread.

Credit: Courtesy of Barnes & Noble

Family: New Vegetarian Comfort Food to Nourish Every Day

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"I love that it's vegetable-centric but isn't just a bunch of ho-hum salads and grain bowls. Hetty's like, the queen of exciting salads. My absolute favorite recipe from the book is the tomato and walnut pesto, which I'll whip up and put on pasta, toast, eggs, you name it..."–Oset Babür, associate restaurant editor

Family: New Vegetarian Comfort Food to Nourish Every Day by Hetty McKinnon, $26 (was $35) at amazon.com

Keepers: Two Home Cooks Share Their Tried-and-True Weeknight Recipes and the Secrets to Happiness in the Kitchen

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"Written by two former Saveur editors, Keepers became an immediate favorite of mine when it was published in 2013, and has remained one of my most frequently-used cookbooks over the past seven years. The book’s organizing principle is simple: these are the recipes that the writers (both food magazine editors and parents of young children) considered “keepers”—dependable, delicious recipes that could be made on a weeknight and were good enough to make over and over again. The 120 dishes are work night- and kid-friendly, use ingredients that you probably already have in the fridge (or can get without any trouble), but are still deeply delicious and interesting enough to hold an adult’s interest. (I keep Keepers’ fragrant, brothy Japanese-style stew of ginger, brown sugar, and soy sauce-laced ground beef and root vegetables; and chicken thighs in a zippy lemon, garlic, and smoked paprika marinade, on heavy rotation)." –Karen Shimizu, executive editor

Keepers: Two Home Cooks Share Their Tried-and-True Weeknight Recipes and the Secrets to Happiness in the Kitchen by Kathy Brennan and Caroline Campion, $27 at amazon.com

Just Cook It!: 145 Built-to-Be-Easy Recipes That Are Totally Delicious

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"I'm not just saying I love his cookbook because he's a friend and colleague; I really do love it and I've got the stains in my book to prove it! Justin is the master of super quick recipes, relying on only a few smart ingredients, that taste like so much more than the sum of their parts. His shaved cauliflower & radicchio salad with yogurt caesar is now a staple in my fridge, and his roasted chicken legs with sourdough bread and poblanos sets the standard for sheet pan meals (and you can assemble it the night before!)." –Kelsey Youngman, associate food editor

Just Cook It!: 145 Built-to-Be-Easy Recipes That Are Totally Delicious by Justin Chapple, $20 at amazon.com

Now & Again: Go-To Recipes, Inspired Menus + Endless Ideas for Reinventing Leftovers

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"I love the way Julia plans out menus, so you know exactly how to pair each dish, and when to prep each component. But hands down, the best part is the way she reinvents each meal's leftovers—roasted chicken becomes chicken salad, stuffed mushrooms show up again in penne ai fungi, and a ricotta frittata becomes sandwiches." –Caroline Schnapp, audience engagement editor

Now & Again: Go-To Recipes, Inspired Menus + Endless Ideas for Reinventing Leftovers by Julia Turshen, $23 at amazon.com

Canal House: Cook Something: Recipes to Rely On

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"Hirsheimer and Hamilton are the patron saints of simple home cooking. I rely on them for simple, but delicious ideas for dinner, and plenty of hard-won kitchen wisdom. Recipes veer toward country-style French/Italian, with many ideas for dinner-friendly eggs (with chorizo, with asparagus, with mushrooms), lots of tasty things to spread on toast for a quick meal (tuna and lemony mayo, blue cheese butter), and long-simmering things that make the kitchen smell wonderful (cinnamon and chile-rubbed brisket, vinegar-braised chicken)." –Adina Steiman, deputy digital editor 

Canal House: Cook Something: Recipes to Rely On by Melissa Hamilton and Christopher Hirsheimer, $24 at amazon.com

Cooking for Jeffrey: A Barefoot Contessa Cookbook

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"Ina Garten’s Cooking for Jeffrey is a classic, filled with approachable recipes that are simple enough to make on a weeknight but still have pizzazz, like maple-roasted carrot salad and butternut squash and ricotta bruschettas." –Nina Friend, assistant editor

Cooking for Jeffrey: A Barefoot Contessa Cookbook by Ina Garten, $20 (was $35) at amazon.com

Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook: Stories and Recipes for Southerners and Would-be Southerners

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"When my first extremely stained-up copy of The Lee Bros. paean to Southern cooking was lost in an apartment flood, I couldn't stand to chuck it in the trash. It had seen me through countless meals of collard greens, country captain, chicken and dumplings, corn cob wine, and watermelon rind preserves, with solid weeknight basics and Sunday flourishes that added an extra octave to my range, and it deserved a more dignified method of dispatch. I dried it out, lit the grill, and gave it a Viking funeral. Then I made biscuits." –Kat Kinsman, senior editor 

The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook: Stories and Recipes for Southerners and Would-be Southerners by Matt Lee and Ted Lee, $35 at amazon.com

Good and Cheap: Eat Well on $4/Day

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"Brown wrote this cookbook for people living on the US food stamp allotment of $4/day, but it's a friendly, practical, unfussy guide for anyone learning how to cook or trying to stretch out their pantry staples. As I've pivoted from my usual frequent small grocery trips to larger, rarer ones, I've found Brown's advice on how to map out your food usage invaluable, and have sent along her book, which is available as a free PDF on her website, to many friends." –Margaret Eby, senior editor 

