Get Cooking: 150 Simple Recipes to Get You Started in the Kitchen


Do you want to eat really well—not just once in a while, but all the time—but you don't know where to begin?

Are you tired of pizza—as much as you like it—and broke from buying takeout?

Do you love good food—the straightforward, homemade kind—but feel challenged to set up a kitchen, shop for decent equipment and groceries, and tap into a few basic skills that can put a simple roast chicken or vegetarian entrée...

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Get Cooking

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Do you want to eat really well—not just once in a while, but all the time—but you don't know where to begin?

Are you tired of pizza—as much as you like it—and broke from buying takeout?

Do you love good food—the straightforward, homemade kind—but feel challenged to set up a kitchen, shop for decent equipment and groceries, and tap into a few basic skills that can put a simple roast chicken or vegetarian entrée on your dinner table?

If you answer "yes" to these questions, then Get Cooking is for you. Get Cooking is the first book from bestselling cookbook author Mollie Katzen designed specifically for beginners, whether you are just starting to cook for yourself or trying to kick the restaurant habit. Unlike most cookbooks, the goal of Get Cooking is to get you in the kitchen, no matter what your experience level might be.

Illustrated throughout with color photographs of each dish, Get Cooking gives you clear, step-by-step instructions for making everything from classic mashed potatoes to Broccoli–Cheddar Cheese Calzones to Hot Fudge Sundaes (with homemade hot fudge!). With this book, anyone—you included—can make delicious, fresh food, with a lot less expense (and a lot more satisfaction) than ordering in.

You may know Mollie Katzen as the author of such famous cookbooks as Moosewood Cookbook or The Enchanted Broccoli Forest; Get Cooking has all of the accessibility and personal warmth of those beloved books, but it is Mollie's first cookbook for vegetarians and omnivores alike. You will learn how to make North African Red Lentil Soup, Linguine with Spinach and Peas, and Chickpea and Mango Curry—and also Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup, Spinach Lasagna, and Steak Fajitas.

With Get Cooking in hand, you'll be serving everything from salads (such as Wilted Spinach Salad with Hazelnuts, Goat Cheese, and Golden Raisins) to desserts (try the Cheesecake Bars), with stops along the way for party snacks, a full array of side dishes, and a brilliant assortment of handcrafted burgers (bean, tofu, and mushroom—as well as beef, turkey, and tuna). Here at last is the cookbook that will make a cook out of everyone.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Mollie Katzen earned her place in the James Beard Cookbook Hall of Fame and countless eaters' hearts with classics like The Moosewood Cookbook and The Enchanted Broccoli Forest. Here, she answers calls from novices who want to learn to cook pronto. She fills the table with 150 basic, foolproof recipes that even the most apprehensive kitchen-phobe can conquer. The goodies include soups, homemade pastas, roast chicken, burgers, vegan specialties, chocolate chip cookies, and more.
Publishers Weekly
There’s an inherent difficulty in encapsulating basic kitchen knowledge in a single book, but Katzen’s latest is a fresh, contemporary entry in the 101 subgenre. This is likely because she has some experience—Katzen’s The Moosewood Cookbook and Enchanted Broccoli Forest cookbooks have been unofficial required reading for cooking students for decades, and her latest speaks directly to a newer, more food-savvy generation of just-starting-out cooks. Launched in conjunction with a companion Web site and illustrated by Katzen’s own photographs, this newest is divided into basic categories like soups, salads, pastas and desserts. Naturally, given her meatless pedigree, she gives vegetarian options with bright flavors (acorn squash stuffed with fruited basmati pilaf; mango curry) their own chapter. While the recipes cover the traditional home repertoire—spaghetti and meatballs, an excellent and simple roast chicken, apple crisp—Katzen also sneaks in some more intriguing flavors by way of a North African red lentil soup, cherry clafouti and Thai green curry along with explanations of more unusual ingredients like jicama and panko. Encouraging cooks to experiment with additions and flavor combinations, she suggests alternatives in a running “Get Creative” sidebar. Rounding out the training is a short primer on kitchen tools, pantry items and photos that illustrate vegetable chopping techniques. Katzen’s enthusiasm for the subject and her ability to keep the proceedings truly simple makes for the rare beginner’s book that accomplishes its mission. Photos. (Oct.)
Library Journal
Katzen's (Moosewood Cookbook; The Enchanted Broccoli Forest) first cookbook for aspiring cooks will have a companion web site,, live this month, offering video cooking lessons. The book itself offers an invaluable list of equipment and advice (you can never have too many cutting boards), plus an illustrated vegetable-chopping guide. The 150 recipes for such common dishes as chicken noodle soup, potato salad, and spaghetti and meatballs are a good starting place for beginners. The recipes note variations, complementary dishes, and vegan dishes. Highly recommended for new cooks. Author tour and library marketing.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061732430
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 10/13/2009
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 521,403
  • Product dimensions: 6.90 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

With more than six million books in print, Mollie Katzen is listed by the New York Times as one of the bestselling cookbook authors of all time. A 2007 inductee into the prestigious James Beard Cookbook Hall of Fame, and largely credited with moving healthful food from the "fringe" to the center of the American dinner plate, Mollie has been named by Health magazine as one of the "Five Women Who Changed the Way We Eat."

