Stuck in a dinner rut and aren’t sure where to search for inspiration? Try checking out a few cookbooks from your local library. You benefit from great kitchen-tested recipes, gorgeous photos to pepper your palette, and it costs you nothing. Snag these family-friendly cookbooks definitely worth checking out from your local library.
Lately, I’ve been in a bit of a dinner rut. Some days, we eat the same old thing out of convenience, those days when we are running from place to place and just want a quick bite for dinner. I’m ok with that.
Even when we have time for a more substantial dinner, however, I’ve been lost for inspiring ideas as of late.
I considered signing up for a meal subscription service. We have tried it before, and I didn’t love it, but it’s a good way to get some new ideas. They’re also pretty pricey, and I don’t love the amount of packaging waste.
While Pinterest is free, it’s also a mixed bag. Some recipes are great; others leave something to be desired, and I’m not expert enough in the kitchen to decipher the difference (before I make it) just by reading the ingredients and instructions.
Recently, I decided to try a free and new-to-me option, the cookbook section at the library. It’s been awesome!
Have you ever checked out a cookbook from your library?!
Cookbook photos are gorgeous. I love that the recipes have survived a test kitchen and multiple iterations before being published to ensure the ingredients and instructions are complete and the recipes reliable. Further, I prefer peaking at an open book lying on the counter while cooking instead of revisiting my phone with dirty hands every few minutes (when it’s inevitably automatically locked after timing out with no activity).
Unfortunately, cookbooks are also pretty expensive. They’re large, so they take up a lot of space on my shelves, and they often include recipes I don’t love. I don’t want to spend $40 on a gorgeous cookbook only to find out I like about 25% of the recipes.
To have my cake and eat it too, I started checking out cookbooks from the library. If I find a book with tons of recipes that are great, I may end up buying it. For now, I get to try out a handful of recipes before plunking down big bucks and creating space in my kitchen for any of the books.
The stack you see are the current ones hanging out on my counter. I didn’t end up loving all of them, but no love lost. I’ll just return them to the library next week and be glad I didn’t spend money to buy them.
Alternatively, I’ve shared a few cookbooks I think are worth checking out from your local library. Have you ever checked out a cookbook from your library? Any recommendations of cookbooks I should put on hold?
7 Family-Friendly Cookbooks Worth Checking Out From Your Library
Milk Street: The New Home Cooking by Christopher Kimball
We have made a few of the recipes in this book. They aren’t super basic but they are definitely accessible for a regular at-home cook. This book had some great ideas to add new flavor combinations we don’t often try in our house.
One Pan & Done: Hassle-Free Meals from the Oven to Your Table by Molly Gilbert
I just picked this up from the library yesterday. I have scanned through it though and it looks like a gem! There are so many recipes that I definitely anticipate making.
Damn Delicious: 100 Super Easy, Super Fast Recipes by Chungah Rhee
We have a buffalo chicken meatball recipe from Rhee’s blog that we have used for years, so I expected I would like her style. J took the first spin through this book and asked about every third page if we could make the recipe. If he loves that many recipes at 5 years old, I’m sure this will be a keeper.
100 Days of Real Food: Fast and Fabulous by Lisa Leake
This is one of a series of cookbooks from Leake. This is the only one I own, but it’s fantastic. I have a few recipes I come back to regularly that are staples in our house. Just as the title implies, they are all easy and family-friendly.
The Whole 30 Cookbook by Melissa Hartwig
We don’t eat Whole 30 compliant meals by design. I have dabbled in the practice, but it never stuck for us. Even if your family doesn’t follow Whole 30 eating guidelines, there are lots of good recipes in this book that even kids will eat.
Zoutain by Yasmin Kahn
This book is stunning! The pictures are gorgeous, and it includes some really interesting travel stories about how the author gathered all the recipes in the book. The cookbook is full of wonderful Palestinian recipes, a genre of food that’s pretty new to me. Some recipes include ingredients that aren’t readily available at everyday grocery stores, and the author offers some substitutes in many of those cases.
Because I’m still getting familiar with Palestinian food, I wasn’t quite ready to purchase a book like this but it is absolutely 100% worth checking out at the library. We tried a few recipes from the book, and they were all delicious.
The Homemade Pantry: 101 Foods You Can Stop Buying and Start Making by Alan Chernila
I’ve checked this book out from the library a couple of times. As we moved forward on our continuous journey to eat fewer processed foods and reducing our waste, making more food from scratch is a natural path to those goals. I love that she offers so many ideas to make from scratch so many of the everyday foods we buy from the store.