"The No-Fuss Family Cookbook" Review

"The No-Fuss Family Cookbook" Review

I came across this book, The No-Fuss Family Cookbook: Simple Recipes for Everyday Life by Ryan Scott, back at the end of January or beginning of February through NetGalley and I immediately loved it’s cover and description. Paging through the advanced digital reader version was amazing. All the food-related photos were severely drool worthy. This is definitely a book to wait to read until after you’ve eaten otherwise your grocery list is going to get huge so quickly! The first time I forced myself to limit my grocery list to only three recipes’ ingredients and when I made them they were all ten out of ten meals. I next let myself choose five more recipes and kept going and going. I’m so glad I came across this incredible cookbook.

Pinterest geared image saying the name of the cookbook I reviewed and my main blog URL. It also shows two collages with a total of eleven food-related images. All images are found below.

Image is the front cover of The No-Fuss Family Cookbook by Ryan Scott.
This image showing the cover of the cookbook was taken from the publisher’s, Houghtonm Mifflin Harcourt, website.

You can find this book, The No-Fuss Family Cookbook: Simple Recipes for Everyday Life by Ryan Scott through the publisher’s website at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt or you can check out his Instagram account @chef_ryan_scott.

When browsing through this cookbook I first noticed that although the subtitle of the book was simple recipes for everyday life most recipes took two or more pages in the book to be explained. At first this was a bit off-putting as it seemed to make the recipes more involved than the mostly one page ones I had been mostly worked with so far. Luckily, I was also struck by all of the gorgeous photos of both the food and the author’s family and was then extremely caught by the description for the old-school spiced pork hash with potatoes, herbs, and worcestershire. From there I couldn’t put the cookbook down and flipped through while salivating over so many of the incredible foods shown. I had recently decided to cook through my freezer but I couldn’t help but wish I could cook through this cookbook instead. I finally settled on just three recipes for my first foray into the cookbook which included a meal (slow cooker creamy tomato soup with cheesy waffle dippers), a salad (don’t-tell-anyone-it’s-vegan swiss chard caesar salad with hand-torn croutons), and a dessert (any-day-ending-in-“y” overnight sticky buns). All three recipes blew me away and I immediately started looking into what else I should make from the book. Before going any further I do want to add that I found several of these recipes rather salty. I’m not sure if that was on me, as I’ve been using sea salt rather than normal table salt, or if those recipes were just truly salty. I also found that many of the recipes I tried seemed rather rich; enough so, that at one point we actually took a short break as the richness was becoming a bit too much. Both issues may just be my personal choice but I felt I should mention it here to you. On that note, without any further ado, here are all the recipes I tried from this cookbook with my honest review attached:

breakfast and baked goods

ryan’s all-in-one savory breakfast bake

I knew immediately that I was going to have to make adjustments as I wasn’t able to buy the needed King’s Hawaiian sweet rolls. Instead I substituted them for brioche buns and then, while making the dish, stressed when I realized I only had six buns while the recipe called for twelve. I hadn’t used King’s Hawaiian rolls before so I started frantically looking online for their size, gave up, and was then relieved to see that the final mixture barely filled the properly sized casserole dish demonstrating that I probably used the right amount of bread. On top of all that I hadn’t bought scallions, chose to increase the mushrooms and celery a bit, replaced the half-and-half with a mixture of whole milk and heavy cream, and then realized I was out of sage so I did a last minute substitution, after looking online and seeing The Spruce Eats’ post, using an equal amount of poultry seasoning instead. Although I was really worried about the recipe changes it all turned out incredibly in the end. Even though the kids ended up not enjoying it Matt, my husband, and I thought it was the perfect supper.

Image shows the raw egg mixture in a square glass casserole dish beside an empty wrapper labelled "brioche".
I started stressing when putting the recipe together but calmed down once I saw it fit the casserole dish perfectly. For future reference I used six normal-sized brioche hamburger buns rather than the dozen King’s Hawaiian sweet rolls the recipe called for.
Image shows the same glass casserole dish filled with a peaked dish topped in melted orange cheese. Behind it sits four saucers, to the left, and stacked oven mitts to the right.
Fresh out of the oven and the casserole looked beyond amazing and smelled mouthwateringly good.
Image shows four saucers filled with the egg dish sitting on the table about to be devoured.
Matt and I each dished a large serving while the kids each had a smaller square.

A couple of days later I used up the leftovers for my lunch and they were incredibly divine. I plopped the leftovers on a plate, added jarred pepperoncini, microwaved it, and then poured some plain yogurt over top of it. The end result was even better than the first time and just thinking about it now makes me want to make the casserole again just so I could eat it with the pepperoncinis and yogurt again. Maybe, when I make this dish again, I should just double it and make two small casseroles so there could be a more kid-friendly option in one dish and a more adult-y one using pepperoncinis in the other dish.

Image shows a white bowl with the orange and tan dish with white yogurt and sliced pepperoncini. There's a spoon hiding in the large pool of yogurt surrounding the dish. Under it sits a blue potholder and the table.
Between having the flavors melded together and the addition of pepperoncini and yogurt the leftovers ended up even better than the first time we had the dish. Overall this deserves a repeat at some point soon.

old-school spiced pork hash with potatoes, herbs, and worcestershir

I absolutely loved the description of this meal and knew the second I saw it that I just had to make it. I ended up buying an eight pound piece of meat rather than the five pound the recipe called for so I increased the seasoning, made from the recipe, from a third to a half of a cup. I also realized at the last second I didn’t have allspice so I looked online and, using The Pioneer Woman, replaced it with a mixture of pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, and black pepper. Once the amazing smelling meat came out of the oven; however, I found it rather salty. I’m not sure if that was on me from increasing the seasoning amount or if the seasoning itself was too salty for my taste. That said, since the meat seemed so salty I then replaced the three teaspoons of Lawry’s seasoning salt, for the hash mixture, with only one teaspoon of no-salt Spike seasoning I had on hand. Still the finished pork hash seemed way too salty for Matt and I and we found it best to eat it with something that cut through the salty taste. I do love how this recipe has you make twice as much as you need and then save half to make the next time even simpler.

