It should come as no surprise that The Motherhood team loves to cook, eat, and talk about what’s coming out of our kitchens! Over the past couple years, we’ve shared recipes that we turn to when bringing together family and friends, as well as those that inspire us to eat well, and we’re always looking for fresh ideas to put something new on the table.
So when our friend Stacie over at One Hungry Mama reached out to share the great news that she had compiled all of her tried-and-true recipes into one book, Make It Easy, our team was excited to dig in (quite literally)! With 120 mix-and-match recipes, Make It Easy truly takes the guesswork out of the whole process, from food prep to presentation. Using everything from smart, store-bought shortcuts to cook-from-scratch dishes, the book delivers recipes that will leave your family impressed without leaving you stressed.
Check out some of the recipes we tested in our own kitchens, and read for yourself how the Make It Easy approach worked for us!
One-Bowl Lemon Ricotta Pound Cake
The key term here is “one-bowl,” followed closely by “ricotta” and “cake.”
This recipe has a high ratio of convenience to deliciousness, which makes it a winner in our book. As billed, all of the ingredients can be combined in a single bowl, which makes for quick assembly and easy cleanup. The cake itself, baked in a loaf pan, is dense, fine-crumbed and flavored with just the right amount of lemon. It’s perfect for a lighter dessert (served with fruit and whipped cream), an indulgent snack (spread with ricotta and honey), or even a quick breakfast, after being warmed in the toaster oven or microwave.
Buttered Pasta with Ricotta and Peas
Using the leftover ricotta cheese you’ll have in your fridge after making the above pound cake, you can whip up this simple, tasty dinner.
The best part about this pasta dish (aside from the ricotta) is that the recipe is fairly basic and can accommodate a variety of ingredients. Your kids don’t like peas? No problem, just throw in whatever you have on hand, such as cubed chicken, ground sausage, corn, bell pepper or other meats and veggies they prefer. And for picky eaters, plain buttered noodles with cheese is always a winner.
Corn, Green Chili and Cheddar Strata
Make-ahead recipes are a blessing when you have a large group of people to feed or a potluck event to squeeze into your schedule – and with a full loaf of French bread and nine eggs incorporated in the recipe, this strata makes plenty for everyone.
You can (and should) assemble the dish the night before baking it, so the prep work is already done. All you have to do is pop it in the oven and serve with a side of sliced avocado, fruit, toast or bacon. It’s savory but not spicy, and it’s substantial enough to offer as a main breakfast or dinner option. The recipe is also quite versatile – you can swap or add any number of ingredients based on personal preference.
Parmesan Roasted Broccoli
The most unique thing about this cookbook is that it’s truly a resource versus a standard cookbook. Sure, it’s filled with recipes, but it’s not made of up of just dinner entrees or dessert dishes, but rather, practical, smart and useful kitchen hacks and tricks to truly make things simple and delicious.
While it seems too simple to be an entry in any cookbook, Parmesan Roasted Broccoli was one of the first recipes we dog-eared. Oftentimes it’s the side dishes that leave us in a rut, turning to the same steaming/boiling/raw routine with our veggies. It’s amazing how you can elevate your veggie dish by roasting and dressing it with the right ingredients. This one uses a little lemon, Parmesan, olive oil and seasoning; it will be a staple on the dinner menu.
Avocado Miso Dressing
This sauce is the answer to the too-ripe avocados sitting on your counter, as well as the too-boring-to-eat salad you brought for lunch and nearly any other dish that needs a little extra flavor. This dressing is truly out of this world.
The ingredients seem simple enough, and you might think you can anticipate what it will taste like. We promise it’s better than anything you’re imagining up as you skim through the list of ingredients. Stacie suggests this as a go-to for salads or seafood, so we topped lightly seared scallops with the bright green dressing for a really light, fresh-tasting dinner.
Roasted Cherry Tomatoes
Again, this may seem like a too-obvious idea to be included in a cookbook; however, that’s what this book is all about. Stacie encourages you to hone in on really smart food preparation ideas in order to elevate your dishes.
Tossed in a little olive oil and salt, and roasted to perfection, these tomatoes are the perfect addition to made-from-scratch hummus (which she also has a recipe for!), as well as a simple base for tomato sauce to serve over pasta.
Another unique aspect of this book is that it offers options for made-from-scratch, as well as store-bought, ingredients. Stacie offers context around why you might choose store-bought for some things, while made-from-scratch is the way to go for others.
While there are likely numerous, delicious almond milk options at your local grocer, if you’re a fan of nut milk, it would serve you well to try making it yourself! Incredibly simple, it’s admittedly satisfying to see it progress from almond to milk. Made-from-scratch almond milk is a “yes!” in our book.
Overall Thoughts on the Cookbook
We sincerely loved exploring this cookbook as a team, although calling it a cookbook seems to undercut all that it offers. Make It Easy is really the Swiss Army Knife of cookbooks; it’s a true resource for the kitchen and offers far more than recipes. Although we loved the several recipes we tried, we appreciate the book even more for the tips and tools it offers the everyday cook.