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Always Available on Hoopla: Cooking on a Budget

It’s challenging to be creative with cooking when our time at the grocery stores is limited, the kids are tired of the usual go-to meals, and some days, cooking a meal is just hard! While our libraries are not open for you to browse our cookbook collection, we want to make sure that you have amazing options right at your fingertips at home to help spark some new ideas. These suggested cookbooks offer easy and simple meal ideas, are easy on the wallet and use items you may already have, and give you an opportunity to explore some new cuisines too.

These titles – and many more! – are always available to check out for free with your Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh account. You can link to Hoopla through our eResources page and view a Hoopla tutorial here. Are you interested in more book recommendations? Fill out our Book Recommendation form and a librarian will curate a list of suggestions for you! Contact Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh on any of our social media platforms or email us at with any questions.

Cut Your Grocery Bill in Half with America’s Cheapest Family: Includes So Many Innovative Strategies, You Won’t Have to Cut Coupons by Steve & Annette Economides
The Economides family discusses tips, tricks, and tools to use when grocery shopping so you can also save on money, whether you are one person or shopping for a large family. Read about ways to spend less time shopping, make use of your freezer, and planning meals for picky eater.

The Dal Cookbook by Krishna Dutta
Like pasta in Italy, dal describes highly nutritional and cheap to produce split legumes/pulses, like lentils, peas, and beans. Ideal for long storage, dal is a popular nourishment ingredient in pan-Indian dishes with multiple ways to cook it into delicious meals with wide-ranging seasonings and diverse supplements.

Easy Chinese Recipes: Family Favorites from Dim Sum to Kung Pao by Bee Yin Low
Growing up in Malaysia where Chinese cuisine and culture were inseparable, Bee Yin Low learned to experiment combining Chinese meals with Western cuisines in southern California and recreating those unforgettable flavors. Try making some of her favorite dishes with updated traditional family recipes along with her version of some of the best Chinese restaurant dishes found all over Asia.

Easy. Whole. Vegan.: 100 Flavored, No-Stress Recipes for Busy Families by Melissa King
By switching to whole foods, plant-based diets, Melissa was able to craft flavorful, easy recipes to help her daughters overcome health issues. These are her top 100 meals, snacks, and desserts organized to help busy families find the best recipes for their needs.

Eat Dairy-Free: Your Essential Cookbook for Everyday Meals, Snacks, and Sweets by Alisa Fleming
For many, consuming dairy products may cause a number of health issues and illnesses, and need to be avoided in their meals. This collection curated by Alisa Fleming dives into exploring easy-to-find, budget-friendly whole foods while avoiding casein, whey, and lactose, and further suggestions for gluten-free, egg-free, soy-free, and nut-free options for any other concerns..

Good and Cheap: Eat Well on $4/Day by Leeanne Brown
A cookbook that caught the attention of high-profile chefs and food writers, Leeanne Brown used her expertise in food policy to answer the question: How well can a person eat on the $4 a day given by SNAP/food stamps? By using economical cooking methods, shopping tips, and creating pantry basics, she shows you how to make healthful food dishes while maximizing all the ingredients.

How to Bake Everything: Simple Recipes for the Best Baking by Mark Bittman
Consider this a comprehensive book among every home baker’s resources, the first go-to to learn how to master basic baking recipes, from the family favorites to the holiday specialties. Along with suggestions for essential supplies and ingredient substitutions, bakers will find their creativity exploring new grounds, whether improvising those cakes, making your breads vegans, or trying a new flavor altogether.

How to Cook Everything – The Basics: All You Need to Make Great Food by Mark Bittman
The essential companion to How to Bake Everything and another excellent cookbook to keep next to your stained, beloved Joy of Cooking, Mark Bittman teaches you the fundamentals techniques and recipes needed to get your dishes to be inviting and accessible.

Keto Simple: Over 100 Delicious Low-Carb Meals That Are Easy on Time, Budget, and Effort by Martina Slajerova
If you have been exploring the ketogenic diet or perhaps already doing it, but finding it stressful to maintain, this cookbook will help provide suggested recipes that are easy to put together and frugal in required ingredients. You can keep your keto lifestyle simple with meal-prepping techniques, suggested planning, and shopping strategies to stay on track.

The New Soul Food Cookbook for People with Diabetes by Fabiola Demps Gaines and Roniece Weaver
Cooking is hard enough, and it can become more complicated with dealing with health restrictions that may prevent you from enjoying favorite dishes. Give these low-fat recipes a try from snacks and soups to main dishes and desserts, all with nutrition information included.

Organic Cooking on a Budget: How to Grow Organic, Buy Local, Waste Nothing, and Eat Well by Arabella Forge
When people think of free-range, organic ingredients, way too often do the choices seem overwhelming and much more expensive compared to the standard. With hands-on advice, you can learn how to access quality produce straight from the source without hurting your wallet, including starting a kitchen garden, stocking the pantry well, and navigating community gardens and co-ops.

Plant-Based on a Budget: Delicious Vegan Recipes for Under $30 a Week, in Less Than 30 Minutes a Meal by Toni Okamoto
Maybe you thought about shifting to a plant-based diet, but though it was too expensive and complicated to maintain, and decided to not go for it. With Toni’s cookbook, you may find that may not be the case at all! Recipes provided in this book can be prepared in less than 30 minutes with guidance on how to make substitutions, prevent food waste, and staying frugal.

Quick & Easy Korean Cooking: More Than 70 Everyday Recipes by Lee Hae-Kin ‘Cecilia’
You don’t have to go out of your way to make some delicious Korean dishes with these recipes using readily available ingredients and familiar techniques. With appetizers, hot pots, entrees, and a chapter devoted to kimchi, you will be able to bring new flavors to your dishes.

Quick & Easy Paleo Cookbook: 77 Paleo Diet Recipes Made in Minutes by Various Authors
This cookbook offers simple ways to incorporate Paleo-friendly meals into your routine using readily available and affordable ingredients. You will find it easy to avoid processed foods with more than 75 go-to recipes along with handy meal-planning, shopping tips, and a comprehensive list of Paleo-approved food substitutes to keep in the pantry.

Well Fed, Flat Broke: Recipes For Modest Budgets And Messy Kitchens by Emily Wight
This cookbook will show that you don’t need a lot of money to create nutritious dishes, whether they are simple or sublime, using a diverse array of affordable ingredients. Emily Wight offers strategic shopping tips, advice for picky eaters, one-pot dishes, and more to easily build a meal from what you have on hand.

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