When the people at America’s Test Kitchen told me they were sending a copy of The Complete Cook’s Country TV Show Cookbook for me to review, I didn’t know what to expect – I’ve never seen the show! You don’t need to be a fan of the show to appreciate this book, though.
The book (and the show) focuses on perfecting regional and nostalgic favorites for the modern cook. Each section is themed and includes a variety of recipes and tips.
Cooking is not something that’s loved on my Mom’s side of the family. My Mom remembers her grandmother making hot dogs when she visited. I remember lunch meat spreads when visiting my grandmother. So, the chapter As Good As Grandma’s is really appealing to me – I love the idea of having perfect, classic recipes to make for my own family.
It’s not all nostalgia, though – these Ultimate Spicy Beef Nachos, in the chapter Tex-Mex Favorites, look thoroughly modern and perfect for my upcoming Super Bowl menu.
It also includes some great basic recipes – like Better-Than-the-Box Pancake Mix. I especially appreciate the tips and explanations that are included – like how to know when the pan is hot enough for pancake cooking and why they use malted milk in the recipe.
There are some recipes that are just fun, too, like these Chocolate Cream Cupcakes. With Hostess Cupcakes now a thing of the past, I can’t wait to try this out!
There are so many recipes in this book that look fantastic that I literally couldn’t decide where to start – so I asked my husband to pick instead. He selected this Skillet Chicken Parmesan. It was easy – perfect for a weeknight dinner. The modification of sprinkling breadcrumbs over the top instead of breading the chicken worked like a charm. We served this with some crusty garlic bread and green salad for a nice dinner.
Skillet Chicken Parmesan
(from The Complete Cook’s Country TV Show Cookbook)
2 slices hearty qhite sandwich bread, torn into large pieces
3 T. olive oil
1 1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 c. chopped fresh basil
1 (28 oz.) can crushed tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and pepper, to taste
4 (6 oz.) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 c. all purpose flour
3 T. vegetable oil
3/4 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
3/4 c. shredded provolone cheese
In a food processor, pulse the bread until it is coarse crumbs. In a large, non-stick skillet over medium-high heat, toast the bread crumbs for about five minutes, until browned. Transfer breadcrumbs to a bowl and toss with 1 T. olive oil, 1/4 c. shredded parmesan cheese and half of the basil.
In another bowl, combine the remaining olive oil, 1/4 c. grated parmesan cheese, remaining basil, tomatoes, garlic, salt and pepper.
Place flour in a third bowl.
Using a sharp knife, slice each chicken breast horizontally, into two thin cutlets. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and dredge in the flour.
Heat 2 T. vegetable oil in the skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add 4 of the dredged cutlets and cook until golden brown on both sides, about five minutes. Transfer to a plate and repeat with remaining cutlets and oil.
Reduce heat to medium-low and add tomato mixture. Return the cutlets to the pan in an even layer and press down in the pan to cover with the sauce. Sprinkle remaining cheeses over the chicken and cook until melted, about five minutes. Sprinkle the bread crumb mixture over and serve.
Disclosure: I recieved a complimentary copy of The Complete Cook’s Country TV Show Cookbook for review. All opinions are my own.