Friday, June 29, 2012

Taste of Home Cooking School Cookbook Review (Giveaway Closed)


(Taste of Home cover
Have you ever found yourself flipping through a cookbook and thinking, "Ooh, that looks good!"  "I think I have the ingredients to make that one tonight."  "I have to try this!"

That's just how I was when I first received Taste of Home: Cooking School Cookbook.  The 400+ recipes include everything from comfort foods to sophisticated (but easy to prepare) dishes.  It's divided into chapters as most cookbooks are--appetizers, soups, poultry, dessert, etc.--with the addition of a few extras such as Better Than Takeout and Baking.

My family likes to go out to eat, but we also watch our spending and our salt intake.  So I especially enjoyed looking through the Better Than Takeout chapter, which has recipes for restaurant-style dishes that most of us don't cook at home:  Chicago-style stuffed pizza, Pork fried rice, Coconut shrimp with dipping sauce, Gingered pepper steak, Baked egg rolls (I am definitely trying that!), Cashew chicken, and Bean 'n' rice burritos.

Why is this a "Cooking School" cookbook?  The Taste of Home: Cooking School Cookbook also has How To sidebars (how to trim cilantro, how to make chicken stock) and sidebars with Taste of Home Cooking School Secrets (Dumpling Success, Mmm...Meatloaf) or other helpful information (Dress Up Canned Soup).  This book would be a great fit for a novice cook who doesn't need recipes for the most basic dishes, but it's also a great fit for cooks like me.  I enjoy cooking, and especially finding new recipes, but I don't want to make ultra-sophisticated dinners or spend all day in the kitchen.

I really, really like this book.   The only thing I would change is its reliance on convenience foods as ingredients.  In some cases substitution is easy.  For example, I plan to try Zesty Tortilla Soup, for which the ingredients include condensed tomato soup, canned beef broth, and canned chicken broth.  I'll try using no-salt-added tomato sauce and homemade chicken stock to bring down the sodium content of the soup.  Some recipes (mostly the "Cheat It" ones) use refrigerated dough or biscuit/baking mix, but others, even yeast breads, are made from scratch.

(Speaking of Taste of Homethey are looking for one lucky woman to be Mrs. Holiday!  It's simple to enter and the winner will receive a $50,000 payment plus a spokesperson role for the company!  For more information visit their Facebook page at Facebook.com/Taste of Home )

I was going to serve up a chicken recipe, until I decided that Watermelon Granita sounds much better on a hot summer day!

image credit: Taste of Home
Watermelon Granita
Yield:  8 servings

1-1/4 cups sugar
1-1/4 cups water
6 cups cubed watermelon
Small watermelon wedges, optional

In a small saucepan, bring sugar and water to a boil.  Cook and stir until sugar is dissolved; set aside.  In a blender process the watermelon in batches until smooth.  Strain; discard pulp and seeds.  Transfer to an 8-inch square dish; stir in sugar mixture.  Cool to room temperature.

Freeze for 1 hour; stir with a fork.  Freeze 2-3 hours longer, or until completely frozen, stirring every 30 minutes.  Stir granita with a fork just before spooning into dessert dishes.  Garnish with melon wedges [or fresh mint, suggested in the recipe notes] if desired.

Would you like to have your own copy of the Taste of Home:  Cooking School Cookbook?  Thanks to the publisher, Reader's Digest, I have the opportunity to give away one copy to a lucky reader.


This giveaway is closed.



Here's how to enter:  Leave a comment and tell me your comfort level in the kitchen.  Are you a novice cook, or can you whip up a souffle with no problem?  Be sure to leave a way for me to contact you.  Limit 1 entry per person.

More details: Open to residents of USA and Canada, age 18 or older. Giveaway ends 7/16/12 at noon (Eastern time). Winner will be chosen by the random number generator at Random.org and will be notified by email.  Winner must claim prize within 48 hours, or another winner will be chosen.  Reader's Digest and FSB Associates are responsible for prize fulfillment.  Void where prohibited.

Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book, at no cost to me, for review purposes.  I was not required to write a positive review, and all opinions in this post are my own.  This post contains affiliate links.  If you click through my Amazon.com links and complete a purchase, I will receive a small commission.  Thanks for supporting my cooking habit. :)

43 comments :

  1. I am competent but not gourmet debbie jackson,
    djackson1958 at hotmail dot com

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  2. Oh how I love working in the kitchen!! I feel pretty comfortable whipping things up, if even sometimes with the help of a recipe!!

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  3. I'm comfortable in the kitchen and love to cook...but wouldnt say I'm a gourmet cook.
    Thanks!
    jackievillano at gmail dot com

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  4. I am ok. I do not cook too well or bake to well but it is not for lack of trying.
    msgb245 at gmail dot com

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  5. I am pretty comfortable in the kitchen but nothing fancy. I like simple recipes using regular ingredients and produce from my garden.
    slrdowney at hotmail dot com

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  6. not novice, but not gourmet
    gkuroda(at)hawaii.edu

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  7. I'm a pretty good cook, but not a gourmet cook!

