Eat Well, Save Big Cookbook (Review and Giveaway!)

*** Congrats to our winners:  Comments #7, 14, 37, 47, 55, 59, 63, 77 and two winners from our recent Tweet Chat!

If you’re like me, you’re a bit weary of cookbooks promising fabulous meals for under $2-3 bucks per person. They seem to be a remix of the same thing (ground beef, perhaps?) and make dining on a budget seem like a sacrifice. The latest cookbook from All You magazine, however, was a bit more refreshing than most. >Read all about it, and enter to win a copy of your own at the end of the article!

The newest cookbook from All You magazine is one that I’ll come back to often. Why? First of all, there is a picture of every single recipe in full-color within the cookbook. I don’t know about you, but this is a big deal for me. (I rarely try new recipes if I can’t see what they’ll look like when prepared.) In addition to featuring fabulous photos, the book itself is broken down into categories that make sense: Chicken and Turkey, Beef and Lamb, Pork, Fish, and Vegetables. You may think that this means the book leaves out other items like bread and breakfast foods, but they cleverly center these items around your most expensive main ingredient — meat.

Following the theme of saving money, each main dish has a calculated cost per serving, with a total of 248 dishes under $2.50. (Note: The wording may be a bit misleading, as it calls each of the recipes “meals.” I would consider them “dishes,” as you still need to add your sides — at an additional cost, of course.) Families who need to feed a family of 6 on just $.50 a person will find the dishes to be a bit out of their budget, if taken at face value — however, these same families are probably very savvy in their shopping, and could easily find ways to buy things on sale or make simple substitutions to cut costs even further.

Those who read All You magazine regularly (which is currently only available in Walmart stores or by subscription) will recognize many of the dishes as being reprints from the magazine. I personally have clipped several for inclusion in my recipe collection. Even after subscribing for over a year, however, I find most of the dishes to be new. (Plus the benefits of having it all in one book, organized, is well worth the $15 list price.)

All in all, this cookbook has more dishes that I would actually make than some others I’ve looked through. Foodies with both a flavor for diverse dishes and traditional comfort foods, alike, should find something to please their family on a budget. (The book also comes with six high-value grocery coupons, valid until the end of 2010.)

***Editor's Note: Several commenters have asked about whether nutritional info is provided.  For each recipe, there is information for calories, fat (sat), cholesterol, fiber, protein, carb, and sodium.  Thanks for bringing up this question!***

Here’s a sample dish from the book (You can also preview 9 other dishes on the website, or print out a $1.00 coupon on your purchase of the cookbook):

Butternut Squash Ravioli with Sage

Prep: 1 hr.; Cook: 10 min. (Cost per serving: $1.13) Yield: Serves 8

  • 1 1-lb. butternut squash
  • Salt and pepper
  • 9 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped shallot
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped sage plus 2 Tbsp. thinly sliced leaves and 8 whole leaves
  • 1/4 cup ricotta
  • 1/4 cup plus 4 Tbsp. Parmesan
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • 48 wonton skins
  • 4 slices pancetta, chopped

1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Halve squash and remove seeds. Season with salt and pepper and place, flesh side down, on a baking sheet. Bake until tender and a knife comes out easily, about 40 minutes. Use a spoon to scoop out flesh; puree in a food processor or blender until smooth.

2. Melt 1 Tbsp. butter in a skillet. Add shallot and cook until tender, about 3 minutes. Add chopped sage, squash puree, ricotta and 1/4 cup Parmesan. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg, and cook for 1 minute. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely.

3. Place one wonton wrapper on work surface, keeping the rest covered with a damp cloth. Brush wrapper with water and place 1 tsp. squash mixture in center. Place another wrapper on top and seal together with fingers, taking care to push out air bubbles. Use a 3-inch round cookie cutter to cut filled ravioli into circles. Keep finished ravioli covered while you work.

