I pick up a new favorite cookbook about once a month. I find it inspiring to read through the recipes and I always pick a few to try right away, then I save them on a shelf to refer back to later when I need more inspiration. Last year I did a major purging of my cookbook shelves so I could make room for the new favorites that invariably roll in, but I have to admit that it was hard to let them go.

For today’s Kitchen Explorer’s holiday giveaway, we have hand-picked a collection of our favorite cookbooks to fill the shelves of one Kitchen Explorers reader. (These books will also make great holiday gifts for people on your list!) They include:

Modern Spice: Inspired Indian Flavors for the Contemporary Kitchen by Monica Bhide
Modern Spice makes creating modern, stylish and flavorful Indian meals in our home homes not only possible, but quite simple. Monica’s highly successful career as a food writer/commenter for Food & Wine, Cooking Light, The New York Times,  NPR, and many others, makes the book a great pleasure to read as well as to cook from.

Quiches, Kugels and Couscous: My Search for Jewish Cooking in France by Joan Nathan
Joan is the award-winning author of 10 cookbooks, is a regular contributor to the New York Times, and is probably the world’s leading expert on Jewish food around the world. This book also contains one of my favorite cookie recipes, a highly addictive North African meltaway cookie made with almonds and powdered sugar.

Ciao Italia Family Classics: More than 200 Treasured Recipes from 3 Generations of Italian Cooks by Mary Ann Esposito
Mary Ann is the beloved host of the longest running cooking series in television history, Ciao Italia. In her 11th book, she brings us some of the classic recipes that her family has passed down for generations, like Sicilian Rice Balls and Almond Cheesecake. Her recipes are accessible, easy to make, and guaranteed to be family pleasers.

The United Cakes of America by Warren Brown

Warren is the dynamic found of DC’s cakelove bakeries, a former lawyer turned master baker, entrepreneur and entertainer. Warren’s second book is absolutely gorgeous, with specialty cakes and desserts recipes from all 50 states plus Washington, DC (of course) and Puerto Rico.

The Six O’Clock Scramble by Aviva Goldfarb
This popular cookbook (by yours truly) walks busy cooks through a year of easy, healthy and family-friendly recipes organized by week and by season, with accompanying grocery lists online. All recipes are family-tested, take 30 minutes or less to prepare and have 10 ingredients or less.

To be eligible to win the set of cookbooks, leave a comment below telling us which cookbook you turn to most often. Please leave your comment by 11:59 PM PST on December 13th, 2011. Only one entry per person, please. U.S. addresses only. Winner will be chosen by Random.org on December 14th. Contest is now closed. Congratulations to our winner, Jessica!

We will be doing giveaways every day this week, so please make sure and check back daily.

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  • Heather

    Lately it’s been Mark Bittman’s “How to cook everything”

  • Pamela

    The Six o Clock Scramble is a staple. Easy and healthy!

  • Janel

    I would have to say “How to cook everything” by Mark Bittman is my staple cookbook although I find myself referring more to the app than the actual hard cover book!

  • Sharon c

    The scramble and joy of cooking

  • Rona

    I do most of my recipe searches online these days, but I am a cookbook addict. :-) I probably use my Cooking Light compilations the most.

  • Jessica

    Good Housekeeping Illustrated Cookbook.

  • JessicaW

    I love the Everyday Food cookbooks.

  • Carrie

    Julia Child’s The Way to Cook and Cook’s Illustrated online

  • Jessica

    “The Joy of Cooking”. I use it constantly. And most recently, the new “Cook’s Illustrated”.

  • Micaela Torregrosa-Mahoney

    either the America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook or the Healthy Family Cookbook – those two live on the kitchen desk for quick reference.

  • Monica

    I return again and again to Mollie Katzen’s Moosewood Cookbook and the Enchanted Broccoli Forest. I’ve had them for years!!

  • http://madrantingsofamiddleclassmom.blogspot.com Jenny

    I love my cookbooks and have many but I find I turn to Joy of Cooking and How to Cook Everything

  • Deanna

    I use Everyday Food: Fresh Food Fast and the Cooking Light magazines.

  • Valerie Murphy

    The Joy of Cooking, Bon Appetit, and Epicurious and Cooks.com online.