Image shows a 1/8 cup measuring cup, and empty pumpkin pie spice jar, cinnamon, and a tablespoon. The measuring cups and spoon have brown and black spices in it.
I was out of allspice so, after looking online, I used a mixture containing the last of my pumpkin pie spice, ground black pepper, and some cinnamon. It seemed to work because other than the salt I didn’t notice anything negative about the seasoned meat.
Image shows a white wide bowl and metal stand mixer bowl both with chunks of meat in it. To the right is a dutch oven with a skim of meat juice at the bottom, the lid off to the side, and a saucer with the bone on it.
Although a bit too salty the meat turned out great. I was easily able to pull chunks of it off so I could split it into two sections before pouring the rest of the liquid over top. The half I saved for later went directly into a Stasher bag and then the freezer.
Image shows my cooking layout while frying the hash cakes and eggs after slicing some tomatoes.
Once the hash was mixed up it was time to fry them. I used a bowl to hold the first couple ones that broke apart, a large bowl for the finished ones, another bowl to hold my sliced tomatoes, and reused my Dutch oven to fry some eggs for a side. I used the recipe’s photo in the book to dictate what I chose to serve the pork hash with. Like all things I’ve ever tried to cook in oil with a frying pan the smoke detector was set off but other than that it was a simple process with easy to understand directions.
Image shows a white plate topped with brown and black hash, red sliced tomatoes, and fried eggs. Off to the side is a cloth napkin, fork, and knife.
Although the end result was too salty for my taste you could still taste the flavor of the dish and knew, with less salt, it would taste great. I hadn’t been sure what to serve the hash cakes with so I ended up copying the image the author used for the dish by frying up some eggs and slicing some tomatoes.

The kids didn’t like it, of course, so we found ourselves with lots of leftovers. The next time we ate the leftover pork hash I cut mine up and heated it with leftover purple rice and corn. Matt topped his hash cakes with cheese before heating them up and tossing them in a bun to make a terrific burger style meal. Once we were done I cut up the last of the hash, threw it in a container with the last of the rice, and froze the mix for another day. I love that the pork hash alone became three separate meals for Matt and I. Plus, other than the salt, all versions tasted good. I can definitely see making this again as long as a I can drastically decrease the salt amount in the spice mix without affecting all of the other flavors.

Image shows broken up pork hash, purple rice, and yellow corn all mixed up in a bowl with melted white cheese overtop. There's a spoon sticking out of the mixture.
The first time I ate the leftovers I served mine mixed with leftover frozen corn and purple rice and topped it al

These photos showed what I did with the pork hash yet that was only half of the meat from the recipe. The other half of the pork roast was shredded before being frozen for later. Rather than making hash again I instead saved the shredded meat for awhile, defrosted it, and heated it in the microwave to serve with Ryan’s olive oil yukon gold mashers and some heated frozen corn. The leftovers from that meal were then thrown into a casserole dish and then into the freezer for yet another meal. The photos of this can be found under the olive oil yukon gold mashers review near the bottom.

no-knead diy english muffins

I was super excited to see English muffins in the cookbook and knew I needed to try them as the kids hadn’t had English muffins in a very long while. Looking over the recipe I planned to make these for lunch, so I wouldn’t be rushed, as I assumed there would be enough remaining for supper that night with eggs and bacon. I completely miscalculated and although I burned most of these (I hate frying pans) we ended up eating all of them for lunch topped with cream cheese and lemon curd. Although I didn’t end up with large bubbles in the dough and burned them they still tasted great. Matt even told me that they were better than store-bought… although it had been awhile since he’d tried store-bought English muffins. I do want to try to make these again and would love to eventually master this recipe.

Image shows the table coated in flour and dough remnants. Off to the side sits a measuring cup with more flour, a mix of cinnamon and sugar, a dirty glass, and a plastic bench scraper.
After cutting out all of the English muffins I was left with random scraps. The recipe cautioned me not to turn the scraps into new English muffins but rather to bake it as monkey bread.
Image shows a loaf pan with a shallow layer of cut up dough scraps.
I put all the dough remnants into a loaf pan and sprinkled it with pre-mixed cinnamon and sugar. I baked this while the English muffins rose.
Image shows the top of the stove. To the left sits a cornmeal coated cookie sheet half filled with raw dough circles. To the right sits six English muffins frying in oil with a lid overtop. In the back sits the baked sugar and cinnamon sprinkled dough bits.
The cinnamon and sugar dough had finished baking by the time I started frying up the English muffins. I don’t love using an oil coated frying pan and although I tried to follow the directions I, again, ended up with burnt dough and set off the smoke detector once again.
Image shows two saucers with a sliced open English muffin topped with cream cheese, on one, and lemon curd on the other half. In the background sits some burnt English muffins cooling on a wire rack and the bowl of baked scraps.
Although burnt and with the interior bubbles too small the finished English muffins tasted great topped with cream cheese and lemon curd.
Image shows a sliced English muffin on a saucer topped with cream cheese and lemon curd. In the background sits a English muffin resting on a zester with a wire rack holding the rest.
I attempted to de-burn the muffins by rubbing them over a citrus zester but found that I was either squishing them or not pressing hard enough to get the charcoal off.

grapefruit poppy seed pound cake

Many months ago I came across a lemon poppy seed loaf recipe online that I really wanted to make, but by the time I finally purchased the needed poppy seeds I had forgotten the recipe and hadn’t yet gotten around to finding a new one. While paging through this cookbook I knew the second I saw this recipe that I HAD to try it. And I wasn’t disappointed at all. The finished loaf was incredible, moist, delicious, and tasty whether it was eaten hot, fresh from the fridge, or at room temperature as recommended. This has become our family’s favorite recipe in the book…. and even Matt loves it although he doesn’t normally like grapefruit at all.

