The Best Weeknight Cooking Cookbooks

Find our top 4 picks for the best weeknight cooking cookbooks of the past 25 years.

The Bon Appétit Cookbook
Photo: Randy Mayor

The Bon Appétit Cookbook

The Bon Appétit Fast Easy Fresh Cookbook By Barbara Fairchild, John Wiley and Sons, 2008. Hardcover. $35; 770 pages

This is a substantial cookbook, with 1,100 recipes designed to minimize time spent chopping, stirring, and prepping. Recipes are laid out concisely, without the distracting marginalia you'll find in many other fast-cooking cookbooks. Clean design doesn't mean a shortage of useful info, though: Shopping tips, make-ahead advice, freezing/reheating options, and ingredient information abound. If you can't locate plain bulgur, for example, you can use "one cup of bulgur from two boxes of tabbouleh wheat salad mix (but don't use the seasoning packets)"—practical advice rooted in real-world experience. Recipes capitalize on fresh ingredients, which need little work to be delicious. Some recipes take very little active time but may require hours of marinating. But that's easily doable on a workday, when all you have to do is finish the dish once you get home—something nice to look forward to.

GIVE THIS TO: Busy cooks who like a big cookbook. —Adam Hickman

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