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  8. I don't like to cook so I would say novice. Fortunately, I have a son who loves to cook. Too bad he likes to use more spices than I like.

    lkish77123 at gmail dot com

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  9. I'm somewhere middle of the road!

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  10. I'm very comfortable in the kitchen I love to bake

    tiramisu392 (at) yahoo.com

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  11. I would have to say I am somewhere in between. I know I have a lot to learn. Thanks for the awesome giveaway :)

    Renee
    fattybumpkins at yahoo dot com

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  12. i'm definately a novice
    nannypanpan@gmail.com

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  13. I am comfortable in the kitchen but certainly not a gourmet cook

    dftrew(at)gmail(dot)com

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  14. I would say I'm some where in between. I'm always learning new receipes & ideas for baking 7 cooking.

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  15. I'm not some super chef but I do know my way around the kitchen. I'm not afraid to try new recipes.
    gingeroo616 at aol dotcom

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  16. I'm not a novice but I'm definitely not ready for my own TV show. Let's just say I enjoy cooking and whipping up new treats.

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  17. I'm not a great cook at all :S

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  18. If it has directions, I can cook it, but I tend to stay clear of meats, they intimidate me!

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  19. I'm pretty cook at cooking but suck at baking! I love Taste of Home cookbooks and recipes!
    Digicats {at} Sbcglobal {dot} Net

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  20. I'm pretty good in the kitchen....I love to cook and bake...but always love to try new recipes. And I LOVE Taste of Home.

    Thanks,
    Debby
    vadebby at cox dot net

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  21. I'm a pretty much just starting out but i want to get better!

    heather.loftus@aol.com

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  22. I actually like to cook!
    scrappin_sis02 at yahoo dot com

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  23. I'm a pretty good cook, somewhere in between novice and expert.

    sweeps785(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  24. I guess I'm pretty good at cooking, not a souflle girl but I guess I could try? Natbelinsky@verizon.net

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  25. Ginger b.
    Timelyone at hotmail dot com

    I am ok in the kitchen. I did like that you gave an honest review. I find that some bloggers just praise the company like a pr commercial. Thanks for the refreshing feedback.

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  26. I'm intermediate. eclairre(at)ymail(dot)com

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  27. I love to cook and try new recipes - would consider myself a couple steps above a novice
    hrddiana556@gmail.com

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  28. I am an intermediate cook but always looking to improve my techniques, tracietrump@yahoo.com

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  29. I'm in the middle-- experimental with some things and feel confident with well-outlined recipes for others.

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  30. I'm somewhere in between the two - I know how make good food, but nothing fancy.

    fallingfan at gmail.com

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  31. umm i never really cooked before and i need to learn with a little one in the house im going to have to cook for him
    amandahoffman35 at yahoo dot com

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  32. I'm very comfortable and can make quite a bit.

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  33. I'm pretty comfortable in the kitchen, but I'm not at souffle level yet! I am pretty much self-taught, but there are still basics that I don't know and have to look up. I love cooking, but am still learning and I think this book was just made for me!!! Thanks for the giveaway!
    hstorm799{at}gmail{dot}com

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  34. I'm not a professional but I do know my way around the kitchen. I create my own dishes and can make most anything I want.

    ubrewme@yahoo.com

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  35. on a scale of 1-10, I'd give myself a 6
    deannalw47 AT hotmail DOT com
    xoxoxo

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  36. very novice
    cluelessme8@hotmail.com

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  37. My problem is I don't like to eat so I don't enjoy cooking, but my husband likes to eat so I do cook just not very well.

    owen.darlene@gmail.com

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  38. I am a competent cook, for sure, and I love to try new recipes. And I LOVE Taste of Home! I had not heard of this cookbook, but I sure would love to try it. Thanks for the chance!

    Debbi :-)

    debbi.diamondgrove at gmail dot com

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  39. Thanks for such a great giveaway - I enjoy cooking and am good at making my old faithfuls, but this mama needs some inspiration!
    angiebestboss at gmail dot com

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  40. I love cooking, I'm not super great but decent thank u
    Natbelinsky@verizon.net

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  41. I am a fairly skilled home cook.

    Nancy
    allibrary (at) aol (dot) com

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  42. I love to cook. I am a pretty skilled cook and love to try new recipes so I would love this book. thanks Pam
    Busytennesseemom@ charter.net

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  43. I would say I am a competent cook. I do fairly well with savory dishes, but I really enjoy baking and making desserts.
    crimmy2777@man.com

    ReplyDelete

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