The first time I made this recipe I followed the directions religiously including making sure I had all of the required ingredients, so no substitutions, and actually sifting my dry ingredients using a metal strainer balanced over a plastic bowl. Somehow, after baking, I pulled out the loaf to find the center was obviously not done so I tossed it back in for another twenty minutes. The photo shown in the cookbook seems to be of a longer and skinner loaf pan than my more traditionally sized one so I’m not sure if the issue was my loaf pan itself or something else. Since then I’ve increased the listed bake time by ten minute and all the resulting loaves have turned out amazingly. The second time I made this I realized I was out of sour cream and so I did what I normally do and substituted it with my homemade yogurt instead. The third time around I substituted again with my homemade yogurt but also realized I was out of lemons so I only used grapefruit for the juice and zest rather than a combination of the two like the recipe says. I still loved how it turned out although Matt felt the lack of lemon caused the loaf to lack something. That time around I also added some parchment paper to the base of the loaf pan and solved my missing loaf bottom problem when I later pulled it out.

Image shows a metal strainer over a white (inner) bowl with white powder with black specks in it. There are two measuring spoons in the background.
I used a small-holed metal strainer (that I bought to clean quinoa and rice with) balanced over a plastic bowl to sift all the dry ingredients together.
Image shows a loaf, with missing bottom placed beside it, on a black wire cooling rack. White icing is pooled and dripping down the edges as a white plate, below, catches the dribbles.
The first two times I made this I lost the bottom to the loaf pan when removing it. That worked out as I could easily drizzle the icing over top of it all and use the bottom to test how good it turned out.
Image shows a white sauce with an iced slice of grapefruit poppy seed pound cake sitting on it. In the background you can see three other saucers with slices on each.
Whether whole or in pieces the grapefruit poppy seed pound cake tasted incredible and I can see making this again whenever the kids request it, when I remember and want it, or for special occasions. So yum.
Image shows a baked poppy seed loaf siting in a loaf pan with parchment paper sticking out from either long side. Beside it sits a blue spatula, a napkin, a bowl with icing and a small whisk, and a wire cooling rack.
I finally solved the missing loaf bottom the last time I baked this. I solved it by taking a piece of parchment paper and draped it inside the pan so either end came out from either side. I then poured the loaf in, baked it, used a spatula to separate the loaf from either end of the pan, and finally used the parchment paper to lift the whole thing up. It looked amazing!
Image shows the loaf as one piece only with white dripping off it's ends on to the parchment below the cooling rack. Beside it sits a dirtied but emptied loaf pan.
I carefully transferred the entire loaf to the cooling rack and used the parchment to catch any of the icing drizzle as it drips down the perfect loaf.

As an aside I found the recipe needed a whole lemon’s worth of zest but then only used half of the lemon for it’s juice. As such I had a non-zesty and un-squeezed half of a lemon leftover after making the loaf the first time. Rather than waste it I cut the half down into smaller pieces and threw it into the garburator in my kitchen sink. While typing this trick out I quickly looked online to confirm the lemon cleaning trick and came across a list of garbage disposal dos and don’ts that include lemon wedges (do) on Pete the Plumber while also coming across these handy lemon and vinegar cubes through a lifehacker’s post that I can totally see making the next time. When I substituted the lemon so I only used grapefruit, the third time making it, I was left with a whole zested and un-squeezed grapefruit. I ended up taking the pulp out and tossed it into a sealed container in the fridge so I could make a yogurt, grapefruit, and granola parfait the next day. Any leftover juiced citrus, each time I made the loaf, went into a glass of water so I got to have citrus-flavored water after cleaning the mess up.

Image shows a glass container with grapefruit pulp. Beside it (bottom left, up, and around) is a measuring cup with clear grapefruit edges, the cut peels, a couple measuring devices, and a pink hued water glass.
The time I used only grapefruit I only needed the juice from one while I needed the zest from two grapefruits. This left me with a bit of juice (from the first) and a zested whole grapefruit. I ended up peeling and extracting the segments from the last grapefruit so I could use it for a yogurt parfait the next day and then put the excess juice in my glass with water for citrus-flavored water. It was great.

any-day-ending-in-“y” overnight sticky buns

I had recently made some Caramel-Apple Cinnamon Rolls, from a different book, so when I came across these sticky buns I knew I needed to make them soon so the kids, Matt, and I could form an opinion on which style of buns we prefer. Even though a quick glance at this recipe almost frightened me once I looked closer it seemed pretty simple to follow. By default the dough needs to rise for six or more hours which I loved as I was able to make this after supper, wash all my dishes at once, and enjoy the buns with hardly any work the next day. That said if you prefer not to let them rise for so long the recipe says that you can skip the fridge and leave them on the counter for about an hour instead.

The only ingredient I changed from the recipe was the light corn syrup. I didn’t have any and the store I shop through doesn’t carry it. I looked up possible substitutes, using The Spruce Eats, and chose to replace it with an equal amount of rice syrup I had on hand instead. I also used a glass casserole pan for the cinnamon buns when the recipe simply calls for a pan. I’m not sure if it was the pan replacement itself but when I finished baking these and flipped them out of the pan they were severely undercooked. I left them on the cookie sheet, that I had flipped them onto, and threw them back into the oven for about twenty minutes before they came out looking, smelling, and finally tasting great.

