Real Life Dinners by Rachel Hollis

5 stars Nonfiction

I bought this cookbook after checking it out at the library.  This is another great book by Rachel Hollis.  So, why did I buy it?  Because I liked the recipes and the illustrations that accompanied them.  The recipes inside were for things that I really would make, things that aren’t too fancy and the ingredients I can find in my supermarket.

Let me walk you through this beautiful book and tempt you with one of my latest cookbook purchases.  This last week, I received/bought 3 cookbooks in the mail.  With temperatures in the 90’s this week, I might make something but likely, I will be eating strawberry lettuce salad (I could live off this), watermelon, oranges and just cold sandwiches. I don’t like to eat a lot when it’s hot out. 

There are 4 sections before we even get into the food sections in this cookbook: intro, table manners, kitchen essentials, spices.  Table manners: yep, she lists out some table manners from no electronics, to passing food, to eating. Kitchen Essentials: things you should have on hand.  Spices: four blends she created.

In the food section, there are 8 sections: Breakfast for Dinner, Kid-Friendly Dinners, Make-Ahead Dinners, Dinner on the Grill, Soup for Dinner, Salad for Dinner, Sides for Dinner, and My Favorite Dinners.  Each recipe consists of a two-page spread complete with a short story about the recipe, an illustration, ingredients list (optional ingredient list, if needed), directions, prep time, cook time, serves #, and 3 or 4 step-by-step illustrations for the recipe. She also begins each section with a intro about that section and her thoughts/memories.

Looking at the Make-Ahead Dinners section: her intro talks about being prepared and prepping.  She discusses what she does and how to use these recipes in your own life.  There are 9 recipes in this section.  I would eat any of them as they all look good.  From Dr. Pepper Pulled Pork, Homemade Frozen Burritos, Hawaiian Chicken, Mexican Casserole, Chicken Potpie, Tex-Mex Fiesta, Spaghetti Sauce, Ranch Beef Stew, and Lemon-Pesto Chicken.  I thought I might have to cut back on the lemon on that Lemon-Pesto Chicken but it’s not that much and hey, it has green beans in it! The Tex-Mex entre looks super good and so does the Hawaiian Chicken (and I don’t normally do Chinese food) but the ingredients look like something I can handle.  I’m super excited to get this cookbook and guess what?  I also picked up Rachel’s other cookbook at the same time, Upscale Downhome: Family Recipes, All Gussied Up.  That cookbook is a keeper too.

The illustrations in this book look very appetizing and real.  They don’t look all glamorous, as if someone spent weeks, spraying and angling the camera, trying to get the right shot of the bun, to make it look perfect. They look delicious and they look like something that I could make.  Thanks Rachel, for keeping it real.