I cook regularly, creating my own recipes and using recipes from cookbooks and personal collections, so following a recipe is not something I generally have trouble with. The recipes in this book are labelled as easy, so I assessed them according to how easy I thought they would be for a beginner, someone who doesn't cook on a regular basis.
Here are the recipes I tried, and some thoughts on how they came out:
Yeasted Refrigerator Pizza Dough: I cheated a little on this recipe because I couldn't be bothered to set up the cooking apparatus as described in the book, and instead just spread the dough into a baking sheet and put it in the oven. It still worked, making this a recipe worth making again.
This cookbook has recipes for everything from breakfast dishes to breads, main dishes, desserts and make-your-own boxed mixes. Most of the recipes really are inexpensive and straightforward. The author has a section at the beginning outlining the tools that she uses in the kitchen, and although there were a few specialty items that I don't have in mine, and a few brands that I can't find where I live, the recipes all worked out anyway. Some of the cheeses are a bit expensive, but on the whole the recipes are made with inexpensive and easy to find ingredients.
For an inexperienced cook, the main meals feature familiar titles and take little preparation. There are a few meatball meals, a couple of burrito/quesadilla type dishes, and several chicken recipes. Nothing too exotic, mostly safe standbys that have been adapted to be gluten free. These are meals that are pretty kid friendly. My son ate most of what I made from this book.
For me, the usefulness of the book lies in the baked goods. We eat a lot of food with tortillas, and although I like corn tortillas, it's been difficult to find a good, soft, flour tortilla. Now I can make my own. Ditto for the fishy crackers. They just don't exist gluten free, but now I can whip up a double batch, freeze half and have them on hand for the daycare whenever I need them. It's the baked stuff that most people miss when they go gluten free, because the commercial substitutes rarely taste as good as the original. The recipes for breads and cakes, and the make your own boxed mixes are the ones that I will refer back to regularly.
If there's one thing I wish the book had more of, it would be photographs. There is a section in the middle with beautiful photos of some of the recipes, but I would love to see photos beside each one, especially with baked goods. The photos on her blog are so well done that I want to have more of them in the book, to hold in my hands.
Verdict: This was a good, solid cookbook that has something for new or inexperienced cooks, as well as some great recipes for more experienced ones.
Buy on Amazon.ca Gluten-Free on a Shoestring, Quick and Easy: 100 Recipes for the Food You Love - Fast!
Buy on Amazon.com Gluten-Free on a Shoestring, Quick and Easy: 100 Recipes for the Food You Love--Fast!