Cookbook Reviews

Cookbook Review: Rachael Ray’s 365: No Repeats, Express Lane Meals & Just in Time

A couple of weeks ago, I received a stack of Rachael Ray’s cookbooks for review, including, 365: No Repeats, Express Lane Meals and Just in Time. As someone who devours a cookbook akin to the latest bestselling bedtime read, I was ecstatic. But on the other hand, as someone who can’t resist the urge to flip the channel whenever RR has one of her umpteen show on, I was a bit skeptical. You see, like many out there, I too find her a bit too jumpy to be had with my morning cuppa – which is why I try and tune in to her during lunch time.

One thing I have to hand out to her however – she’s one helluva creative cook! And I mean that in the most nicest way I can. A quick glance through her list of recipes can’t help but pique your interest and tempt you to flip over to the particular page. If you thought she could only get creative with naming her dishes, wait till you actually read through the recipe itself! How many times have you found yourself cooking your tried-and-tested favourites week after week – not because you enjoy them that much, but because you’re stumped for ideas! I know I’m guilty of doing so. If anything, these books have taught me to throw caution to the wind and get even more creative with my cooking. Her recipes encourage you to think outside the box and opt for unconventional ideas. While she does pair many classic flavour combinations together, her way planning a meal around these flavours is what most appeals to me. It’s fun, fast, and makes for a great evening cooking!

Rachael Ray certainly knows her way around the kitchen. If you’ve ever watched an episode of her 30-minute meals cooking show, you’d notice how Rachael always put a stress on having a well stocked fridge, freezer and pantry. That, equipped with simple fast cooking tricks enables her to create a whole meal in a matter of minutes. The same goes for the recipes in her books as well. Many of her recipes combine stove-top cooking with a final few minutes of finishing in the oven to get that baked goodness. She uses ready-made stocks and sauces as a starter and flavours them as she goes along, cutting down on cooking time and adding a personal touch as well.

Going through the three books, I couldn’t get myself to find many distinctions between them. Which is why I’ve opted to review them as a batch instead. My honest assumption would be: if you’ve read one, you’ve read them all, and unless you’re a die-hard fan of Rachael, and want to own everything with her name on it, you might just be happy with owning only one.

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  • Reply
    July 30, 2008

    hmm..i like to watch her show. i got few of her book not bad! 🙂
    like the way she does variations on some of the meals, because that’s how I cook sometimes, especially with soups.

  • Reply
    June 4, 2008

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  • Reply
    Mary Beth
    June 1, 2008

    While I use 365 No Repeats 4-5 times a week, I agree that the others have basically the same recipes. I got really excited about receiving Express Lane Meals as a gift, but I then passed it on to another friend because there was nothing new in it. However, I may have to get a new copy of 365 N R because the binding’s broken and some of the recipes have serious spillage on them:)

  • Reply
    May 30, 2008

    Though I don’t own any of her books, there are quite a few times that I’ve watched her show and got exactly what you talked about in your review – she does come up with some clever ways of jazzing up the regulars we make. That said, I don’t think I can watch the show daily 🙂

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