Cookbooks That I Always Reach For + Favorite Recipes!

I’ve always had a “thing” for cookbooks. Doesn’t matter that there was a time when I could barely cook a decent meal. Cookbooks are great reference guides, and I think we all can agree that they look pretty darn cute as kitchen decor. In the last year or so – pretty much right around the time that I acknowledged my negative body image issues – I’ve really developed an enjoyment for cooking. Maybe even more so than baking, which always had been my first love in the kitchen. It’s so fun to try new recipes, share them with Ryan (who makes me feel like I’m the next Barefoot Contessa with the compliments he gives), and know that even if it’s not a recipe with the healthiest ingredients it’s still better than eating out! I’m giving you a peek inside my kitchen brain with the cookbooks that I always reach for – most by the same author! – as well as my favorite recipes from each.

Cookbooks That I Always Reach For + Favorite Recipes

*underlined cookbook titles will take you to Amazon links!

Heart of the Home: Notes From A Vineyard Kitchen by Susan Branch

If you’re not familiar with Susan Branch, you’re missing out. My mom always has been a fan of her, and over the years I’ve grown to appreciate the unique life that she lives. My personal copy of this cookbook holds a special place in my heart because my mom was able to get a signed copy for me. All the recipes in here are classic, comfort food recipes – many that we all grew up loving. You can’t go wrong!
Favorite recipe: Macaroni & Cheese (p. 104)

Magnolia Table by Joanna Gaines

This is the newest cookbook in my collection, but it quickly has become essential. I’m still so surprised by how easy and approachable all of Joanna’s recipes are! Not to mention the photography and entire presentation of the cookbook is right up my alley.
Favorite recipes: Grilled Havarti, Tomato & Basil Sandwiches (pg. 91); Sour Cream Enchiladas (pg. 193, also mentioned here)

The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Come and Get It! by Ree Drummond

Who doesn’t love Ree Drummond?! I mean, I even watch her Food Network show when I’m at the gym (sick form of self-torture). In my opinion, this is the most user-friendly cookbook of hers yet. I don’t always have the patience for the prep time, so I really appreciate the chapters dedicated to 20 and 40 minutes or less meals.
Favorite recipes: Pepperoni Chicken (pg. 152); Slow Cooker Spaghetti Sauce (pg. 169)

Cookbooks That I Always Reach For

The Skinnytaste Cookbook: Light on Calories, Big on Flavor by Gina Homolka

I have the blogging community to thank for introducing me to Gina and her recipes. It’s always nice to find healthy alternatives to already-favorite foods/meals.
Favorite recipe: Skinny Chicken Parmesan (pg. 177)

Skinnytaste Fast and Slow by Gina Homolka

No surprise here that I love the above-mention-ed’s sequel! Give me healthy, quick recipes any day. Bonus points if I can throw it in the slow cooker and forget about it until dinnertime.
Favorite recipe: Slow Cooker Chicken Burrito Bowls (pg. 93); Pizza-Stuffed Chicken Roll-Ups (pg. 157)

The Pioneer Woman Cooks: A Year of Holidays by Ree Drummond

While this isn’t one that I reach for on the regular, it’s basically the ultimate guide to food for any and all holidays/special occasions. I’ve made at least one dish from this book for every gathering that I’ve hosted in our home the last few years!
Favorite recipes: Perfect Mashed Potatoes (pg. 254)

What are some of your favorite cookbooks and recipes?

Leave a Comment


  1. 1.28.19
    Jamie said:

    There is nothing like a good, well worn, notes in the margin cookbook. I have lately been depending on google for my recipes but you’re reminding me of the beauty of having the physical recipe in front of me. <3 Jamie

    • 1.28.19

      I used to be so anti-writing in the cookbook, but that’s what makes it so well-loved. Plus, then when I pass recipes onto others I can pass on any of my own notes! Nothing beats a traditional recipe from a hardcover cookbook. 🙂

  2. 1.28.19

    This post just made my day because I absolutely LOVE cookbooks! I don’t use them as much as I probably should, but they always have the prettiest pictures and, for some reason, having cookbooks in my kitchen makes me feel like I know what I’m doing in life haha!

    • 1.28.19

      Lol, that is SO true! I feel like more of an accomplished cook than I really am with my cookbooks around. 😉

  3. 1.28.19
    Jessica said:

    LOVE a good cookbook and I really need to start cooking more 🙂 I’m going to have to snag these cookbooks and start making some memories in the kitchen!
    Thank you for always stopping by! xo, Jessica || The Petite Diaries

  4. 1.28.19

    I’m obsessed with cookbooks! Love Skinnytaste!

  5. 1.28.19

    Cookbooks always add some style to the kitchen! Great suggestions! ❤

    Jessica | New post:

  6. 1.28.19
    Biana Perez said:

    I actually don’t have any of these so that has to change! I really love Giada’s cookbooks – I have 3!

    • 1.28.19

      I think I actually have one of hers packed away in a box somewhere … now I need to go find it. Thanks for the reminder!

  7. 1.28.19
    Debra Stachelski said:

    These are some of my favorite cookbooks as well (although I don’t cook as much as I should!) An oldie but a goodie and an excellent cookbook that I reach for again and again is The Fannie Farmer Cookbook – just very basic, classic recipes. Happy cooking!

    • 1.28.19

      I’ve heard you mention that cookbook before – I’ll have to flip through it next time we’re together!

  8. 1.28.19

    Okay, I LOVE Ree too! I need to get the Skinny Taste one. I use her website a lot.

    Amy Ann
    Straight A Style

  9. 1.28.19
    Amanda said:

    Looooving your hair style here!!

  10. 1.28.19

    I totally agree with you about the Skinnytaste cookbooks and I can’t wait for her new one to come out! We also got the Joanna Gaines cookbook and so far we’ve only tried the Shepard’s Pie but it was so good! I want to try some of the Pioneer Woman cookbooks too!

    • 1.28.19

      There’s like zero health benefit to the Pioneer Woman cookbooks, but oh well! Ha! Her recipes are so delicious. The new Skinnytaste cookbook has me wondering if I finally should get an Instant Pot!

  11. 1.28.19
    Ashley said:

    I have a serious cookbook addiction! The Magnolia Table one is on my list. I’ve heard the banana bread recipe is to die for!