Review: “Happy Cooking,” Giada De Laurentiis

Pros: So delicious!
Cons: Some recipes could use a little tweaking
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Giada De Laurentiis’s Happy Cooking: Make Every Meal Count … Without Stressing Out attempts to provide us with delicious foods that we don’t have to spend hours making. Simple, delicious, easy. I wouldn’t say these are all healthy per se, but there are a lot of fresh, delicious foods in here. One of my favorites of the not-so-healthy recipes was a sausage-stuffed-bacon-wrapped date recipe with a lemon basil crema. SOOOO good:

Sausage-stuffed dates with bacon

Sausage-stuffed dates with bacon

There are plenty of light, ‘clean’ recipes in here. One of my favorites is a shaved vegetable salad with a goat cheese vinaigrette. I was stunned that the leftovers were still quite good the next night. Another favorite was a chicken salad recipe–the use of sliced snap sugar peas made it unusual and interesting (and delicious!). I also like that you use shredded chicken from an entire rotisserie chicken, meaning a nice combination of dark and white meat.

Zuchinni Carrot  Salad

Shaved Vegetable Salad

None of these recipes felt fussy or overly complicated. Even making our own lemon curd from the book to use in the Limoncello Parfaits was fantastic. (Although I’ll note that the recipe they advise you to use makes 3/4c curd, and the parfait recipe used 1 1/4, so be sure to make a double batch!) I’ve never had lemon curd before that didn’t strain out the zest, but if you’re using a Microplane zester the bits of zest are so small that it isn’t icky texture-wise.

Limoncello Parfaits

Limoncello Parfaits

The cookbook includes recipes for breakfast, snacks and small plates, salads and seasons, soups and stews, pastas and risottos, ‘eating clean,’ weeknight warriors, vegetables and sides, weekends and holidays, and treats and sweets. I wasn’t overly thrilled to see things like “detox soup”, since I pretty much believe that the entire ‘detoxing’ industry is snake oil. However, her detox soup recipe looks quite delicious, so I won’t knock it, at least as good food.

Every recipe we tried from this cookbook came out beautifully. The most effort we had to put into anything was the lemon curd, and even that was pretty easy. I wish we still had some of those dates left–time to make more!


This book was provided free for review by Blogging for Books.

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