Image shows a bubbling sugar mixture in a grey pan on a red burner. A simple flat bottom whisk sits propped against the pot.
Although the sugar spat at me and I felt like I needed three hands while adding the cream mixture to make a caramel sauce (used my stomach to keep the pan’s handle in place while I whisked and poured) the instructions themselves walked me through each and every step making it really straightforward.
Image shows twelve cinnamon buns sitting in caramel in a glass casserole dish. The pan sits on a hidden cork trivet on a flour splattered table.
The buns looked so small sitting in the casserole dish but in no time at all I found them straining to get out of the plastic wrapped dish.
Image shows the damp and wrinkled looking cinnamon buns laid out on a Silpat lined baking sheet.
I’m guessing it was the fault of the pan I used but when I flipped the buns out of the casserole dish I found them not fully cooked. I left them on the cookie sheet and tossed them back into the oven to finish baking. I haven’t tried this again… so much sugar…. but I can’t wait to see what this looks like when properly cooked.
Image shows a cookie sheet with ten cinnamon buns on it as two were dished onto the sauces to the left and right. On the left side you can see the emptied glass casserole dish while at the front there's a fork and spoon for dishing and scooping the buns and sauce.
Once they were finally done baking we gladly dished them up making sure to scoop some of the caramel to go along with each of the buns.

The final sticky buns were almost too rich but completely delicious. Both kids repeatedly told me that they “tasted so so good” while Zoey, at one point, added “that’s a gooder dessert than I thought it should be”. I could definitely see making them again although I’d definitely bake them for longer. The recipe mentioned adding nuts which I could see being totally amazing but I decided to skip it this time so the kids wouldn’t complain.

Image shows a piece of sticky bun on a white plate with a pool of caramel. The bun is coated in whip cream and a fork sits beside the saucer about to be picked up.
The recipe called for whip cream which worked great to cut the richness of the sticky bun. Overall amazing and would definitely make again.
Image shows a decent piece of sticky bun sitting in caramel sauce and topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a sprinkling of cinnamon. This time a spoon sits ready and waiting to be used.
For the leftovers the kids and I chose to top the reheated sticky bun with ice cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon. I LOVED it this way and prefer the ice cream over the whip cream topping. Matt chose to go with the whip cream instead.

best sweet cornbread ever with honey butter

I normally make my cornbread from my first ever, gifted, cookbook the red checkered Company’s Coming one. That said I was interested to see what this one tasted like so I made it using the lesser amount of white sugar as the recipe has a range depending on the sweetness you want. It turned out delicious although we still have no idea how it would taste after sitting overnight as we ate it all in one go. The girls mainly had this for supper but Matt and I had planned to go for the more traditional chili and cornbread pairing as we had leftover super veggie chili con corny. This didn’t happen as planned as we, once again, had an issue with the bake time not being quite long enough which I didn’t realize until after I had slathered the top with butter so I threw it back into the oven, buttered, baked it longer and then microwaved the slices to be sure they were done. By the time the cornbread was fully ready Matt and I had already finished our chili so we still don’t know how well they go together but found the cornbread a satisfying dessert.

Image shows a square of cornbread with chunks of butter melting overtop. It sits surrounded by parchment paper in a square glass casserole dish sitting beside a black bowl with more sweet butter inside.
After pulling the cornbread from the oven, both times, I slathered the top with the honey butter, recipe also included, before finally cutting and serving it.
Image shows a corner piece of the cornbread sitting on a square white saucer in a pool of melted butter. A fork lays over the side and a pink donut napkin sits underneath it. A water glass sits in the background.
By that time the leftover chili had been eaten so we all, essentially, had the cornbread for dessert and it was delicious.

salads, soups, and snacks

simplest marinated cherry tomato salad with 3/2/1 lemon-soy vinaigrette

I absolutely adored this salad. Technically, the recipe has you make a double batch of the dressing so you have excess for later and then add it to the tomatoes to marinate. I wasn’t sure if I’d use the excess dressing right away so I instead halved the dressing part and added each ingredient directly to a Stasher bag before sealing, shaking to mix, and setting it in the fridge to marinate. I did eat enough that the vinegar in the dressing started being a bit too much but since I definitely probably ate more than a serving amount that doesn’t matter. I served this with leftover rice and the old-school spiced pork hash with potatoes, herbs, and worcestershir and it was awesome together. I left the remaining salad in the fridge for a of couple days, a bit longer than I meant to, so the arugula ended up becoming rather wilted. It still tasted fine served over fresh arugula set beside the every-occasion potato salad with bacon-mustard vinaigrette though.

Image shows a squished purple bag on it's side on the counter. You can see halved tomatoes in a liquid as the odd bubble is apparent.
I halved the dressing so I could throw all the ingredients, along with the cherry tomatoes, in a Stasher bag. This way I could mix and marinate at the same time with minimal mess.
Image shows a white plate with a pink donut napkin beside it and a fork. Cut off on the top left you can see the bottom of a water glass. The plate is half filled with a green, red, and white salad on the one side and a mix of black and brown stuff on the other.
The first time around I served the salad as a side to the mix of leftover black rice and mashed up old-school spiced pork hash with potatoes, herbs, and worcestershir. It tasted great.

don’t-tell-anyone-it’s-vegan swiss chard caesar salad with hand-torn croutons

I absolutely loved this recipe and am so glad I made it; although, I hadn’t looked too closely at the serving size and it created a rather large salad especially as only Matt and I ate it. Ada was super excited for the salad and told me that she “liked the salad so much that [she] could eat it all day long” but, in reality, both girls only ate the croutons. This salad was so simple to throw together especially as I had cleaned and cut up my Swiss chard when I first bought it so I only needed to make the croutons, by slicing pre-sliced bread into squares, that morning and mixing the dressing together right before tossing it all in a bowl to serve. When I make this again, if it’s just us again, I’m planning on adding the croutons to each plate individually and thus rate-limit the kids and allow me to pack away any leftover salad separate from the croutons so they don’t get too soggy. I hadn’t realized just how much I truly missed a good Caesar salad until I tasted this and I truly absolutely adored how the salad used Swiss chard rather than a simple lettuce.

