Whether it’s weekday Mexican from a celebrity chef or veg-centric dishes by an Iron Chef champ, these new cookbooks will take your kitchen game back to school.

By Eric Velland


Make Ahead Meals by Michael Smith (Penguin Canada, $32)

As a father of three, Food Network Canada star Michael Smith is no stranger to the pressures of putting out wholesome, delicious meals for your family day after day. With over 100 drool-worthy recipes, the celebrity chef focuses on strategic planning and cooking ahead so dinner is just a quick, stress-free assembly. Dive into this family-friendly book and watch your kids go wild for homey dishes like El Paso’s Shepherd’s Pie and Chipotle Chicken Enchiladas.


A Girl and Her Greens by April Bloomfield with JJ Goode (Ecco, $43.50)

New York City–based Iron Chef America champion April Bloomfield rose to fame on her carnivorous cooking and nose-to-tail ethos. She does, however, get equally excited about vegetables, and shares her passion in this terrific new tome. Gorgeously shot and illustrated, the book showcases Bloomfield’s talent for robust flavours and unique combinations like Roasted and Raw Fennel Salad with Blood Orange and Bottarga. There are also some excellent root-to-leaf recipes like a revelatory Carrot Top Pesto.


More Mexican Everyday by Rick Bayless with Deann Groen Bayless (WW Norton, $42)

While Mexican cuisine can intimidate with its complex mole sauces and labour-intensive tamales, Chicago chef and Mexican food authority Rick Bayless makes a good case for cooking it every day. Recipes are stripped down, convenience foods are used, and make-ahead condiments like the smoky-sweet salsa negra keep the flames burning. No tortilla is left unturned, there’s even a chapter for slow cookers with dishes like a classic Red Chile Pozole with Pork.

Get more recipes and entertaining ideas here: The Kit