  • Caroline Kipps

    Well, I use Scramble’s menu most often, so if I were to be honest, I probably turn to Martha Stewart’s “Cookies” most often! Joy of Cooking in second place. This is a great giveaway!

  • Ashley B

    The scramble is my go to! With two icky little ones, I can always find something fast and delicious!

  • Ashley B

    Picky little ones ;)

  • Julie

    Bittman’s “How to Cook Everything”

  • Kathleen Egan

    I use the Joy of Cooking all the time!

  • http://www.visitilak.com Visi Tilak

    Mollie Katzens “The New Moosewood Cookbook” has been my cooking bible, and will continue to be!

  • http://taleof2burgs.blogspot.com/ Mel

    I turn to my Better Homes cookbook. I also love looking up new recipes on line.

  • http://www.makingitbright.com Kandace

    Real Simple’s Easy, Delicious Meals

  • Melissa Helman

    To be honest, I would love to use Modern Spice weekly in my kitchen. I LOVE indian food and would love to cook more with middle eastern spices.

    However, with a picky four year old in the house, I have a feeling the Six o’clock scramble would be the cook book of choice for the moment at my house. I would use Modern Spice a few times a month when I can serve left overs or PBJ to my four year old!

  • http://facebook.com/WhyVeg Heather Katsoulis

    I still refer to Fannie Farmers’ for the basics pretty regularly.

  • Kelly Machart

    Why is this contest only open to U.S. and not Canada? You can’t afford the extra $1 for postage? I am appaulled. You have just lost my business.

  • Jessica Kaufman

    Giada’s Family Dinners is a staple for me when cooking for my family.

  • vel

    Eating healthy is the best revenge is one of my faces. I also like Jessica Seinfeld’s books.

  • Nicole McPherson

    I am always cooking something out of Deceptively Delicious, Simple Secrets to Get Your Kids Eating Good Food by Jessica Seinfeld. I have a picky 4 year old and this gets him eating vegetables. I also turn to my Better Homes & Gardens cookbook for some basics and online, my favorite site being Whole Foods recipes.

  • Amanda Spencer

    I usually turn to a cookbook my grandma gave me that she and a few friends compiled. I love it!

  • Pascale Daryabeigi

    I don’t know many cookbooks I can resist. Anything by Cooking Light I quite like. For health reasons, since summer 2010 I’ve had to switch to a gluten free & dairy free diet. So I’m learning to cook new recipes from “A cook’s bible: Gluten-free, wheat-free & dairy free recipes” by Grace Cheetham.

  • Amy HH

    I would say “The New French Baker” and “Hot Sour Salty Sweet” are probably the two most referenced cookbooks at my house.

  • Diana

    I have a few but like my Best of Bridge, it’s an oldie but a goodie!

  • Sarah T.

    My go-to cookbook is The Best Recipe. Would love to check out this collection.

  • emma

    I tend to look at the Jamie Oliver books more than most books, but lately I’ve taken to reading food mag’s.

  • vcs

    The First Book of Baking

  • Kim

    The Good Housekeeping Cookbook. I refer to it for basic recipes that I can easily tweak to suit my family’s tastes, or utilize ingredients that I have on hand.

  • Laura

    I usually end up looking through several cookbooks (a homemade cookbook that was created by a friend, The Pioneer Woman and Eat This Not That are favorites), then searching online.

  • Stacy

    With a vegetarian husband and two kids who trending vegetarian, I find myself turning often to two books, Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone and Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything Vegetarian. If pressed, I’d pick the Bittman book but it’s a close call. Of course, there are so many other cookbooks I love veggie and non-veggie! With cookbooks, my motto is you can never have enough!

  • Erin Zackey

    Lately I’ve been enjoying The Family Dinner both for recipe ideas and the family dining ideas.

  • Jeanie

    Joy of Cooking

  • Amy Kelly

    Giada DeLaurentiis’s “Giada at Home, Family Recipes from Italy to California”….her spaghetti with mozzarella meatballs…yum!

  • Tish Masarik

    Six O’Clock Scramble – definitely!

  • Amanda S.

    I use “How to Cook Everything” constantly…I wore the cover off, lol.

