If you're set on cooking more in the coming year, a few cookbooks offer budget-conscious meals and recipes you'll actually use.
Epicurious covers three cookbooks released this year that serve as guides for how to stretch your dollar at the grocery store without sacrificing what you're eating at the dinner table: The Frugal Foodie Cookbook: 200 Gourmet Recipes For Any Budget; Family Feasts for $75 a Week; and Dollars to Donuts: Comfort Food and Kitchen Wisdom From Route 66's Landmark Rock Cafe.
For a sense of the first cookbook -- which I believe may be the best of the lot -- read the blog Two Fat Als, where co-authors Alex Small and Alanna Kaufman blog about food and post recipes.
The book I've used most in the past year is The Six O'Clock Scramble. I interviewed author Aviva Goldfarb back when the book was released in 2006, and found she offered practical advice designed to help set up a kitchen to be ready for them when you want to cook.
In addition to providing the basic items to have on hand for cooking that don't readily spoil -- chicken stock, canned beans, canned tomatoes, quinoa -- she sought to help teach people how to use all of the items in their pantry and refrigerator to make sure they're not wasting money on groceries by having to throw food away.
The recipes in her cookbook are organized by season, which is good in terms of knowing what will be available at the grocery store. Her follow-up cookbook, SOS! The Six O'Clock Scramble is set to be released on April 10, 2010.
[Image via Flickr: shannonpatrick17]