Monday, June 16, 2008

Book Review:
Taste of Home Casseroles

I have mixed feelings about this cookbook. I enjoy many Taste of Home recipes because they are simple, delicious and unfussy. I prefer down-to-earth ingredients and unpretentious dishes. Most of the time, I love making casseroles because they are easy and can freeze well for later meals.

This book contains over 440 casserole recipes. The recipes are divided into categories such as Poultry, Beef, Pork, Seafood or Meatless Classics; Quick and Easy; Side Dishes; Breakfast and Brunch; and World Favorites. I love the extensive indexes at the end of the book. I also appreciate the handy serving suggestions for sides, salads and desserts.

Unfortunately, I was disappointed with many of the recipes in Casseroles. To be blunt, if I routinely served these meals to my family we would become very fat. In my opinion, potato chips should never be used as a casserole ingredient. As well, what dish requires four pounds of cheese? I was disturbed to read comments such as "I serve this meal at least twice a month" and "my children always licks the platter clean" attached to horribly unhealthy meals.

Granted, Casseroles contains numerous recipes for nutritious meals as well. I also realize that, by their very nature, creamy casseroles are often sinfully rich. Many recipes can be adapted with low-fat, low-sodium ingredients and healthy substitutions. On the whole, I did like Taste of Home Casseroles. I even included two recipes from the book in my menu plan this week (with a few changes). I simply feel this cookbook should be used with discernment, and some of the recipes are best avoided altogether.

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