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Ten Dollar Dinners by Melissa d'Arabian

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Ten Dollar Dinners serves up restaurant-style cuisine without restaurant prices.

Book Cover Courtesy Clarkson Potter
I had a problem with the cookbook Ten Dollar Dinners: 140 Recipes and Tips to Elevate Simple, Fresh Meals Any Night of the Week by Food Network Star Melissa d'Arabian from the moment it arrived on my doorstep. I simply couldn't stop reading the recipes or narrow my choices on which ones to try first.

There's not a single recipe of the 140 within the cookbook's pages that I wouldn't eat. And I'm just as much of a picky eater as my 2 year old.

Some of the 100+ recipes include:

  • Crispy Kale Chips
  • French Onion Soup
  • California-Style Bruschetta
  • Tomato Salad-Topped Grilled Pizza
  • Crispy Chicken a l'Orange
  • Chicken Taquitos
  • Spinach and Cheese-Stuffed Chicken with Lemon Butter
  • Everyday Roast Beef
  • Succulent Pot Roast-Style Pork Shoulder
  • Simple Sirloin Steak with Shallot Butter
  • Black Bean "Nacho" Burgers
  • Shrimp Scampi Linguine
  • Crispy Potato Cake
  • Rigatoni with No-Cook Tomato Sauce
  • Bruleed Mandarin Oranges and Sabayon
  • Raspberry-Vanilla Bread Pudding with Lemon Cream
  • Double Chocolate Pound Cake
  • Scrambled Eggs with Wild Mushrooms
  • Apple-Carrot Mini Muffins
  • Philippe's Sunday Morning Waffles

The way the recipes have been written makes them easy to follow too. There's nothing more annoying than trying a new recipe and having to glance at the cookbook over and over again because you don't understand the instructions.

Ten Dollar Dinners doesn't have that problem. The easy-to-read instructions feel more like a cooking class than a textbook.

What makes this cookbook stand out is d'Arabian's personality shining through on every page. With each recipe, she writes why it's special to her, what she loves about that particular food or how you can get those five-star ingredients, such as shrimp, at rock-bottom prices.

The pictures inside the cookbook are another great touch. Of course, the pictures of the food are mouth-watering good. But you'll also find pictures of d'Arabian and her family.

Her Ten Dollar Dinners show is centered around family and providing budget-friendly meal options. Viewers who pick up her cookbook will instantly know she's the same warm-hearted person in the pages as she is on TV. After all, she dedicated the cookbook to her husband and daughters with the words, "You made this happen, and you make this matter."

You've got the recipes. You've got the pictures. That's where most cookbooks stop. However, d'Arabian provides you with valuable tips on how you can save money. From "Strategies for Saving" to what to keep in your pantry so you can whip up a $10 dinner on the fly, her knowledge of family meal planning makes any meal affordable and easy to make.

About Melissa d'Arabian

You may know d'Arabian from her shows Ten Dollar Dinners on Food Network and Drop 5 lbs with Good Housekeeping on Cooking Channel. She first arrived in millions of people's homes on season five of The Next Food Network Star. d'Arabian beat out nine other contenders to win the competition for her own show, which catapulted the stay-at-home mom of four girls into the spotlight with her budget-friendly plan to put homecooked meals on the table every night for 10 bucks or less.

I talked to d'Arabian about cooking, competing and her life as a stay-at-home mom as she knocked out her competitors one-by-one on The Next Food Network Star and again after she won the competition. Not only is she passionate about food and helping families save money while putting high-quality meals on the table, she's also a super-nice person. When you flip through the pages of her cookbook and try to decide if it's right for you, it's easy to see that she's the same person on TV as she is in the book as she is in person.

Disclosure: A review copy was provided. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.
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