4. In a skillet over medium heat, fry pancetta until crispy, about 5 1/2 minutes. Remove from pan and drain on paper towels. Wipe skillet out.

5. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Melt remaining butter in skillet over very low heat, then add sliced sage. Cook butter and sage until butter turns light golden brown, about 5 minutes; remove from heat. While butter is browning, add ravioli to boiling water, stirring gently so they don't stick together. Cook 4 minutes, then carefully drain.

6. Place 3 ravioli on each plate, top each with 1 Tbsp. browned butter and garnish with 1/2 Tbsp. Parmesan, some crumbled pancetta and one sage leaf. Serve hot.

********We are giving 10 copies of the All You: Eat Well, Save Big cookbook to our readers! To be entered to win, follow one of these 2 methods:

How to Enter:

  1. Post your thoughts on the cookbook below in the comments (what you might like, the recipe you find most interesting or another food-related comment). You have until January 21st at 11:59pm CST to get your entries in, or
  2. Tweet your answer during our live Tweet event today (Thursday, January 14, 2010 at 4:00 pm CST). Include both "@wisebread" and "#WBChat" in your tweet so we'll see it and count it. More details about our weekly chat here.

Good luck!


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Guest's picture

This sounds like a really helpful and interesting cookbook. I'm actually going to try their Spinach-Ricotta Skillet Lasagna recipe that they have on the website.

I know though if I won this book, I would give it to my boyfriend. He's out of work for several months and with two teenagers he has to feed every day, I think this would help him out.

Guest's picture

I really appreciate that the recipes aren't the usual eat-beans-every-day variety. I like beans and lentils but I'm getting sick of them!

Guest's picture

I will try the lemony chicken breasts w/rice for this time of year this recipe looks like a winner.

Guest's picture

We are also always trying to find new dishes that are inexpensive and delicious. This book sounds interesting.

Guest's picture

Looks like a departure from most cookbooks. I would defintely like to try it out.

Hope I can win a copy!

Guest's picture

I have been trying to find a cookbook that not only saves me money (I'm recently furloughed) but also lets me eat well (read: I don't want to gain weight eating on the cheap). The only thing with estimating cost per serving is that this neglects the wasted ingredients. For example, this recipe calls for sage leaves and ricotta - two ingredients I won't likely need again until before they go bad. So cost of the entire ingredient also needs to be considered when figuring the total price per serving. Just a thought.

Guest's picture

As a single mom, I'm always trying to find ways to feed my family well on a budget. This cookbook sounds great.

Guest's picture

I looked at the recipes on their website and all looked good. I think I will make the Creamy Corn Chowder one tonight -- corn chowder is one of my favorites.

This looks like an awesome cookbook.

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Cat Martin

I've been a subscriber of All You for over a year so its good to know there were many recipes still new to you. I always like the ones they include in the magazine especially the lovely pictures. I am always on the look out for a cookbook with recipes that my family can eat/will eat and not cost me an arm &/or a leg.

Guest's picture

I like this idea; you always see recipe books focusing on fat content, low sodium, and other diet trends. It's nice to see a cookbook that actually looks at the cost of the meal!

Guest's picture

Wow, I could use this cookbook! I agree that most cookbooks like this have regurgitated hamburger recipes and I am excited one may not. Going to put it on my Amazon wish list in case I don't win!

Guest's picture

We are constantly trying to balance out sticking to a budget and eating well. I would welcome any of the great recipes this book has to offer!

Guest's picture

This would be a great way for me to improve my cooking skills.

Guest's picture

This cookbooks sounds like a great way to cook on a budget. The white bean and chicken chili would definitely be something I'd try.

Guest's picture

I browsed the recipes and was pleased by how simple they were- even a novice like myself was not scared! The skillet lasagna looks fantastic, as do all the soups and chowders. My only concern is the fat content. I hope I can swap in low-fat alternative ingredients without raising the prices too much.

