Friday, August 9, 2013

Cookbook Review: Recipes Across America: 735 of the Best Recipes from Across the Nation from Taste of Home

Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book by the publisher in order to write up an honest review.  The view shared are mine and mine alone.


735 of the Best Recipes from Across the Nation

Published by Reader's Digest
Hardcover: 512 pages
September 12, 2013; $24.99 US/$27.99 CAN
ISBN: 9781617651526

Enjoy the flavors of the USA

"One of the greatest pleasures of traveling is sampling the mouthwatering local foods. Do you recall an item that you would love to enjoy again, such as Chicago Deep-Dish Pizza, Southern Fried Chicken or Mississippi Mud Cake? You'll find those classic regional recipes right here in Taste of Home Recipes Across America.

Divided into five regions (Northeast, South, Midwest, Southwest, and West), Recipes Across America offers 735 delectable specialties enjoyed by locals, including unforgettable dishes using regional produce. You'll even discover ethnic specialties passed down through generations that became hometown favorites. Best of all, these dishes are shared by real family cooks just like you!

Here are just some of the highlights from each region.

Northeast: Philly Cheese Steak, Yankee Pot Roast, New Haven Clam Pizza, Authentic Boston Brown Bread, Buffalo Chicken Wings, Amish Sugar Cookies and Brooklyn Blackout Cake
South: Shrimp Po-Boys, South Carolina-Style Ribs, Bacon Collard Green, Cheese 'n' Grits Casserole, Georgia Peanut Salsa, Sweet Potato Fries, Banana Pudding and Hummingbird Cake
Midwest: Church Supper Hot Dish, Onion Loose Meat Sandwiches, Cherry Wild Rice Salad, German Potato Salad, Chocolate-Covered Buckeyes, Golden Apple Snack Cake and State Fair Cream Puffs
Southwest: Arizona Chicken, Barbecued Beef Brisket, Chicken-Fried Steaks, Sizzling Tex-Mex Fajitas, Armadillo Eggs, Texas Caviar, Dr Pepper Barbecue Sauce, Classic Fruit Kolaches, German Chocolate Cake and Tres Leches Cake
West: Buffalo Steak Salad, Chicken Long Rice, Pacific Rim Salmon, California Sushi Rolls, Green Goddess Salad Dressing, Romaine Caesar Salad, Utah Buttermilk Scones, Caramel-Frosted Potato Cake, Oregon's Best Marionberry Pie and Lemon Tart with Almond Crust

In addition, hundreds of snapshots of food festivals and landmarks are scattered among the pages.

And as a bonus, you'll also find food folklore, recipe histories and fun food facts. For example, did you know that though Coney Island evokes images of amusement parks, the beach and New York, Chili Coney Dogs are not from New York. These hot dogs are actually natives of Detroit. The dogs are topped with beanless chili, some onions and yellow mustard. Cincinnatians top theirs with shredded cheese and call them cheesy Coneys.

You can plan a Southern summertime barbecue, feed hungry hands with Tex-Mex, enjoy the silky smoothness of maple syrup pie, have a German celebration for Okoberfest, or dine as the Hollywood stars do with a Classic Cobb Salad. With Recipes Across America, the country is yours from coast to coast."

My Thoughts:

While it has not been fun being sick with the girls these past few weeks, staying indoors most of the time has given me an opportunity to spend more time in the kitchen trying out recipes I have been meaning to try, as well as try out new ones I found in the upcoming Recipes Across America from Taste of Home.  If you follow my blog, then you know how much I love cookbooks.  I have lost count on the number of cookbooks I owe -- which is well over 200. And, whenever the holidays or a special occasion, or if I get an itching to get in the kitchen, I will go to my hall closet where all my cookbooks are and flip through a few to find a new recipe to try.  Out of all my cookbooks, I have to say my favorites are those from Taste of HomeI love how they share recipes from other home cooks, which they have tried out in their test kitchens, and include short snippets about how each person came up with the recipe, or why they love it so much.  In addition to the easy to prepare recipes, these cookbooks also include mouth watering full color photos of the recipes.  I can't tell you how many times I have pulled a cookbook to look at, and been disappointed that I couldn't see what the final product would look like.  Yes, it is all well and dandy to read a recipe, but it is even better to see what you would be making.  Usually, this is how I choose the recipes I want to try.  If it looks good in the photo, then I know it will taste even better when put on the table. :-)

So, when the folks at Taste of Home reached out to see if I wanted to review this upcoming Recipes Across America cookbook, how could I say, "No?"  And, within a few days of responding to their inquiry, the book arrived at my doorstep.  I was like a kid on Christmas morning, receiving the one gift he/she really wanted.  I love cookbooks, and read them like novels, cover to cover.  And, when I get a new cookbook, I can't wait to find quiet time to first read through each and every recipe and mark up the pages to recipes I want to try.  Then, the difficult part comes - finding time to get into the kitchen to try them out.  But, like I said, I have been grounded for about 2 1/2 weeks now, and have found myself having a couple of hours in the afternoon to myself, while the girls nap and try to kick the cold we have been passing around and fighting off.  While there are so many other recipes from other cookbooks I have been meaning to get to, this cookbook took precedence --- not just because I had to review it, but because I had almost the entire book marked up with sticky notes, highlighting the recipes I wanted to try.  

