A couple of months ago, I wrote about my new dinner plan: my personal challenge to try one new recipe each week this winter, focusing on one of my more neglected cookbooks for a month.
Well. It’s time for me to report back on this month’s selection . . .
It’s Ina Garten’s latest cookbook, Go-To Dinners. This cookbook . . . is NOT one that’s been sitting on my shelf for long (it was only just available in October this year), but I am a true Ina-fan, and I couldn’t resist snapping it up as soon as I saw it in the bookstore. So. I’m defeating my own purpose from the get-go . . . but . . . it’s my-game-my-rules. (This book is available at bookstores everywhere. I did notice that Amazon has it available for $20.98, should you be interested.)
As I mentioned, I am a big fan of Ina Garten. I have her entire collection of cookbooks in my kitchen library, and I use each of them regularly. (I have favorite recipes marked in each cookbook, and I’m always trying new ones.) I have never had a mishap or a bad result from an Ina Garten recipe, and I consider her one of my tried-and-true “kitchen mentors” when it comes to cooking and baking. I was eager to crack open her newest cookbook (full of her “most satisfying and uncomplicated dinners”) . . . and get cookin’!
So. What did I cook?
The first thing I tried was “Weeknight Spaghettoni with Tomatoes and Pancetta.” I chose it because . . . we were just a few days past Thanksgiving, and I was craving something Not Turkey. This looked like a quick and easy option — and it would make use of the pancetta I had leftover when I made my Thanksgiving stuffing (also an Ina recipe; just sayin). This was . . . all I hoped it would be. Tasty. Quick. Easy. It will definitely become part of my regular dinner line-up (in fact, it’s what’s for dinner tonight). (The pancetta was great — but this would be good with leftover ham or chicken or . . . with no meat at all.) I added meatballs . . . because I had them.
Next up . . . I tried the “Overnight Mac & Cheese.” I chose it because . . . I’d been thinking about it since first opening the cookbook. I’m also kind of a sucker for mac & cheese. Plus . . . Gruyère. (Yes, please!) (I had this on my Thanksgiving menu this year, but at the last minute, opted not to make it. I will definitely include it next year.) This . . . absolutely lived up to my expectations. It was delicious and decadent, and easy to prepare. The biggest trick is remembering that you need to make it the night before.
Then I tried the “Creamy Chicken Thighs with Lemon & Thyme” with delicious results. I made it exactly as directed in the recipe. It was easy, although pretty hands-on. We really enjoyed it for a weeknight dinner, but it would be divine if you have dinner guests/an occasion, too. I did make a note that this would be best served with a green vegetable or a salad . . . rather than the sweet potatoes I served. (This dish is served over rice, so extra carbs – like sweet potatoes – aren’t what you want, but I had ’em so I cooked ’em.) I’ll definitely make this one again, too.
Last, those sweet potatoes I just mentioned? They’re from this cookbook, too . . . the “Glazed Sweet Potatoes.” And they are fabulous! The best sweet potatoes I’ve ever eaten. Super easy. Very tasty. As in . . . we couldn’t stop eating them. These may become my (ahem) Go-To sweet potato recipe.
So. There you have it! I’m really excited to have this cookbook in my collection. There are so many more recipes I want to try.
Wondering what’s next?
I think post-holiday/January will be a perfect time to (finally) open up . . .
After all, it’s been in my collection for a year now . . . and I haven’t tried one thing!
Time for . . . bread!
I’ll check back in a month, and let you know how it goes.
In the meantime . . . have you tried any good recipes lately?
In full disclosure . . . one thing about Ina Garten’s cookbooks has always given me a headache: I can never remember which cookbook contains the particular recipe I want to make, so I end up pulling each of them off the shelf and doing a mad scramble to find what I’m looking for. Finally, though, I discovered (thanks for the tip, Sarah!) that the Barefoot Contessa website has a searchable (and printable) index of all the recipes in the cookbooks. You do still have to know what the recipe is actually called, so it’s not perfect . . . but it does help. (It also hasn’t been updated to include the new Go-To Dinners cookbook yet, just sayin.)
Past cookbooks I’ve unpacked:
How to Cook Everything Vegetarian (Mark Bittman) – November 2022
I just got the new cookbook as a Chanukah present, so I’m glad to hear that the recipes you’ve tried so far have been great — not that I would have expected anything less from Ina!
I am a big Ina fan as well and, based on this post, I guess I will need to get this cookbook – everything you’ve made sounds WONDERFUL. I was just thinking of mac & cheese the other day – will be making some once we are home from TX. Right now I’m trying to finish up all the leftovers in the frig!
Oh my! I am likewise a bit of an Ina Fan Girl. I was thinking that I had “enough” Ina Books, but you have piqued my interest with this book! Sigh!
I love the way you make notes on the pages! And I am inspired to dig into my cookbook collection
I wish I had a local bookstore so I could buy this book right now! Macaroni & cheese is my favorite thing and although I’ve tried loads of recipes, I still haven’t found the perfect one. But I need to try Ina’s overnight recipe and the spaghettoni sounds delicious, too. Thanks for this month’s reviews and I’m looking forward to reading about you and Mark next month!
Another Ina fan here and I’m glad you have found some great recipes in her new cookbook. I make a beef tenderloin every New Year’s Eve and I follow Ina’s directions to the letter, she never lets me down. I’m definitely intrigued by that overnight mac and cheese, too.
The chicken thigh recipe was the first one I made from Ina’s new book and we LOVED IT!!
Those chicken thighs look delicious. They also look so pretty in the pan.
Back in the fall I bought a bunch of cookbooks from the used bookstore and a charity shop. Have I looked at them? Yes . . . on the shelf. Time to get cookin’.
Your dishes turned out beautifully! We’ve been enjoying our NYT cooking subscription that I gifted Troy last year and our most recent dinner was Sunday Sauce. It was excellent–and like your first-up here, it’s easy to switch out the meat with whatever you have. (We happened to have everything, thanks to a full freezer from our CSA this summer. But I frequently sub many recipes with whatever I have on hand!).
Fun winter cookbook project!
What a success you made from recipes in this cookbook. We eat vegetarian so I don’t have her cookbooks but I imagine I could adapt some of the recipes. And sign me up for Overnight Mac and Cheese, the ultimate comfort food.
I have most of Ina’s cookbooks and bought this latest one at Costco for about the same price as Amazon. In our particular Costco it was the ONLY cookbook available this year. Supply chain problems? New policy?…Shudder. The recipe that caught my eye was the chocolate-y coffee-y one because it was so quick as well as yummy. Hope I find it soon underneath all the gift wrap debris because it was going to be my go-to on Christmas Eve!
!! thank you for those reviews – this is the cookbook we’ve selected for our cookbook club re-boot! I’m hosting our first gathering in January and thinking those chicken thighs might be our main course.
We’ve been splurging on an Alaskan seafood subscription – and tried this tuna recipe lately – Easy, and just needs a salad and bread. I’ve been omitting bread from our dinners, mostly, but this is one of those sop up the sauce dinners that really needs it. https://www.sitkasalmonshares.com/blogs/culinary/recipes/olive-oil-roasted-albacore-with-white-bean-salad Really good, but not worth it unless you’re willing to keep the tuna just a bit rare.