Since moving in together in October 2015, I think the kitchen is the place where we’ve both changed the most. That sounds a bit odd, but I mean our skills and confidence in the kitchen are what have changed the most over the last two years. We started off with takeaways, microwavable meals, and extremely boring and simple chicken/salmon recipes. Now, we love nothing more than perfecting a new recipe. I don’t see either of us concocting our own spice blends or sauces anytime soon, but we are excellent when it comes to reading recipes written by someone else.
As a result, we have really stocked up on cookbooks and online recipes (I store online recipes on OneNote). We try at least one new recipe each week and spice up our meal planning with daily themes. Monday is vegan night; Tuesday, vegetarian; and Wednesday is where we try to incorporate international flavors. Weeknight cooking can be an absolute pain, but overtime we have figured out the best cookbooks for weeknight meals – these are quick, budget-friendly recipes that result in a delicious meal. While we have more time to cook on the weekends, these are the cookbooks we constantly turn to Monday-Friday.
4 Cookbooks for Weeknight Meals
Quick + Simple = Delicious
It’s all in the name! Quick + Simple = Delicious could not be a more perfect name for this book by Emily Kydd. This was a rather spontaneous purchase by me, and I wasn’t sure what to expect, but we are constantly impressed with how tasty these meals are. The book is not formatted like a traditional recipe book with the ingredients and the process separated; instead, the ingredients are just bolded within the process. This would be a pain in most situations, but these recipes are so quick and involve so few ingredients that it’s actually an extremely efficient way of doing it. The only downside is that there aren’t that many recipes in the book, so we try not to use them too often and exhaust them. Emily – please write a follow up! BUY: UK // US
Jamie’s 15 Minute Meals
Sean and I both absolutely love Jamie Oliver and continuously use ‘what would Jamie do?’ as a guiding factor in our kitchen. So it’s safe to say we were thrilled when we ordered and received Jamie’s 15 Minute Recipes. We have yet to complete one of these recipes in anywhere remotely close to fifteen minutes (probably because we didn’t follow Jamie’s advice and buy a food processor), but we are always thrilled with our results. Jamie’s recipes include an entire meal, so we never have to think on our feet to produce a side dish or salad to go with our meal, he’s already done that thinking for us. My favorite part? The presentation tips are spot on…I’ve never seen anyone make food on a platter look so beautiful! BUY: UK // US
We also purchased Jamie’s 5 Ingredients when it came out and, again, were blown away by the ease and deliciousness of each meal!
Once we got over our 3 takeaways a week phase, we knew we wanted to eat healthier. I purchased a spiralizer and the Inspiralized book to go along with it in order to inject more veggies into our diet. These aren’t always the quickest recipes, but there is a time guide on each one so we can plan for shorter ones during the week. It’s absolutely amazing how much flavor a spiralized vegetable can add to what would normally be a boring pasta dish. We’re obsessed with the sweet potato & pancetta carbonara (and would probably be happy eating it once a week!). BUY: UK // US
Whole Food, Slow Cooked
I’m convinced that slow cookers were made for full-time workers. Seriously, you prepare stuff the night before, pop it in the slow cooker in the morning, and you have a full meal waiting for you when you get home! The recipes aren’t as summer friendly, but there are some year round classics. This book is great because it also has a stove top version of each recipe; if you don’t have a slow cooker (or you forget to start it in the morning like I regularly do), you can still end up with a delicious meal! BUY: UK // US
Gousto isn’t a cookbook, but it’s a great way to get recipes! Shortly after moving in together, we signed up for a Gousto subscription. Similar to Blue Apron or Hello Fresh, Gousto would deliver ingredients and recipes to our door each week. We absolutely loved the ease of it and the recipe choices – some of our absolute favorite meals come from Gousto! While we ended up cancelling our Gousto subscription, we’ve hung onto the recipes and always turn to them. The instructions are extremely detailed step-by-steps and even tell you when you should be chopping what, so no time is wasted in the kitchen. Most of them are also under 30 minutes, and I don’t think we’ve ever found one that takes more than an hour. They’re perfect for after work!
Gousto is a great way to start getting more comfortable in the kitchen. It helps you get used to using different ingredients (and all those kitchen tools you bought once upon a time) and also allows you to start stockpiling some simple & brilliantly delicious recipes. Although we no longer have our subscription, we do highly recommend everyone give it a try. It is the thing that got us so into cooking, after all! SIGN UP: UK (that’s a referral link, so you’ll get 50% off your first two boxes by signing up!)
We really encourage everyone (especially couples) to have some fun in the kitchen. Cooking is a great activity to do with a partner/friend and there’s always a reward at the end! If you don’t use recipe books or try new meals often, these cookbooks are a great place to start. Share your recommendations for cookbooks for weeknight meals in the comments – we’re always looking for new cookbooks to try!
This post was updated in October 2017.