Guest's picture

Especially those with color photographs and great ideas for eating well inexpensively. I consider myself a frugal foodie, someone who uses the good stuff, but uses it sparingly to make it go farther! Any cookbook with great ideas that you can use your imagination to create new and exciting dishes for your family is a awesome cookbook to me. I look forward to checking this one out!

Guest's picture

Wow, that ravioli sounds DELICIOUS. I'm starving now!

Guest's picture

I am hungry for lunch after reading about this book and seeing some of the recipes. This is a good way to save money and I can use the leftovers for lunch.

Guest's picture

I think this book is a good reference for all age groups in various ways. For young people like myself, this book can be useful to save $$ since we tend to want to spend $ on going out with friends, vacations, etc. and also a good learning tool for those who entered into cooking. For those who are married with children, this is a good way to save since there are financial priorities like paying the mortgage, saving $ for the children's education, etc. And for those who have retired, this is a good reference because it shows the calories per servings, and you really want to watch out on eating a well balanced meal and stayiing healthy. I would LOVE to have this book in the house preferably using it as sort of like a dictionary. Hope I am chosen to receive the free copy!!!

Guest's picture

I admit it, the whole time I was reading this post I was thinking "ok, fine, it's not all ground beef, but I'll bet it's all boring, bland and unhealthy." Then a recipe for butternut squash ravioli? Ancho rubbed flank steak? That's it, I'm SOLD on this book, whether I win a free copy or not. This is stuff I'd cook even if we weren't trying to save money!

Guest's picture

This would save me a lot of time.. I'm always searching through recipe blogs looking for a recipe that would be easy and cheap to make. More time eating, less time looking for something to eat!

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Mike Levy

Eating well is a big thing for me and it's hard to do sometimes. Cutting out the extra fat, sugar, and salt is important to me for my health. If this cookbook can deliver on its promise, that would be huge. The Apricot-Onion Pork Medallions recipe looked very tasty!

Guest's picture

This would be great. I am really trying to eat better and plan better. I think this cook book would help get me off to a great start.

Guest's picture

I'm always looking for new and healthy recipes to make for my family. I'd love to try this cookbook.

Guest's picture

My family and I are always looking for decently simple new recipes that don't taste like they came from a box! These sound delicious and would be fun to try!

Guest's picture

My DW LOVES to read cookbooks and this sounds right up her alley.

Guest's picture

Normally I am not a huge fan of squash, but that recipe sounds absolutely tasty!

Guest's picture

While I usually cook for just one person, me, I would really like this cookbook. I am really trying to cut back on my budget, especially food budget, and need good and cost effective cooking ideas.

Guest's picture

This looks like such a fabulous cookbook. I appreciate that the food looks like food adults would enjoy eating and that the cost per serving looks lower than other cookbooks that claim to be low cost, but are at least twice the price per serving than this.
Would love to win a copy!

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Heidi Cykana

We recently have gotten into cooking (yay for eating at home and saving money), but we desperately need to expand our recipe collection. Whenever I stand at the cookbook section at the bookstore I tend to get so overwhelmed (and hardly any of the bigger books with lots of recipes have any pictures) that I soon wander away without anything. Hence outside of my 1950's copy of the Betty Crocker's kids cookbook, we've only got ourselves and the internet. I'd think it would be great to try some of the recipes in this book, with a lower cost per serving and ingredients I can probably find in my small town.

Guest's picture

We have 3 kid ages 6 to 9 so cooking healthy meals is always a challenge. This sounds interesting.

Guest's picture
Annie G

I think the Spinach-Ricotta Skillet Lasagna recipe sounds delicious. I'd have to convert some others to make them vegetarian, but I do that regularly.

Thanks for the contest. Feel free to stop by my blog to enter my January contest!

Guest's picture
Wendy D.

I too like when there are pictures. I typically pass on a recipe if there aren't pictures. This is especially true if I don't really know some of the ingredients and don't know what the end result should look like.

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Caroline K.

I love the flavor combination of chicken and lemon, so I would like to try that recipe.

