Food & Drink

Cookbooks We Love: Weeknights With Giada

If you've recently watched episodes of "Giada at Home" or "Today," you've probably noticed that Giada De Laurentiis often has an adorable toddler in tow. That's her daughter, Jade -- and she has changed the way Giada cooks.

In her second cookbook since Jade was born, Giada's getting into the swing of putting dinner on the table despite an increasingly busy family schedule. No more are the days of leisurely strolls through the supermarket and three-course meals for dinner. Embracing this change in lifestyle, Giada has written a cookbook called Weeknights With Giada: Quick and Simple Recipes to Revamp Dinner. It's "for everyone who comes home after a long day and wonders what to cook for dinner." That's pretty much everyone, right?

If you're wondering how this book differs from Giada's previous four cookbooks (see a list of them below), this one takes a more laid-back approach than the others -- you won't see any six-hour, slow-cooked roasts, but rather all of the recipes can be made in under an hour. If you're worried that will translate into oversimplified, flavorless recipes, don't fret -- we didn't notice much of a difference from the style and quality of Giada's classic recipes.

Jade's presence is felt throughout the book as Giada shifts out of the baby-food phase and introduces her tot to the family dinner. Jade also makes herself known in a much more palpable way -- we counted 15 photos of the toddler scattered prominently throughout the book's pages. Whether that's a draw or a deterrent to readers, Giada is ultimately the person who will sell copies of the book. Those who've watched her cooking show have seen the way she devours the food she creates, turning each bite she takes into a seductive art form. While that unfortunately doesn't necessarily translate on the pages of a cookbook, the beautiful color photographs take a close second.

What the book promises
"This is what weeknights look like in my house. I hope these recipes inspire you and your family to gather around the table (or picnic blanket!) for some fantastic dinners -- and, most important, a whole lot of fun. Buon appetite!" -- Giada

-- Mouthwatering Recipes:
Creamy Cauliflower Soup with Bacon
Toasted Ciabatta with Shrimp, Tarragon and Arugula
Sweet Corn and Basil Lasagna
Orzo with Smoky Tomato Vinaigrette
Tomato-Basil Bread Pudding
Grilled Creamed Corn with Spinach and Parmesan
Arugula Pesto, Ricotta, and Smoked Mozzarella Pizza
-- All of the recipes can be made in under an hour, and were created with easy clean-up in mind.
-- Gorgeous color photography that makes you want to take a bite out of the page.
-- It's got the Giada factor. Anyone who loves Giada will likely love this book.

-- You may not want to feed your 4-year-old the Jalapeno and Cherry Tomato Gazpacho. The book isn't completely kid-friendly, unless you've got an adventurous eater on your hands. And in that case, this might end up turning into a "pro."
-- You won't find anything too out of the ordinary here.

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5
It may not be filled with the most inspiring recipes, but that's not this book's intention. For what it promises to be -- easy weeknight meals that are fresh, flavorful, and quick to the table -- this book delivers.

Watch Giada in action below