Southern Living’s Comfort Food Made Easy {Cookbook Review)

Disclosure:  I received a copy of Southern Living’s Comfort Food Made Easy and a container of Lou Ana Coconut Oil for this review.  All opinions are my own.

cookbook and oil so living

 I’m a Southern girl who grew up on Southern Living Magazine.  It remains a steady source of deliciousness and gorgeousness in my home today – rather like the idea that if I read it enough some of it was sure to magically make my home and garden look just like the dreamy pictures I poured over with each new issue.  So when I was asked to review a new Southern Living cookbook and a sponsoring product, coconut oil from Lou Ana, I jumped on the chance.  I already own a number of SL cookbooks and have been a steady user of Lou Ana coconut oil for quite some time.  Easy peasy.  Or so I  thought.

Somehow life, family, and a little excursion with the grands kept me at bay and I didn’t get to the review as quickly as I wanted.  But the wait is over.  I’ve prepared several of the dishes from the cookbook and utilized the coconut oil as often as I could.  I prefer to actually and as thoroughly as I can, use the products I am asked to review. 

Honestly, I wasn’t overly impressed with Comfort Food Made Easy when it first arrived. You know I love cookbooks and read them in much the same way that most people read novels  So another “how to,” “easy and quick” cookbook just didn’t appeal to me as one I would buy for myself.  But I trusted Southern Living’s reputation for quality and decided to give it a real try.   It kind of grew on me the more I used it and it did live up to its promise of providing tasty and simple recipes that would appeal to both the novice and the experienced cook. 

I remember all too well those rushed afternoons after work when I needed to get a meal on the table before ballgames, teacher conferences, music lessons, or other items that crowd the family calendar.  The chapter on “Slow Cooked Meals to Savor” features several slow-cooker meals that I would definitely use.  Several, such as the braised short ribs, barbecued brisket and chile verde, weren’t especially new to me, but they are those dinner-time staples that we all rely on and that our families love. 

Two of the dishes from the “30-minute Favorites” section that we really enjoyed were the Fried Egg Sandwiches, a breakfast for dinner meal for us, and the Brown-Sugar Waffles, which I turned into a quick and easy dessert” after making the waffles ahead and freezing them.  I  don’t see me making the  “Fried Okra Tacos,” however, but you might choose to do so.  I want that fried okra to dance around my plate with some fresh purple hull peas and summer heirloom tomatoes and probably the “Roasted Sweet Potatoes” found on page 228.  I told you I was a Southern girl!  I’d love to know if you give those tacos a try. 

so living collage

Photo Source: Comfort Food Made Easy

I’m really looking forward to making the “Oven-Baked Pilau with Chicken and Collards” which is the next recipe Hubby chose for me to prepare.  It not only has eye-appeal, it’s chock full of flavors with smoked sausage, chicken thighs, collards and rice.  It’s another one that can be prepared in an hour or less and is a full meal in one pot.  I’m also intrigued by the “Chicken Crepes with Swiss Cheese Sauce” which I just know has tons of flavor and I love that it uses prepared egg roll wrappers as the crepes. 

 From the “No-Cook Wonders” section, the “Cucumber Salad with Tomatoes” has become a favorite with us.  While it is very similar to the cucumber and onion salad I routinely make during the summer when our cucumbers are prolific in the garden, it doesn’t use all of the granulated sugar included in that one.  I did use replace the English cucumber with small pickling cucumbers because that’s our preference, but I don’t think it made a substantial taste difference.  It made a perfect side dish for the homemade grilled pizza we prepared and is sure to become a staple in our menu rotation.

cucumber salad

The cookbook claims to offer “hearty homestyle dishes for busy cooks” which I believe it does.  It would be an excellent choice for a novice  or less experienced cook, a new bride perhaps?  Personally, it is probably not one I would have selected for my library simply because I was already quite familiar with many of the recipes that were included, so many of which I make without consulting a recipe.  But that’s just me.  

It’s an Oxmoor House publication edited by Susan Ray and is available in paperback for $21.95.

waffles - so living

Lou Ana Coconut Oil

Whenever I could, I substituted Lou Ana Coconut oil for the butter or oil in the preparation of the recipes from this cookbook and they all worked well.  I especially liked it in the “Brown Sugar Waffles” that I adapted in the strawberry – coconut “shortcake” version shown here.  I also used it in a Coconut-Pecan-Chocolate Chip Pie that I’ll be sharing on the next couple of weeks in a post that will also include even more uses for the coconut oil.  I have to let you in on a little secret though, one of my absolute favorite ways to use coconut oil is as a skin cream!  You probably already knew what a difference it makes, but for someone who suffers with dry skin, it was a beautiful revelation.  Have you ever looked at those South Pacific beauties and their gorgeous skin?  How do you think they got that?  I just know it had to be all of that coconut meat, coconut water and coconut oil, don’t you think?

  1. Deborah
    April 6, 2014

    Thanks for the info! And as a huge okra fanatic, I have to admit that I’m really excited to try out okra tacos. I’ll let you know how it goes. 🙂

    • Debbie
      April 6, 2014

      Let me know how they are:)

  2. Katharine
    April 6, 2014

    Oooh, I strongly recommend that lovely salad! However, I never thought of using my darling little golden tomatoes in it! Mmm! They’d add sweetness enough for us, especially with ripe bell peppers alongside. Oh it is a beautiful thing! Cannot wait for some veggies to grow down here! 🙂

    • Debbie
      April 7, 2014

      Thanks. It will definitely replace our standard one that has tons of sugar! Hubby ate the leftovers by themselves for lunch the next day.

  3. Jamie
    April 6, 2014

    I’m curious to know if the coconut oil makes things taste like coconut?

    • Debbie
      April 7, 2014

      It’s not noticeable to me. If you open the container of coconut oil and smell it, I don’t believe you will even be able to detect any coconut smell. I’m sure it has to do with the refining of it.

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