Even though my girls are picky eaters, they are starting to come around and sample new foods that I make.  And, if the kitchen smells good, the girls will walk into the kitchen to see what I am making and ask to try it.  My favorite part about this new cookbook from Taste of Home, besides offering 735 mouth watering recipes, is that it is divided into five regions (Northeast, South, Midwest, Southwest, and West).  As you flip through the pages of this cookbook, you will find stories and history tidbits on the left and right sides of each page.  I loved learning about new places and seeing how recipes got their names and how certain ingredients are tied to these places.  

Being from the Northeast, as I was born in Boston, MA and grew up in a small town outside the city, before settling in Eastern CT with my husband, and now two daughters, I had to look at the Northeast section first. :-)  I was familiar with many of the recipes and have tried many of them out over the years, through similar recipes I have acquired through family, friends and other cookbooks.  The next section I checked out was the South.  With a blog name, Inspired by Savannah, and having named my first daughter, Savannah, you can see how I have a love for Savannah, GA, and the foods of the South.  Hopefully, one day we can move down South and share the beauty and delicious cuisine with the girls.  But, in the meantime, I have recipes from cookbooks like Recipes Across America to turn to when I have a craving for friend chicken with sausage gravy, hoppin Johns and fried green tomatoes.

Overall, I am loving this new cookbook from Taste of Home, and can't wait to get into the kitchen again this weekend to try out more recipes, to serve up to family and friends.  But, in the meantime, please enjoy two of my favorite recipes, which I have made a couple of times since receiving this cookbook, that can be found in Recipes Across America cookbook (available online now until September, and then in stores nationwide beginning Sept. 1st).



Baked Blueberry & Peach Oatmeal

Baked oatmeal is a staple in our home. It’s very easy to prepare the night before; just keep the dry and wet ingredients separate until ready to bake. I’ve tried a variety of fruits in this dish, but the blueberry and peach combination is our favorite.

-- Rosemarie Weleski, Natrona Heights, Pennsylvania

Prep: 20 min.
Bake: 35 min.
Makes: 9 servings

3 cups old-fashioned oats
½ cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
2 egg whites
1 egg
1¼ cups fat-free milk
¼ cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 can (15 ounces) sliced peaches in juice, drained and chopped
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
⅓ cup chopped walnuts
    Additional fat-free milk, optional
1. In a large bowl, combine the oats, brown sugar, baking powder and salt. Whisk the egg whites, egg, milk, oil and vanilla; add to dry ingredients and stir until blended. Let stand for 5 minutes. Stir in peaches and blueberries.
2. Transfer to an 11x7-in. baking dish coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle with the walnuts. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 35-40 minutes or until top is lightly browned and a thermometer reads 160°. Serve oatmeal with additional milk if desired.


Louisiana Red Beans and Rice

Smoked turkey sausage and red pepper flakes punch up the flavor of this saucy, slow-cooked version of the New Orleans classic. For extra heat, add red pepper sauce at the table.

-- Julia Bushree, Georgetown, Texas

Prep: 20 min.
Cook: 8 hours
Makes: 9 servings

4 cans (16 ounces each) kidney beans, rinsed and drained1 can (14½ ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 package (14 ounces) smoked turkey sausage, sliced
1 cup chicken broth
3 celery ribs, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1 medium green pepper, chopped
1 small sweet red pepper, chopped
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 bay leaf
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 green onions, chopped
Hot cooked rice
1. In a 4-qt. slow cooker, combine the first 11 ingredients. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours or until vegetables are tender. Stir before serving. Discard bay leaf.
2. Sprinkle each serving with onions. Serve with rice.



Recipes Across America offers 735 recipes - it's the biggest-ever collection of regional favorites and must have recipes

From now until September it's available for purchase only at: Come September, it's available wherever books are sold. 


About Catherine Cassidy, Taste of Home Editor-in-Chief.

Catherine M. Cassidy is Editor-in-Chief of Taste of Home. She is responsible for driving editorial direction and product strategy across the brand's media platforms. They include Taste of Home, the number one food and entertaining magazine in the world;; social media; special interest publications; and cookbooks. She also is responsible for editorial direction for the magazines Simple & Delicious and Healthy Cooking and Enthusiast Brands Birds and Blooms, Country, Country Woman, Farm and Ranch Living, and Reminisce.

Cassidy has toured the country as the face of Taste of Home for national and local TV, radio, and newspaper interviews in support of the best-selling Taste of Home products, including its cookbooks.

Prior to joining Taste of Home, Cassidy served as Editor-in-Chief of Prevention magazine, the nation's largest health publication, at Rodale, Inc. Cassidy joined Rodale in 1986 as an associate editor in the book division, and was later named Executive Editor of Rodale's Custom Publishing division. She started her career at Runner's World andFit magazines in Mountain View, California. Cassidy lives in Mequon, Wisconsin, with her husband and two daughters.

About Taste of Home

Taste of Home is a go-to resource for the holidays and any time of the year for information on food, cooking and entertaining. Each year, thousands of great home cooks from across the United States and Canada submit more than 40,000 recipes, of which 3,000 are published in Taste of Home magazines and online, making Taste of Home one of the largest and most successful practitioners of user generated content. Before being published, every recipe is tested in the Taste of Home Test Kitchen to ensure that it can be prepared with affordable, everyday ingredients from regular grocery stores. Taste of Home content is available in print; online at; in books; via digital download on iPad, mobile apps and Kindle; and Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

For more information please visit, and follow on Facebook and Twitter

Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book by the publisher in order to write up an honest review.  The view shared are mine and mine alone.

1 comment :

  1. I love Taste of Home Cookbooks. This looks like another good one.