Image shows salad tongs dishing some salad onto a white saucer from a metal bowl.
The recipe made a lot of amazing Ceasar salad.
Image shows a wide open bowl filled with Caesar salad, a fork, and a glass of water in the background.
I loaded up my bowl with the salad and it was so so so good.

In case you’re like me and haven’t used silken tofu (the vegan ingredient for the dressing) before I wanted to share what I did with the tofu I was stuck with after making the dressing. I actually fed it to my kids. I had looked online later that night and came across this amazing looking smoothie recipe, on The Spruce Eats, although I used whole cow’s milk rather than the soy milk it calls for. The girls helped me make it for their lunch and absolutely loved it.

slow cooker creamy tomato soup with cheesy waffle dippers

This was SO fantastic and tasted like a truly gourmet restaurant soup yet it was so simple to make and I normally wouldn’t think to order tomato soup in a restaurant. The first time Matt and I could’ve easily eaten it all alone while the girls didn’t seem to like it as much. Once you add the strips of cheesy waffle the soup becomes just the background to such an amazing waffle. Zoey told me that “the waffles [were] so [much] yummier than the soup” while Ada said that the “waffle dippers are so yummy [that she] could eat them all day long until nighttime and then eat them all nighttime and all over again… The soup is so yummy too”. Needless to say the next time we made this I was sure to double both the soup and the waffles which was awesome since the girls decided that they also LOVED the soup along with the waffles.

Both times I made this I didn’t make any substitutions although the recipe lists provolone or mozzarella and I used provolone both times. The first time I used sliced provolone and made sure to dice it smaller while the second time I grated the provolone from a block. The first time I also followed the directions and turned off the soup so it could cool while making the waffles. I have an immersion blender so I later realized, as the waffles took longer than expected, that I didn’t need to cool the soup as I didn’t need to transfer it to a blender. I then, after using my immersion blender, turned my slow cooker back on to heat while finishing the waffles. The second time Ada helped me toss all the ingredients into the slow cooker for the soup and then we ignored it while it cooked away. Several hours later, once I mixed up the waffles and had the first batch in the waffle iron I went back to the soup, blended it up, and served the meal to my family. I used a timer, set to five and a half minutes, to help me keep track of the waffles and I then kept a fresh supply on the table for all of us to enjoy.

Image shows a pot of tomato soup (in a Ninja Foodi liner) behind a square casserole dish holding the sliced waffle dippers.
The first time around I made sure to cook and slice all the waffle dippers before we sat down to eat..
Image shows a white bowl half filled with orange-ish tomato soup and has three slivers of waffles sitting on the edge as if it's dipping it's toes in. Off to the side sits a metal spoon laying on top of a pizza themed napkin.
The soup was sublime on it’s own but when paired with the cheesy waffle dippers it became something else.
Image shows the Ninja Foodi insert filled with the ingredients for the tomato soup. Wonder Woman (Ada) is posed and cut off beside it while the outer part of the Ninja stands behind.
The next time around I asked Ada if she wanted to help me cook. I grabbed the ingredients and popped open the cans while she carefully put them all into the pot. She created an island with the ingredients so I knew I needed to snap a photo of her with her artwork before we stirred it all up and popped it in the Ninja Foodi to cook.
Image is taken from above showing our kitchen table with the liner of blended tomato soup next to a plate of cheesy waffle dippers. Four bowls are around it with waffles being dipped and eaten above the two smaller kid ones.
This time around, as I knew I’d be cooking the double batch of waffles for a while, I served the food when only one batch of waffles was ready (my waffle iron makes four at a time) and kept jumping up to serve the fresh batch and start the next one going.
Image shows two lined cookie sheets covered in freshly toasted waffle dippers with a jug of reheated and pourable soup ready to go.
I freeze the waffle dippers on a Silpat lined cookie sheet in the freezer, transfer them to a Stasher bag, thaw in the fridge, and heat them back up in the oven. The tomato soup was easily able to be froze in a canning jar, defrosted in the fridge, and heated in the microwave.

The first time I made we ate it all except for the four remaining cups of soup. I poured the leftover soup into a canning jar, tossed it in the fridge, and, a couple days later, made the best meat sauce I’d ever made by using the leftover tomato soup as a tomato sauce. The next time we made the soup I doubled it and although we ate way more soup than the last time I was still able to pack up just over three canning jars worth of soup. I tossed one in the freezer, once it had cooled, to test out how it tastes when thawed out. The other ones were put in the fridge so the kids could dip the leftover waffles another day along with a plan to recreate that amazing meat sauce again. And re-create the meat sauce we did. I actually cooked up two and a half packages of ground beef, added eight cups of the soup to it, and made an incredible meat sauce that I turned into lasagna by adding a cottage cheese based layer and lasagna noodles. I froze both lasagnas and for supper than night we ate the leftover lasagna noodles with the leftover sauce. A while later we defrosted the smaller lasagna for supper and it was amazing!