  • Tracy Cranwell

    I’m always looking for healthy, easy, budget-friendly recipes to share with our chiropractic clients. I would probably use The Six-O’Clock Scramble the most for that purpose.

  • Karen

    I must admit I often refer to my Cooking Light magazines and website.

  • Beth Young

    I would use the “Modern Spice” and the “Ciao Italia” books as I love to cook ethnic foods, but my Italian needs some inspiration past spaghetti and lasagna, and I have no experience with Indian cuisine but have always wanted to try it!!

  • http://everydaymom23.blogspot.com/ Kim

    the internet has been my main cookbook recently

  • Amy H

    my biggest loser cookbook :D

  • Janet J.

    I most often turn to my old school red-checkered, 3-ring-binder version of Betty Crocker.

  • Stacy

    Joy of cooking

  • Trina Helfrich

    Joy of Cooking and Time for Dinner

    Thanks!

  • joanne

    I usually use one of Lidia’s cookbooks, The Joy of Cooking or the internet

  • Cindy F

    Right now, it is my great grandmother’s Betty Crocker Cooky cookbook.

  • melissa

    The Gypsy Kitchen.

  • Amy Specht

    I have a church cookbook that I’ve been using… Or the internet.

  • Christine

    Definitely the Better Homes & Gardens “plaid” cookbook. I love the updated, pink version.

  • amy guggenheim

    I use the edition of Craig Claibourne’s New York Times Cookbook that my mother used when I was growing up – nostalgic overtones, but also genuinely delicious recipes with expert cooking directions and techniques. ;) Amy

  • rose

    I have been using the tried and true Better Homes and Gardens cookbook! Can’t do without it!

  • Amy Jo

    I look in my Cooks Illustrated magazines. I can usually find information on just about anything!

  • Marsha Jo

    I have an old “Farmers” cookbook that has lots of simple and quick recipes that have been gathered from farmers and their wives from around our USA. It not only has the recipe but tells a little about the family farm from which the recipe came. It is often taken down just for a fun read.

  • Christy

    I always turn to my Betty Crocker, it has fun and easy recipes especailly when my son helps cook and bake.

  • Gretta D.

    I have been turning to Gooseberry Patch Slow Cooker Recipes! With kids in school and busy holiday season its a life saver some nights!

  • Gail

    We turn to Betty Crocker and Better Homes and Gardens (any of the cookbooks) a lot! I’ve been turning my daughter and friends loose in the kitchen making treats. Next will have to be meals! I’m going to have to check out The Six O’clock Scramble. That sounds like a fit for our family.

  • Sumayyah Jameson

    I turn to both Better Homes New Cookbook and Betty Crocker’s New Cookbook. I use many others – but these are my staples.

  • Darcee Johnson

    I probably use my family cookbook the most (my grandma and aunts are great cooks). It has a little bit of everything in it….main dishes, desserts, breads, salads, and even how to make my own taco seasoning or how to make my own stain removers!

  • Cynthia Vandenberg

    Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone.
    And the Gourmet. Cookbook are my faces!

  • Sharon Komforty

    My son is 12 years old and has just finished taking a cooking class in middle school. So I usually pick up some fun cookbooks from the public library and we usually try to whip up something exciting together.

  • Judy

    Epicurious

  • Mary

    I turn to Betty Crocker for the classics.

  • Cathy from Arizona

    Betty Crocker and Better Homes and Gardens–equally

  • beth

    the old faithful – Betty Crocker.

  • Adrienne

    The Vegetarian Family Cookbook by Nava Atlas is wonderful.

  • Heather

    Honestly, I usually go online – usually Epicurious.com. The book I look through most often though, is Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home.

  • http://gulfcoastlocalfood.org Ang J

    Bittman’s How to Cook Everything Vegetarian

  • Lauren

    I have lots of favorites but lately I have been using the Family Dinner a lot, jessica Seinfelds books, and the BarefootvContessa.

  • Kate M

    The Joy of Cooking and the Internet are my go-to sources.

  • Kelly

    I turn to my Fix-it and Forget-it Lightly for my crockpot especially this time of year. My latest for new ideas is Jacques Pepin More Fast Food My Way -looking at ot now for tomorrow dinner.

