Cooking Light Magazine
Sometimes the things in here are too fancy for me, but the pictures are so beautiful. Even if I never make any of the recipes, it's wonderful to read them. And I finally did make a recipe from the April 2002 issue, Pasta Primavera, and it was FABULOUS! I also loved Potatoes au Gratin.
The Fannie Farmer Baking Book by Marion Cunningham.
This is a great beginner's baking book. It has very detailed instructions for important steps in baking. It takes you through a basic recipe step-by-step, then gives you many recipes that you can make using these techniques. Cornmeal Crust for Pumpkin Pie and Banana Cake.
Hershey's Homemade by The Hershey's Kitchens
Chocolate, chocolate, chocolate. Need I say more? Actually, I do. I got Two Chocolate Glazes from this book. I also use it for a fail-safe, good every single time (no kidding), moist, yummy Black Magic Cake, as well as Rocky Road Brownies. Check out the Hershey's Kitchens website, too.
Los Angeles Times Food Section
I've taken to perusing the Food Section when it comes out on Wednesdays. Sometimes I come up with a hit, like Farfalle With Swiss Chard or Crusty Herb Bread, and some weeks I don't find anything that fits my criteria, which is number of Weight Watchers points, lack of mushrooms for Shawn, and speed/ease of preparation.
Richard Simmons Farewell to Fat Cookbook
Okay. Richard Simmons is incredibly silly. But this is a Great cookbook. Every recipe has a beautiful picture, and the recipes are mostly very easy, without a lot of complicated ingredients that you can only find in the gourmet stores. Unfortunately for him, but lucky for you, this book is available on the remainder rack at Barnes and Noble at a discount. Pecan Oven Fried Chicken and Swanky Flanky steak are some of my favorite recipes from this cookbook.
The Silver Palate Cookbook;
The Silver Palate Good Times Cookbook; and
The New Basics by Julee Rosso & Sheila Lukins.
I'm not sure that it's possible to make a bad recipe from these books. Everything I've ever made from these turns out beautifully. However, this is not the book for timid cooks. Most recipes are almost too fancy for me. When you want something extra special, this is where to find a great recipe. Lemon Poppyseed Cake and Cornbread Stuffing with Sage Sausage are from these books.