In addition, she is a charter member of the Harvard School of Public Health Nutrition Roundtable and an inaugural honoree of the Natural Health Hall of Fame. An award-winning illustrator and designer as well as a bestselling cookbook author and popular public speaker, Mollie is best known as the creator of the groundbreaking classics Moosewood Cookbook and The Enchanted Broccoli Forest. Her other books include the children's trilogy Pretend Soup, Honest Pretzels, and Salad People (referred to as the "gold standard" of children's cookbooks) by the New York Times), and a collaboration with Walter Willett, M.D., of Harvard, on Eat, Drink, and Weigh Less.

Since 2003, Mollie Katzen has been an adviser to Harvard University Dining Services, and cocreator of their new Food Literacy Project. This is the first volume of her new Get Cooking series, continuing Mollie's lifelong mission to spread cooking knowledge and food literacy as broadly as possible.

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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 18, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Cooking for the beginner or clueless

    Foolproof recipes for the incompetent cooker (myself), or the beginner. I am sick of eating out and ramen noodles! I wanted to eat healthier, deliciously, and affordably. Great book on how to set up a basic kitchen, learn the terminology and techniques simply. Encourages confidence from shopping, chopping, and meal planning and preperation. 150 basic foolproof recipes that create a base upon which to build upon and inspires creativity in spicing alchemy... did you know you can make your mashed potatoes asian inspired with wasabi?! I tried it... served alongside my fresh greenbean almond stirfry. YUM!!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 23, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Fantastic for novice and budding cooks

    I bought this book as a (completely self-serving) Valentine's Day gift for my boyfriend, who cannot cook. We have been long time fans of Mollie Katzen and I was excited to see her add some meat/poultry and seafood recipes to her typically veg repertoire. I am an omnivore and my boyfriend is an occasional meat-sneaking vegetarian. The recipes remind me of home style classics that I learned to cook by. Only, I wish I had Mollie to guide me through the process. The recipes are pretty basic and certainly not intimidating, but also offer more advanced or creative ideas to add when you get the confidence to. The get cooking website is a brilliant compliment, but the book alone should prove an invaluable resource to anyone looking to gain some basic culinary know how.
    I especially like the recipes for: chinese chicken salad, three bean salad (how retro), black bean burgers, braised brussels sprouts, spaghetti with meatballs and stuffed acorn squassh.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 13, 2010

    Excellent cookbook for beginners and for experienced cooks

    Get Cooking contains many delicious recipes. The directions are clear, informative and instructive. This is a wonderful book to own and give as a gift.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2010

    Excellent Once again - Love the New Additions

    I just wanted to express my thanks to Molly Katzen for being daring enough to include beef stew in her new cookbook. I have used and enjoyed her cookbooks for 30(?) years - it seems like forever.

    I didn't pick recipes or her cookbooks because of vegetarianism but simply good eating. I'm an omnivore, an economic omnivore. I eat whom I can afford. In addition to gardens I raise my own meat, on pasture, and slaughter it myself to assure that my family gets the best quality without involving the Big Ag CAFO high petroleum input pharmaceutical meat industry. We can raise and eat meat sustainably.

    Some people have the misguided idea that eating meat is murder or dying is painful. Neither is innately true. We create the lives we take to eat. This is natural just as the wolf, the tiger, the bear and the shark. Slaughter as done with modern humane methods is orders of magnitude more humane than death in the wild. Anyone who fails to understand this should seriously investigate and understand the brutal drawn out process when prey dies at the claws and teeth of predators in the wild.

    The reality is we are all a part of the natural world, part of the web of life. Only a Kingdomist would make a suggestion that we all must go vegan. The reality is we eat and we all shall be eaten in our time, unless one goes for extra crispy (cremation) or pickled (embalming) which are terrible wastes of nutrients and energy. When my time comes I want to be composted and spread on my apple trees, strawberries and rhubarb.

    Eat meat, just less than average of it. Eat pastured meat, not confinement raised, petroleum intensive, chemical laced CAFO meat. There is balance in everything. Have balance in ones diet too. So a big thank you to Molly for being brave enough to publish a recipe for 'beef stew'. In little ways we do make a difference.


    Walter Jeffries
    Sugar Mountain Farm, LLC
    Orange, Vermont

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 18, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Get Cooking - straightforward recipes, tasty rewards!

    Get Cooking takes the beginner through all the steps, clearly and briefly, from how to study a recipe to make sure that you have all the ingredients and tools and to understand the whole process of preparing the food to getting it on the table on time.

    Each chapter begins with the essential facts about the type of food, the tools and ingredients that you will most often use, and even an assessment when the inexpensive or moderately priced tools and ingredients will suffice and the times when the added expense is worthwhile.

    Katzen describes the cuisine as "'Big Tent,' accommodating a broad base of tastes and needs, vegetarian, meat-loving and everything in between." Most of the dishes are familiar - the items that you'd find at a party, picnic, or enjoy at home. We've made the teriyaki chicken thighs and the poached salmon - which were both easy and tasty! I am eager to try the recipes for carmelized balsamic-red onion soup with cheese-topped croutons, linguini with clam sauce, linguine with spinach and peas, green pea and feta quiche, and deeply roasted cauliflower.
    The three bean salad, mac and cheese, spaghetti with meatballs, pasta with tuna, white beans, and artichoke hearts, chinese-style peanut noodles, chocolate-chip mint cookies and intensely chocolate brownies are sure to become regulars at our home.

    Get Cooking would be excellent for someone just learning to cook - it gives you the essentials of cooking in simple steps and offers tasty rewards for your effort.

    Publisher: HarperStudio (October 13, 2009), 288 pages.
    Review copy provided by the publisher.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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