  • Marianne

    The six o’clock scramble has been an absolute lifesaver and it is my go-to for nearly 4 nights out of the week. The rest are leftovers, maybe one other dish of my own and a take out night to treat the family. Love, love, love the scramble for the delicious meals, quick recipes, and grocery lists. What a tremendous idea. Has me preparing food I have never tried before!

  • Katina

    I love Kraft Foods and Betty Crockers cookbooks and websites.

  • Erica

    The All New Joy of Cooking. It was the cookbook my husband brought to our relationship. He has used it regularly via being the pancake king and chocolate cookie marvel. When I have too much of or a leftover ingredient and want some ideas of what to do with it, I look it up in Joy’s index. It always makes me try something I never would have thought of on my own in the kitchen.

  • Gigi Cuccaro

    I would love the Ciao Italia. Grew up in Vicenza, Italy. My grandparents were from Sicily. Yummm!

  • Rebekah

    I love barefoot contessa family style

  • http://acookandherbooks.blogspot.com Lucy

    The cookbook that I use most often is the Pillsbury Cookbook.

  • carol

    I use a lot – but for the holidays – the JR league. In general Southern Living has great recipes

  • Sharon K.

    I still probably go back the most to my first cookbook, my red checkerboard Betty Crocker three ring binder.

  • Diana G

    cooking light annual compilation cookbooks are great. I also have a great book called the Underground Gourmet from the 70’s or early 80’s and it’s got recipes from little New York restaurants and old Dairy Cafeterias that are no longer in business. Their recipes are often simple and tasty.

  • Janelle

    Lately, the internet has been my go to for recipes.

  • http://www.cheeriosunderfoot.blogspot.com Lisa

    My mom’s ancient Betty Crocker cookbook.

  • Annette Calteaux

    I usually turn to a cookbook I am creating for my children – it is a book where I record our favorite recipes.

  • Julie

    I love the America’s Test Kitchen cookbooks, but I have been using Carol Field’s, “The Italian Baker” lately as it is the holiday season. Love that book!

  • Sarah Colwill

    I like the Joy of Cooking and King Arthur Baking Books.

  • christene

    30-minute indian, and the joy of cooking.

  • Lyn H.

    Mark Bittman’s “How to Cook Everything” and Web sites (Allrecipes, Epicurious, Foodgawker).

  • MaryEllen

    I was just a newlywed when my grandmother passed away. My mom gave me her very used, very loved, Betty Crocker Cookbook, which was also filled with index cards and scraps of paper with her own recipes on them, along with recipes she’d cut out over the years. One of my cherished items.

  • Susan

    I most often turn to my 11th edition of Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook that I bought right after moving out on my own, Dough by Richard Bertinet and a copy of Mrs. Owen’s Cookbook from the mid 1800’s.

  • Sarah

    I love all the books from the Cook’ Illustrated Team!

  • dm barnes

    my grandmother’s copy of JOY of cooking

  • john Mattmiller

    Weight watchers to help my wife: )

  • http://www.jinxyisms.com/ Christy

    How to cook everything vegetarian.

  • Jessica

    Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking by Marcella Hazan , amazing Italian pasta sauces!

  • Shannon C.

    The Pioneer Woman

  • http://www.kristenmclane.com Kristen M.

    Cookbooks are a weakness. I love just reading them (mostly checking them out from the library). I learn many of my recipes online now. One book I have that I am currently enjoying is the updated Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes.

  • KelTN

    I love old church cookbooks…great ‘old school’ recipes!

  • Miss Margy

    I use my Rachael Ray cookbooks a lot. Lately, I’ve also really been into food blogs. Lots of great ideas to be found in those!

  • Gidget

    I have my Grandmothers Betty Crocker ‘I think’ published in 1940, I love to use it just to read her notes!

  • cyndi shonnard

    the cookbook i reach for most often is *betty crocker*. it is chock a block full of the basics which i seem to need on a pretty regular basis.
    Thanks!

  • Leslie W

    I seem to always go back to the Betty Crocker cookbook my mom gave me years ago!

  • Kenna Wright

    Betty Crocker but I sure would like to change it up a bit!

  • LisaL

    Don’t have many cookbooks but love the cook’s illustrated cookbooks

  • Sharon B

    allrecipes.com or my local cookbook

  • http://bizzandbooboo.wordpress.com Jesse M

    I have been using the cookbook Nourishing Traditions and following read food bloggers for my recipes the most often!!

