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A Dozen Cookbooks Every Busy Parent Needs

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Let’s be honest: feeding your family can be one of the hardest parts of parenthood. Even if you love to cook, keeping up with your children’s changing preferences, finding time to prepare healthy meals from scratch, and doing it all within the confines of a busy schedule can be a challenge. However, sometimes you need a little inspiration. Here are a dozen cookbooks every busy parent should have.

When You Want to Eat Better

The Whole30: The 30-Day Guide to Total Health and Food Freedom by Melissa Hartwig and Dallas Hartwig

The Whole30 is a clean-eating plan that strives to overhaul your relationship with food. It’s not a diet plan and it’s not a quick fix. While completing the thirty-day program does require eliminating certain foods from your diet, you don’t have to be on the program to enjoy Whole30 compliant meals.


The program’s book includes several basic recipes—plus some “fancypants” ones—to help you re-establish healthy habits and eat delish food while doing it. You will learn to make your own condiments, create takeout worthy curry dishes, and find go-to recipes for everything from quick weeknight meals to elaborate holiday dishes.

Bon Appetit: The Food Lover’s Cleanse: 140 Delicious, Nourishing Recipes That Will Tempt You Back Into Healthful Eating by Sara Dickerman

The Bon Appetit: The Food Lover’s Cleanse includes over one-hundred-forty recipes intended to cover meals throughout whole year. It also includes four two-week seasonal plans using the freshest ingredients from each one. It is not an elimination program, so all foods are on the table—including delicious desserts.

Danielle Walker’s Against All Grain: Meals Made Simple: Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, and Paleo Recipes to Make Anytime by Danielle Walker

Against All Grain: Meals Made Simple debuted as the second cookbook of popular paleo food blogger Danielle Walker. The recipes are delicious, simple, and easy to follow. It is great for those with a busy schedule because its recipes utilize efficient hacks like re-using leftovers. The book also provides eight weeks of meal plans, which takes the guess work out of organizing your daily meals.

When You Want to Get the Kids Involved

Sesame Street: C Is for Cooking by Susan McQuillan

C is for Cooking is an adorable option for getting young children involved in the kitchen. It includes fifty-five Sesame Street themed recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks/desserts. Recipes like Grover’s Little & Adorable Chicken Nuggets and Rosita’s Tortilla Soup are quick, straightforward, and sure to inspire the miniature chef in your life.

MasterChef Junior Cookbook: Bold Recipes and Essential Techniques to Inspire Young Cooks by MasterChef Junior

If your kids are a little older, the MasterChef Junior Cookbook is a way to not only teach your kids some cooking basics, but also to help them branch out and take on new culinary adventures. Plus, if you’re lucky, your kid may even take the reins on cooking some nights. Jackpot.

The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook by Dinah Bucholz

Looking to add a little magic to your usual family dinners? The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook is a great way to do so. The book features a style and references that Harry Potter fans will appreciate and offers a tasty introduction to British cuisine. Some parents also swear that it helps inspire picky eaters to try new things. After all, if the young wizard himself approves, how bad can it be?

When You Want to Have a Date Night at Home

Date Night In: More Than 120 Recipes To Nourish Your Relationship by Ashley Rodriguez 

Date Night In is a fabulous choice if you are in a date night rut and looking to add some flavor. The book is divided into seasons, which ensures you’ll be in the mood for the suggested dishes no matter what time of year it is. It also offers tips on the prep work you should do in the days leading up to your date and ties it all together with stories and anecdotes from the author’s relationship with her husband.

Let’s Stay In: More than 120 Recipes to Nourish the People You Love by Ashley Rodriguez 

Let’s Stay In is a book by the author of Date Night In. Like Date Night In, it offers over 120 original recipes and stories. However, unlike Date Night In, the recipes in Let’s Stay In are tailored to meet the needs of families on busy weeknights. The meals are simple and perfect for date nights, family meals, and dinner parties.

One Pan, Two Plates: More Than 70 Complete Weeknight Meals for Two by Carla Snyder

If you’re looking for a date night cookbook, One Pan, Two Plates will ensure that you get the ambiance and flavor you’re looking for without sacrificing time or taste.

When You’re Bored of Your Usual Eats

Cravings: Recipes for All the Food You Want to Eat by Chrissy Teigen 

Cravings, the original cookbook by author and model Chrissy Teigen, delivers a powerful punch with crave-worthy meals including several delicious Thai dishes. From sides to entrees and desserts, Cravings may give your usual cooking the jolt it needs.

Kebabs: 75 Recipes for Grilling by Sabrina Baksh

Stuck in a cooking rut? Hit the grill with Kebabs: 75 Recipes for Grilling. Many people grill often in the summer months then less so during the rest of the year. Switch up your usual routine and fire up the grill when your family least expects it. The recipes in this book are inspired by cuisine from around the world, so your weeknights will never lack flavor or variety.

Magnolia Table: A Collection of Recipes for Gathering by Joanna Gaines

Magnolia Table, the brainchild of home and lifestyle guru Joanna Gaines, is packed with family-friendly comfort foods sure to have everyone asking for seconds. Gaines preaches her family-centric lifestyle while sharing her favorite recipes, which makes this book a perfect choice for busy families.

What’s your favorite family-friendly cookbook?


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