Guest's picture

I *love* the idea of this cookbook! It is such a myth that coupons and deals are available only for name brand junk food.

We have been saving money very aggressively at the store for several months now....and my husband and I have each lost over 30 pounds :)

Guest's picture

Looks yummy! I'm always up for another cookbook.

Guest's picture

I NEED this cookbook - I am trying to find new and exciting recipes for my family that are realistic as far as time, budget, and energy level. (Yes, unfortunately, I don't always have boundless energy at 5:30 PM after taking care of my two very busy little kids all day :) These types of recipes are harder to find than one might think, and this particular cookbook sounds like it's right up my alley!

I hope I win!

Guest's picture

I want to try their Coconut Shrimp and Rice!!! The corn chowder looks great too!!!

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I hope there are some good vegetarian recipes in there!

Guest's picture

The cookbook looks great, and I already want to try the ravioli recipe!

Guest's picture

I would love to try this, would be a good surprise meal for my wife!

Guest's picture

Sounds divine. It might just replace the butternut squash spaghetti I had planned for tonight. But I am also tempted to try the Coconut Shrimp and Rice.

Guest's picture

This cookbook sounds like a refreshing alternative to a lot of similar books. I'm facing a bit of dilemma this year, since my two main new years resolutions are to save money and learn to cook great meals.. I'd love a copy to test it out and see what the quality of the food actually is.

Guest's picture

Some of the recipes look interesting. As a frugal, single person, I always have to take into consideration if I can scale the recipe down and/or how long the leftovers will keep and how well they freeze.
I like that the Spinach-Ricotta Skillet Lasagna is only four servings. That's about the right amount for me to eat before it goes bad and I get sick of it. Have to print and try that recipe out, especially since it sounds really good.

Guest's picture
Elaine Halford

As I was reading this, I thought here is a good reason to go to Walmart's (I stay out of ALL stores as much as possible). But if I'm fortunate enough to win a copy of the lovely cook book, I'll be able to pass up even one more visit. Please pick meeeeeeeeeeee!

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Cassandra R.

This looks great. The recipes look targetted to exactly what I'm looking for. I'm very cost-conscious, and this is an awesome resource.
Thanks for the giveaway!

Guest's picture

white bean chicken chili...spicy!

Guest's picture

I like the cost per serving breakdown. Does it include nutritional information as well? Alot of the cookbooks I have looked at either have one or the other but not both. I'd love to see a cookbook that recognizes that providing nutritionally healthful meals(that look at things such as sodium, saturated fat, sugar, carbs or fiber) and wanting to control grocery budget costs are not mutually exclusive tasks for homemakers.


Guest's picture

It would be nice to have a cookbook that combines saving money with still eating well -- a lot of times it seems that has to be a trade-off.

Guest's picture

We regularly eat great meals that feed us twice and total less than $2. I think this cook book would be a waste of money for someone on a tight food budget.

Guest's picture

As someone who's just learning to cook well and frugally on her own, this book looks like a good way to combine the two at a time when I really need it. Count me in.

Guest's picture

I, too, like the fact that each recipe is pictured. Plus the recipes seem simple enough even for me (I'm not very skilled in the kitchen!). I'm trying to prepare more meals at home, so this would be great for my family!

Guest's picture

As a person that is now furloughed 2-days a week, I could use a cookbook that helps me save money. This book will definitely teach me how to cook on a budget. Hope I win!

Guest's picture
Jennifer PHillips

I would love to try some new recipes out! It is hard being frugal and still expanding your recipe base. You get stuck on the same ones for awhile until you get a book like this!

Guest's picture

The Ancho Chili-Rubbed Flank Steak sounds easy enough to make, but is still hearty enough to be considered "man food" by my husband. I can't wait to try this!

Guest's picture
jeccica simpson

This looks like a fun & great cookbook, I have a huge collection on cookbooks, love to add to the collection, The recipe in the review-Butternut Squash Ravioli with Sage sounds wonderful!!! I am going to try it for sure! Thanks for a chance!