Good and Cheap: Eat Well on $4/Day by Leanne Brown, $17 at amazon.com

Let's Stay In: More than 120 Recipes to Nourish the People You Love 

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"I don’t usually do a ton of recipe-based cooking on the weeknights, and save those projects for weekends so I can have leftovers ready for the week. However, I have found that Let’s Stay In by Ashley Rodriguez—the blogger behind Not Without Salt—has a ton of quick recipes to offer, from salads like arugula with crispy prosciutto, lime vinaigrette, and feta to a very flavorful sheet pan meat loaf with roasted vegetables we’ve now relied on several times. (I once made the latter while in the throes of the flu, and it made me feel a teensy bit better—swap in some pre-cut vegetables if you want to shave off more time.) Throughout the book, you’ll also find snacks (I love the vanilla and cardamom candied almonds and kimchi cheese dip), as well as advice for all sorts of cooking scenarios, like recipe-less weeknight dinners and eating alone, too." –Bridget Hallinan, digital reporter 

Let's Stay In: More than 120 Recipes to Nourish the People You Love by Ashley Rodriguez, $28 at amazon.com

Open Kitchen: Inspired Food for Casual Gatherings

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"I fell in love with this book while previewing it for our March issue; by the time I finished, more than half of the pages were flagged with sticky notes scribbled with messages like "YES!" and "MUST MAKE!" Susan's food is STUNNING (she's a food stylist, so beauty is the name of her game) but more than that, her food manages to be aspirational AND achievable at the same time. When dishes are more complicated, she offers smart make-ahead tips and shortcuts, giving you a lift when you need it." –Josh Miller, food editor

Open Kitchen: Inspired Food for Casual Gatherings by Susan Spungen, $31.50 (was $35) at amazon.com

Bistro Cooking

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"I've had the same copy of Patricia Wells' Bistro Cooking since I picked it up in the mid-1990s. It's battered and stained and a couple of the pages are falling out, but that's testimony to how often I've cooked from it. Who knows if the bistros she sourced from are still in existence, but the recipes are timeless: chicken fricassee with mushrooms, leg of lamb roasted over a potato, onion and tomato gratin, a salad from Lyon with bacon lardons and finely minced garlic...the list goes on. All are eminently do-able, delicious, and also don't typically call for esoteric ingredients, just the everyday ones you'd find in a French country kitchen. You won't regret owning it." –Ray Isle, executive wine editor 

Bistro Cooking by Patricia Wells, $26 at amazon.com

How to Dress an Egg: Surprising and Simple Ways to Cook Dinner 

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"Ned Baldwin is a low-key brilliant home cook who moonlights as a chef- restaurateur at his Houseman in New York City. His simple and understated new book, How to Dress an Egg, written with Peter Kaminsky, teaches basic concepts like mastering roast chicken or pork shoulder pot roast and then details how to dress them up with additional flavors and accoutrements. One cool thing I learned from Ned is to use the heat from the deck of my electric oven for crisping and searing by placing skillets of skin side down fish or chicken or vegetables directly on the bottom of the oven. Simply put, Baldwin’s is a chef cookbook better suited for the kitchen than coffee table." –Hunter Lewis, editor in chief

How to Dress an Egg: Surprising and Simple Ways to Cook Dinner by Ned Baldwin and Peter Kaminsky, $26 at amazon.com

Chrissy Teigen's Cookbooks

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"In my opinion, there is no celebrity that has made as legitimate of a foray into the food world as Chrissy Teigen. She is a true home cook, and dinner at her house always looks really fun. Whenever I am in a cooking rut and need something fun, I break out my copies of Teigen’s cookbooks (Cravings and Cravings: Hungry For More). Unlike more froufrou cookbooks that call for challenging and time-consuming techniques or recipes that have 17 sub-recipes, Teigen’s books are much more accessible, but have just enough challenges that it keeps more advanced cooks happy. Her recipes are best described as dinner party food, but for weeknights. Personal staples from her books include Teigen’s parmesan minestrone, blueberry cream cheese pancakes, and lemony cacio e pepe with arugula." –Khushbu Shah, restaurant editor

Cravings: Recipes for All the Food You Want to Eat by Chrissy Teigen and Adeena Sussman, $18 (was $30) at amazon.com

Cravings: Hungry for More by Chrissy Teigen and Adeena Sussman, $22 (was $30) at amazon.com

Good Food, Good Life: 130 Simple Recipes You'll Love to Make and Eat

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"My fiancé and I love a good steak or burger, and as much as we've tried a hearty salad to suffice for dinner, it will never quite satisfy. I often turn to Curtis Stone's Good Food, Good Life for simple sides and meat-forward mains like lamb and pork chops, porcini-braised beef, and penne with sausage and broccoli rabe. Tons of the recipes work for leftovers, which is key for supplementing lunch the following day (or quesadillas, always)." –Megan Soll, associate digital editor

Good Food, Good Life: 130 Simple Recipes You'll Love to Make and Eat by Curtis Stone, $30 at amazon.com