Image shows two glass casserole dishes beside a large bot with some meat and tomato soup mixture inside. Both casserole dishes show the meat sauce at the bottom and top with lasagna noodles showing through.
I changed up my normal process of creating a lasagna with supper leftovers and instead created two lasagna that I froze for another day and we ate the leftover noodles and sauce for supper.

super veggie chili con corny

I knew I wanted to try the veggie chili the second I saw it. I love how this recipe was made in a slow cooker which allowed me to find the best time, in my morning, to cut up all of the vegetables allowing more time to do other things during the supper rush. Matt and I both thought this recipe was good but not amazing after having tried so many of the other recipes in this cookbook already. I also found the cheese he paired the chili with a bit too salty especially when also paired with the tortilla chips. I was debating not making the chili again until I had the leftover chili and absolutely adored it. I don’t know if it was just because the chili’s flavors had time to meld or if it was from pairing the chili with shredded cheddar cheese instead but it tasted amazing.

Image shows a white bowl on the table with a metal spoon next to it. The corn bedazzled chili sits in the center of the plate surrounded by yogurt, two piles of tortilla chips, and two slices of cheese.
He recommended eating the chili with a specific type of cheese, tortilla chips, and sour cream (I used my yogurt). It tasted good but wasn’t amazing like many of the other recipes we had tried.
Image shows a plate with a mound of chili in the center covered in little pieces of orange and white cheese.
The leftovers topped with grated cheddar cheese; however, tasted even better.


three-cheese mac and cheese muffins

I went to make this as our main meal and, before fully realizing that it made three dozen muffins, started worrying that we’d eat all of the muffins for supper, with all of that work, have nothing left for leftovers. I quickly made the decision to double the recipe and started boiling two pounds of pasta before I could change my mind. I had made sure ahead of time that I had all the ingredients but with the last second change I only had about half of the half-and-half that I needed. I substituted the other half with whole milk and charged ahead extremely happy that I did have enough of all of the other ingredients. I ended up filling the muffin tins, as the recipe dictated, with half of the mix, or one batch, and then grabbed an 8 by 10 inch glass casserole for the other portion. I put the casserole together following the same steps as the muffins but skipped adding divots for the cheese and just spread it all over top. I then doubled the bake time for the casserole while following the instructions for the mac and cheese muffins. This meant I started out with the casserole on the top rack of my oven while the larger muffin tin, with a dozen mac and cheese muffins, baked on the bottom. Once the first set of muffins were done I replaced them with two, smaller, muffin tins and left the casserole alone so the final two dozen baked while the casserole finished. The final casserole turned out incredibly tasty and the kids were ecstatic with it. Zoey told me that I had “made the yummiest thing in the world” while Ada later added that she “wish[ed she] could give this to Wonder Woman because it’s so good”.

After eating our fill we were left with some of the casserole and most of the three dozen mac and cheese muffins as leftovers. I placed the muffins on a cookie sheet in the freezer and once they’d started freezing pulled each one out of their silicon wrapper so I could transfer them into Stasher bags so they’d be protected in the freezer for another time. I had to test them out so I pulled out several of them, only a couple days later, to defrost in the fridge. The kids and I tried them cold, still good but not as great, before microwaving them so they tasted incredible once more.

Image shows the mac and cheese casserole in a glass pan on a cork trivet. Behind it sits a sign saying "Kindness is always in style" and a purple vase with matching yellow flowers.
Although the recipe called for muffin sized mac and cheese the casserole turned out mighty good too. I love the idea for mac and cheese muffins in the kids’ lunch but as they now prefer this hot over cold and are doing school from home I can see the casserole being my go to way to make this incredibly rich and amazing mac and cheese dish.
Image shows a serving of mac and cheese on a white plate. In the background you can see three other people sitting around the table eating theirs and the casserole in the center.
This casserole was amazing and we all dug in with gusto. Looking back I could see a healthy salad being paired with this to help balance the overall meal.
Image shows five mac and cheese muffins sitting on the counter while the rest of the muffins tins sit cooling in the background.
The kids wanted to try one or two of the cupcake ones but after tasting them the rest all went into the freezer.


cornmeal crust white pizza

I knew the second I saw this pizza that I wanted to surprise Matt with it. The first time I didn’t have fresh basil so I substituted it for dried, using a quarter teaspoon, when making the white sauce and skipped it completely on the toppings. I also needed to replace the bread flour with an equal amount all-purpose white, following The Spruce Eats, and replaced the two lemon wedges at the end with 2 teaspoons of bottled lemon juice according to the Traditional Oven. Since I didn’t have basil I decided to make one of the alterations using the leftover spinach sitting in my fridge. It turned out amazing and I’ve since made the unaltered pizza two more times making sure to use the proper fresh basil, bread flour, and lemons. Each time we loved how the pizza turned out although it was rather rich. In the words of Zoey “yeah, it’s yummier than anything else”.

Image shows the final browned pizza sitting on a cookie sheet with the end cut into two pieces. A plate rests beside the cookie sheet.
I had difficulty cutting the final pizza as I didn’t want to scratch my cookie sheet or transfer the screaming hot pizza to my plastic cutting board. I ended up grabbing my kitchen scissors and cut the pieces apart instead.
Image shows two slices of pizza on a white plate with a water glass and fork next to it. In the background rests three other plates with pizza being devoured on it.
It was rich but tasted incredible and we wished that there was more than a single pizza.

