This cookbook has a copyright of 2006. I don't know where I got this cookbook. I have never cooked from this book before.
I know there is a lot of controversy about Cooks Illustrated or Americas Test Kitchen recipes. I'm not going to go there with this cookbook. I do know that sometimes I don't always read why the recipe is written the way it is or the several pages of steps that Cooks Illustrated went through to get to this recipe. Sometimes I just look at the recipe and if it looks interesting, I'll make it.
If you already own one of Cooks Illustrated Cookbooks or subscribe to the magazine, you pretty much know how this book is laid out. They are all pretty much the same.
There is a preface by Christopher Kimball which explains the cookbook is to contain recipes that usually take longer than 30 minutes to make (lasagna being one) and that they have cut the time down to 30 minutes (skillet lasagna being the quick version). There is a great index (I really like the Cooks Illustrated indexes...always seem to make it easy to find recipes, ingredients, techniques etc). There are two pages of conversions. Though there are a ton of recipes in this cookbook, there are only 16 photos (all full page with one photo in the middle of the cookbook).
Chapters include: Hearty Egg Suppers; Salad for Supper; Soup for Dinner; Rethinking Stews and Chilis; Mix-and-Match Stir-Fries; Skillet Suppers; Skillet Pasta; While the Pasta Cooks; Flash in the Pan; From a Hot Oven; and Starting with Leftovers. Each chapter then has it's own breakdown...Under "Skillet Pasta" you have many categories like Lasagna; Spaghetti and Meatballs; Pasta Alla Carbonara; and while there is only recipe listed under the last two, Lasagna lists Skillet Lasagna and Skillet Lasagna with Sausage and Red Bell Pepper (basically it will list any variations listed under the main recipe).
As with most of Cooks Illustrated cookbooks, throughout you will find illustrations for techniques, ingredients, step by step instructions , and equipment. Interspersed throughout are segments on Kitchen Shortcuts (grating ginger); Test Kitchen Tips; detailed comparisons between ingredients or equipment. They include "Got Extra Time" sections here and there where for example, if a recipe calls for store bought salsa, they will tell you how to make your own. There is a detailed discussion before each recipe as to how they came about this recipe. Each recipe has pretty detailed instructions. Most recipes have variations of the main recipe (for All-American Mini Meatloaves, they have a variation of Southwestern Mini Meatloaves). No really strange or out there ingredients.
Lots of interesting recipes I'd like to try, though I seriously doubt any of them will take me 30 minutes or less (and there are complaints in reviews that these recipes do take longer). I like that there is quite a variety of different dishes offered (ie they aren't all pasta based). Dishes I'd like to try: Chorizo and Bell Pepper Scrambled Eggs with Chipotle Butter; Skillet Strata With Bacon, Scallions, and Pepper Jack Cheese; Migas; Steak and Potato Salad; Thai Style Beef Salad; Bistro Bacon and Egg Salad; Tortellini Soup; Cream of Broccoli Soup with Bacon and Cheddar; Cream of Green Pea Soup with Prosciutto and Parmesan; Cheese Toasts; Chicken Fricassee with Mushrooms; Pork Stew with Prunes and Brandy; Chicken Curry with Potatoes and Cauliflower; Sticky White Rice for Stir-Fries; Quick Homemade Biscuits; Skillet Steak Fajitas; Tartar Sauce; Skillet Lasagna; Skillet Pasta Carbonara; Skillet Baked Ziti with Vodka-Cream Sauce; Skillet Pasta Quattro Formaggi; Kung Pao-Style Shrimp with Ramen; Pasta with Mushroom-Thyme Cream Sauce; Linguine with Shrimp, Garlic and Lemon; Quick Cheesy Ravioli Bake; Soba Noodles with Pork and Scallions; Cognac and Mustard Sauce; Quick Maple Glazed Pork Chops; Chicken Pizzaiola with Mozzarella and Pepperoni; Cold Sesame Noodles with Shredded Chicken; Cuban Sandwiches.
Lots of recipes to try!