  • Katie Hiebert

    Pioneer woman

  • Molly

    Alton Brown’s Good Eats cookbooks!

  • Laurie in MN

    I have a computer…there are actually books for this?

    Just kidding…but I find myself looking more online than in my collection of cookbooks lately!

    Last one was probably p-dub’s

  • Mary

    Oh I wouls so use The Six O’clock Scramble everyday!!!!

  • Doug

    I use “Slow Cooker Revolution” the most, but now that I have seen “Modern Spice,” hmmm….

  • http://www.pbs.org/parents/kitchenexplorers/2011/12/08/west-bend-convection-toaster-oven-giveaway/#comment-4164 JoAnn

    The Joy of Cooking and Julia Child’s The Way to Cook

  • Joan

    The cookbook I turn to the most is the newest one I’ve added to my collection and am cooking from.
    joosbornenc at yahoo dot come

  • cassandra

    I always refer to my copy of joy of cooking for most of everything I cook. i love the recipes and flavors.
    cmarquez482(at)ymail(dot)com

  • Mary

    BHG New cookbook is my go to

  • Anthony Boatwright

    “The Joy of Cooking” and “Cook’s Illustrated”.

  • rose

    Joy of Living

  • http://www.thewellreadchild.com Jill

    I love cookbooks and often turn to the Joy of Cooking or the Fannie Farmer Cookbook for basic, classic recipes. For quick, healthy meals, I turn to Real Simple or the Scramble. But my absolute favorite cookbook is one of my grandmother’s old church cookbooks. Whenever I’m missing her, I open it up and make her zucchini bed recipe.

    • http://www.thewellreadchild.com Jill

      oops…I meant to say zucchini BREAD!

  • http://kristinpotpie.com/ Kristin

    The Joy of cooking – of course! Great go-to for the basics!

  • Dale

    All variants of Bittman’s basics are excellent go-to not just when I’m cooking but also when I want to study about cooking, learning the way to add and subtract ingredients to produce a wide range of variants on a single, classic dish.

  • Suchi Dave

    I love the simplicity and authenticity of Gordon Ramsey’s recipes. I also love Ellie Krieger’s healthy alternatives of some of my favorite food.

  • Becki H

    Bittman-How to Cook Everything

  • Katie

    I look on-line more often now, though I still love to flip through cookbooks. A lot of our family favorites are from the Silver Palate cookbooks.

  • Stephanie

    I have been into ATK’s The Best 30 Minutes Recipe

  • Catherine

    America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook

  • Meghan

    It’s still Betty Crocker. Tried and true

  • Stacey Albert

    Not to be too boring with so many others, but while I have many I love to flip through, I turn to Bittman’s How to Cook Everything most frequently. (Frequent online use of 6’Oclock Scramble and subscriber though!)

  • Teslaca

    I use The Moosewood Cookbook the most. I’ve made most everything in it!

  • Laura

    Betty Crocker’s Cookbook for the basics–
    and the 6 O’clock Scramble website

  • Katie

    My mom’s 1950 Betty Crocker Cookbook… I use it for all my cookie recipes!

  • Sandra Simmons

    I love Aviva Goldfarb’s cookbooks! I turn to them often when I have a need for a speedy , tasty dish. I love Stop and Smell the Rosemary because everything is delicious. I love the Pioneer Woman’s cookbook because it’s all comfort food.

  • Jen LF

    It definitely depends on what I’m making. For interesting healthy dinners, it’s one of the Six O’Clock Scramble books. For staples, or basics (how to make whipped cream, how to boil corn, etc.!), it’s the Joy of Cooking. Tattered and torn, but always reliable.

  • Kelly

    Six O’Clock Scramble of course!

  • Jennifer Collins

    Im not a great cook, so I like the 101 things to do with series…and like to use my crock pot or pressure cooker

  • http://www.tlchomecooking.com Judy Buonocore

    I love my old Betty Crocker picture cookbook but I always look for new ideas to add to my personal chef recipe archive

  • Karen D

    I’ve been using Scramble recipes more and more often, but for a cookbook choice- my Moosewood cookbook collection.

  • David

    the internet