The last time I made pizza I doubled the dough and sauce recipe so I could make two different white sauce pizzas. I knew everyone loved the recipe so I left one pizza as normal. I then looked into my fridge for inspiration on what to put on the other pizza as I truly wanted something unique and a bit less rich. Luckily inspiration, and looking online to confirm flavors profiles, struck and I topped the other pizza with the white sauce, leftover pistachio pistou (from the “perfect” asparagus with pistachio pistou), jarred sliced artichokes, leftover every-occasion potato salad with bacon-mustard vinaigrette, leftover egg whites, and a couple turns of my pepper mill. It was a truly random what’s in my fridge inspired pizza that would be so hard to duplicate and which turned out incredible.

Image shows two different cookie sheets side by side with two different sets of toppings on it. Cold and waiting for the oven.
The pizza on the left was topped with random fridge contents while the pizza on the right was topped according to the recipe.
Same image as before with the two pizzas side by side but now they're all cheese melty or egg cooked fresh from the oven.
Both pizzas looked and smelled amazing freshly pulled out of the oven.
Image shows a slice of each type of pizza sitting on plate next to a fork and sharp steak knife.
They were truly amazing.

The one complaint I have with this recipes is that the dough is so flopsy. The instructions have you plop it onto the cookie sheet and spread it out rather than rolling it out and transferring it. That said the toppings are incredible and I’ve made the dough three different times now so no major complaints.

one-pot turkey “Scott family helper”

Three out of four of us absolutely loved this spin on the classic hamburger helper. I did end up making changes by using siracha for my hot sauce, halving the hot sauce since I have kids, replacing the cheddar cheese for Monterey jack, and using half a cup of frozen diced white onion rather than a whole fresh one. I also may have forgotten to set the timer or just didn’t hear it go off. Overall though it went well. Zoey’s been calling supper her last meal of the day lately so the compliment that “I made the last best meal” was adorable. I can definitely see making this again although both kids ignored the turkey and only one said they loved it. Matt and I felt like we ate a blast from the past and wished that there was more than there was.

Image shows a mound of elbow macaroni coated in orange in the center of a white bowl with a pizza themed fabric napkin and fork off to the left side.
The finished spin on hamburger helper didn’t look as picturesque as I’d hoped but tasted truly incredible. I can see maybe doubling it for leftovers the next time we make it.

veggies and sides

crispy brussel sprouts with parmesan dressing

I wanted to really love this dish but found it rather salty. That said, it otherwise tasted incredible and even Ada ate some and gave it her approval. I may have doused the Brussel sprouts in too much of the sauce so next time, in addition to decreasing the salt, I could see using less sauce and saving the excess to use on roasted veggies or as a dip for crudités like the recipe mentions. We happened to have leftovers so we had the pleasure of realizing that this tasted so amazing the next day.

Image shows a cookie sheet with a small pile of white sauce coated Brussel sprouts in a pile and a wooden spatula. Off to the right sits two other plates already dished with the Brussel sprouts.
This smelled incredible and offered yet another way to get the kids eating Brussel sprouts.

the “perfect” asparagus with pistachio pistou

Oh My Goodness! Perfect is SO right! I prepped this ahead of time while the kids were eating breakfast by making the pistachio pistou and cleaning and seasoning the asparagus. This was going to be part of our supper but it smelled so incredible that I couldn’t wait and we ended up having it for lunch with sliced oranges. Matt and I couldn’t get enough of the asparagus and Ada even told me it tasted like candy. I can’t believe we ate until we were overfull with just vegetables.

Two tinfoil lined cookie sheets lay out on the stove with bright green asparagus on it. The one on the left has dollops of a different hued green all over it.
Fresh out of the oven! I actually bought more asparagus than the recipe called for and so left one cookie sheet plain, for the kids, and the other liberally dolloped with pistachio pistou.
Image shows a white plate stacked with pistou coated asparagus. A fork is laid to the left.
The asparagus was to die for. I love it so much and whenever the taste became too much (all I ate for lunch) I grabbed a slice of orange and went right back. I absolutely loved it.

Since making this I’ve gone on to make the pistachio pistou so many more times that, I think, Matt’s started getting tired of it. I’ve used it on pizza (above), coated a buttermilk waffle with it, added it to bottled alfredo sauce, and stirred it into leftover slow cooker chicken noodle soup. I feel like each dish was made so much better with the addition of the pistachio pistou and wonder if I should freeze it in small bits to add to my version of the food… or if that may be going a bit too far.

Image shows two waffles with green mixture on top on a white plate. Beside it sits a fork and knife on one side and a monster fabric napkin on the other. Behind it sits a water glass and a glass container of more pistachio pistou.
It tasted amazing, although maybe a bit much by the end, spread on a warm buttermilk waffle.
Image shows the top of the deep frying pan with a white mixture, floating green balls, and green flecks being mixed in with a wooden spoon.
I normally make alfredo sauce by frying up diced chicken with kick ‘n chicken spice mix, add in bottled alfredo sauce, rinse out the bottle with milk, and then combine it with pasta. This time I added frozen peas and a couple spoonfuls of the pistachio pistou.
Image shows a white bowl with a mound of green flecked pasta topped with crushed nuts. In the background is the pot and the girls' plates.
Matt wasn’t a fan of the pistou and the kids weren’t a fan of anything green I had added but I thought it tasted incredible and topped it all with crushed salted pistachios. The taste and crunch was on point.
Image is taken from above showing a bowl filled with green flecked soup and egg noodles. To the left sits a saucer with pumpernickel toast and to the right a large spoon.
A while back I came across a simple slow cooker chicken soup recipe from This.Kat.House on Instagram. Although it seemed like her kids adored it mine didn’t seem to like it very much so I started blending it and still no dice. That said it’s simple and my husband loves it. I recently heated up some leftovers, from the day before, in the microwave and, after confirming pesto chicken soup does exist, decided to stir in two heaping spoonfuls of the pistachio pistou and it really elevated the dish. Definitely debating freezing it so I can easily toss it in my soup the next time I make it.

olive oil yukon gold mashers

I grew up eating a lot of potatoes but over time, since moving out, I’ve eaten other things as potatoes never seem to last for too long on my counter and after seeing potatoes seep out from a cupboard at university I figured rice and other shelf-stable items seemed safer. That said, even though my kids have decided they hate potatoes, sometimes I really need my fix. This dish was a really good fix for my potato cravings. That said, it does take a whole stick of butter, olive oil, and parmesan cheese so it’s definitely rich especially compared to my simple version of mashed potatoes with a little bit of butter and a lot of milk.

