Blog Meal Planning

9 Best Quick and Easy Cookbooks Every Working Parent Needs

Need some inspiration for dinner this week? Here are some of my favorite cookbooks, full of quick and easy options for dinner tonight!

I have somewhat of a cookbook problem.  That is, if  owning four shelves worth of cookbooks can be considered a “problem”. Secretly, I adore each and every one and I’m always on the hunt for more. This is especially true if it’s a quick and easy cookbook. It’s like I can’t help myself; as soon as I find a new one promising me flavorful recipes in half the time, then pop! Into the cart it goes!

I thought I would create a little list of my all-time favorite quick and easy cookbooks. These are all cookbooks I love and adore, and I hope you will, too! I’ll even let you n on my fave recipes from each so you can get a little more of a taste.

Here are my favorite quick and easy cookbooks, in no specific order! I’ve even highlighted the best recipe from each.

365: No Repeats by Rachael Ray

An oldie but a goodie from the Queen of Quick, Rachael Ray. This was one of the first of her books I ever bought and I turn to it regularly for inspiration. ‘No repeats’ just means she finds inventive ways to use leftovers, and variations on one meal.

Favorite Recipes: Pumpkin Pasta with Sausage and Wild Mushrooms, Spicy Shrimp and Bok Choy Noodle Bowl

The Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters

A fabulous primer on cooking simple, easy, seasonal dishes from the master of seasonal food, Alice Waters. Along with recipes, Alice gives recommendations for food storage, menu planning, and grocery shopping at markets. It’s simple and unadorned, and my go-to for summer dishes especially.

Favorite recipes: Orange and Olive Salad, Poached Egg and Curly Endive Salad, Fish in Breadcrumbs

Barefoot Contessa At Home by Ina Garten

My first introduction to Ina Garten was watching her beloved cooking show, The Barefoot Contessa, on the Food Network on days I’d skip school (uh, because I was sick?). But this cookbook was my first taste of her actual recipes, and made me a lifelong fan. They’re simple, delicious, and crowd-pleasers.

Favorite Recipes: Mexican Chicken Soup, Honey White Bread, Honey Jalapeno Cornbread

Food52’s A New Way To Dinner by Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs

I cut my teeth recipe testing as an in-house volunteer at Food52, which was my springboard into doing it professionally. I’ve always been a fan of Amanda’s palate and Merrill’s simple recipe combinations. This book, which came out in January of 2017, is full of great advice and weekly breakdowns on meal planning, grocery shopping, and using leftovers from one meal into the next.

Favorite Recipes: Chicken Finger Sandwich with Pickles and Special Sauce, Limeade with Basil, Couscous Salad with Zucchini, Pistachios and Feta

Great Food Fast, by Everyday Food Magazine

I still mourn the demise of food magazine Everyday Food, from the editors at Martha Stewart Living.  The entire magazine was built on easy, simple, quick recipes that did not only taste good but worked. I can’t tell you how many recipe I ripped out of its pages, for years. This cookbook is like a ‘best of’, and it’s still for sale on Amazon! Go grab it!

Favorite Recipes: Pork Chops with Rhubarb Cherry Sauce, Warm White Bean Salad, Thai-Style Steak Salad

The Splendid Table’s How to Eat Supper by Lynn Rosetto Kaspar

This is the first foodie podcast/radio show I loved! Lynn Rosetto Kasper has since stepped down from her amazing show, and Francis Lam took over. One of my favorite things to do, pre-kids and when my Saturday mornings were much calmer, was to load up my podcast lists with Splendid Table episodes and wander around the farmer’s market. Lynn’s voice is comforting and assured, and her recipes are no different- the show isn’t the same without her.

Favorite Recipes: Pan Crisped Deviled Eggs, South of France Tomato Soup with Young Chevre, Moroccan Green Bean Tagine

Easy Sheet Pan Cookbook and The Healthy Sheet Pan Cookbook

Yes, these are MY cookbooks which I unabashedly love. How can I not? Both books are, of course, near and dear to my heart. I wrote most of Easy Sheet Pan in quarantine during the early days of the coronavirus in 2020 (while recovering from said virus… these recipes were some of the first things I tasted once my tastebuds came back!) Healthy Sheet Pan Cookbook was written while juggling 3 jobs during my daughter’s first year of school, so the recipes come together quickly and are super flavorful- I was not in a position to mince flavor or speed in those days!

Favorite Recipes: In Easy Sheet Pan: Baked Crabcakes with Peach, Corn and Red Onion Salsa. In Healthy Sheet Pan: Meatballs with Sneaky Veggies, Roasted Tomatoes, and Mozzarella

Damn Delicious Cookbook by Chungah Rhee 

Damn Delicious is a damn good food blog, and if you haven’t checked her out yet, I really recommend that you do! Her Korean Beef Bowl is a weeknight staple around here. This is another one of my newer cookbooks, but I have made a few things in here so far that I’m seriously digging. It’s a lot like her site, so if you look around and find stuff you like there, you’re gonna love this book.

Favorite Recipes (so far!): California Roll Bowls, Pork Chops with Sweet and Sour Glaze

That’s it! What are your favorite quick and easy cookbooks? Hit me up in the comments below or on Facebook and tell me what I should check out next!

You might also like: 

17 Easy Sheet Pan Dinners for Busy Nights

The ‘Must Have’ Kitchen Gadget Arsenal 

Ruthy Kirwan

Ruthy Kirwan is a recipe tester and developer living in NYC with her two small kids and hard-working husband. She created Percolate Kitchen in 2016 to help busy people get their act together in the kitchen. Learn more at

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Item added to cart.
0 items - $0.00

black friday
25% OFF everything!

Coupon Code - PKBLACK21
* Terms & Conditions Apply
25% Off shop-wide thru Monday with code PKBLACK21!


With 65+ recipes made in 45 minutes or less, using only a single sheet pan… this is the cookbook busy people need to conquer their weeknights in the kitchen!