Jeccica Simpson
@jessa1130-twitter id

Guest's picture

Always want to try new recipes. Especially ones that save a little money.

Guest's picture

Sounds like a very appropriate book for nowadays... I would be very happy to win it!

Guest's picture

The butternut squash sounds really yummy and is making me even hungrier than I already am!

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I also love SEEING the pictures of items in a cookbook!

Guest's picture

I really like the looks of the cookbook. I especially like the fact that each recipe has a picture. I have turned down many cookbooks because there were no pictures. I would love to win a copy!

Guest's picture

Points to this book for no super long list of ingrediants...or really odd ingrediants (that you'd only use once and then waste). I'm interested in trying the corn chowder and lemon chicken recipies...thanks!

Guest's picture

I love the idea of seeing pictures of each meal. This way I know if what I'm about to cook is presentable enough for company, and they won't need to know that I am actually being frugal.

Guest's picture

I hate cooking, but have been trying to do more of it (to save money and to eat healthier). I'm also kind of a picky eater because I like my food simple, but these recipes look like easy recipes that I would love to try. I would love to be the recipient of one of these books.

Guest's picture

This cookbook will help me work on both my resolutions, saving money and eat better than I have been.

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Lloyd Viente

I like spinach so Spinach-Ricotta Skillet Lasagna looks tasty and budget-friendly.

Guest's picture

Thanks for the chance to win!

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Diana J

I am trying to reconnect with my inner-domestic goddess. These recipes look yummy!

Guest's picture

I have enjoyed All You magazine because of their simple practical recipes. This would be a great collection to have for my family.

Guest's picture

I really enjoy the Allyou magazine and all their receipes to be budget savy. I collect cookbooks and I am alway trying to find new receipes to try on my husband and daughter. This would be a nice additon to my collection.

Guest's picture

I try to spend less on food but this cookbook looks like it would help me pick out the right types of cheap meat and sides to blend them together to eat extravangantly and beautifully by the looks of the pictures! I certainly need this type of help with 3 men in my home to feed.

Guest's picture

This sounds promising for a budget cookbook. So many of them seem to be filled with carbo-load recipes that aren't exactly the most helpful for the waistline :(

Guest's picture

I'm desperate to try some new recipes and cut our food budget.

Guest's picture

This might be a bit of a bore, but thinking of recipes this way is really a way people thought about cooking long ago. Preparing food was a matter of available resources. Just a thought. :)

Guest's picture

I don't know what the recipe is from the front cover - but it looks good!

Guest's picture

the butternut squash ravioli sounds good! and who doesn't love to save $$$

Guest's picture

I am definitely looking forward to trying the recipies in this one! Always looking for a way to save a few $$!

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A Moore

This looks fabulous. We're committed to cooking at home now - not only is the money saved a positive thing, but we can usually make things that taste better than restaurants.

Having something to help broaden our horizons, however, is always good, especially when it's frugal AND health oriented. The ravioli featured above sounds amazing, as do all of the recipies posted online.

Now I'm hungry!

Guest's picture

I love All You, so would love to win a copy of this book!

Guest's picture

I'm trying to learn to cook at 26 years old. I'm looking for a recipe help I can get!

Guest's picture

I would love to checkout this cookbook. I am always looking for budget friendly recipes that are healthy and easy to put together. It has gotten really tight for my family now so I would definately use it.

Guest's picture

I find it interesting that most comments say " I look forward to trying this". But how about an actual review?? Please give an honest opinion of something that has been prepared.

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Judie Baron

I buy the regular all you magazine and take advantage of the coupons for the next issue.I also buy the special additions . I have in my hand the coupon for $1.00 off the cookbook that I have been hanging on to forever. I have wasted more gas going from store to store trying to find the magazine.It just isn't here.Did they all sell out????I did try Walmart several times and numerous other stores.Can you help me out to find one.