I ended up defrosting the leftover pork roast, from the old-school spiced pork hash with potatoes, herbs, and worcestershir, and left it as it was without turning it into hash (so no smoke detector). The potatoes served with the pork and frozen corn was incredible and so simple to throw together. At the end, once we ate our fill, I grabbed a casserole dish, combined all three parts together, and then froze it so we could save it for another incredible meal later on.

Image shows a metal pot, to the right, partly filled with white potatoes topped with shredded parmesan cheese. In the background, to the left, sits a shredded pork roast in a white bowl on a sewn trivet.
The recipe has you move the potatoes to a serving dish before topping it with parmesan cheese. I decided to go simple and just used the pot I boiled and mashed the potatoes in to serve.
Image shows a white plate next to a fork and pizza themed napkin. On the plate sits three piles all touching. The top is the potatoes with lattice work of parmesan cheese on the side closest to us. Beside it is a pile of yellow corn and shredded meat.
The easy to make potatoes were the hardest part of this meal as I paired it with defrosted shredded roast that I only needed to microwave and frozen corn that only needed to be boiled at the last minute.
Image shows most of a glass casserole dish taken from above and looking down. Most of it is covered with mashed potatoes but you can see the corn covered meat along the one end and some of the sides.
Once we were done eating I grabbed a nine by thirteen glass casserole dish and coated the bottom with the meat. I then sprinkled the corn on top and spread the potatoes to cover. I froze this so we can save this incredible meal for another day.

every-occasion potato salad with bacon-mustard vinaigrette

This dish was very simple to make when following the recipe’s instructions. It also blew me away with how incredible it tasted when finished. Since this was the only part of the meal I was making fresh, paired it with a salad and reheated pasta for the girls, it was really easy to pull together too. We happened to have leftovers so a couple days later I pulled it out from the fridge and tried it cold. Even cold it tasted awesome though we did prefer to eat it heated up.

Image shows a closeup of a half filled skillet with a wooden utensil sitting inside to dish with.
It smelled so amazing that I didn’t even think to grab a photo until after Matt had taken his share.
Image shows a closeup of my white plate with the potato dish on it. In the background you can see the arugula- based salad.
I paired it with a salad by combining arugula and the leftover marinated cherry tomato salad which is also from this cookbook.
Image shows a white with mustard swirled cornbread, the potato dish, and a pile of bright green asparagus.
A couple days later we heated the leftovers and paired it with a corndog version of cornbread and roasted asparagus using the technique used in the “perfect” asparagus with pistachio pistou but left off the pistachio pistou.


foolproof gooey brownies

As Earth Day approached this year Ada requested brownies yet other than it being her favorite dessert I’m not sure what logic was there. Before this I had mainly used Ghirardelli Brownie Mix I had bought through Costco, although I had hacked it to include pineapples at Ada’s request one year, and was currently out. I remembered seeing a brownie recipe in this cookbook and decided to make it, with the girls, from scratch this time around. I’m so glad I did. I learned a new way to make brownies and it turned out just as good as the other version. I’m kind of curious how this would do as a base for other add-ins like pineapple, coconut, m&ms, and other types of chocolate chips.

Image shows a corner piece of brownie on a white saucer with the glass casserole dish two thirds full behind it. Off to the side are two more saucers stacked.
We actually made the brownies a couple days before Earth Day since we had time to bake and could easily save some leftovers for later. The brownies came together easily, smelled great, and tasted amazing. We topped it with freshly whipped cream and cinnamon.
After supper on Earth day I sprayed some whip cream into two small bowls, added food dye (a couple drops of blue in one and a combination of yellow and blue in the other one), stirred it together with a metal chopstick, and gave each child a saucer with one color and a bowl with the other. The kids had a blast decorating their brownies to look like an earth and eating the yummy treat.

Although several of the recipes seemed rather salty and many of them seemed rich we, overall, loved most of what we tried. Most dishes come with one or more photos so you can see how it should look, under ideal conditions, along with easy to understand directions. I ended up with meals, or parts of meals, that felt restaurant quality and were fresh out of the oven, stove, or fridge (based on cooking directions) without having to drive them home or wait for a delivery to arrive. I loved it and can see returning to this book to make these recipes again and again.

Before coming across this cookbook I don’t think I’d ever heard of Ryan Scott, an Emmy-award winning celebrity chef, but now I’m loving all the food I make with his instructions. Have you heard of him before? Apparently this is his second cookbook he’s written as he already came out One to Five in 2017. Have you tried his first? If so how does it compare to this one? Feel free to share any comments below… and if you, like me, hadn’t heard of him you can check out his new cookbook, through Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, or follow him on Instagram or Twitter.

I hope you’re doing well and this post didn’t make you too hungry. Hope you have a great day!

If you’re interested in getting any of my future blog updates I currently come out with a new one every Wednesday and share them to my Facebook page and Instagram account. You’re also more than welcome to join my email list located right under the search bar or underneath this post.

Related Posts

Latest Posts