The Uncomplicated review is part of our ongoing series of (mostly) Canadian cookbook reviews! The week we put Claire Tansey's first cookbook, Uncomplicated, through its paces.
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Uncomplicated: Taking the Stress of Out of Home Cooking by Claire Tansey lists over 125 easy-to-make, delicious recipes for everyday and entertaining. Her simple approach to cooking will make your kitchen experience enjoyable and stress free.
The Uncomplicated Kitchen, How to Use These Recipes, and Uncomplicated Shopping Chapters
These chapters list essential ingredients and equipment, definitions of elements found in the recipes (e.g., Prep Time, Make Ahead and Slow Cooker), and shopping tips for essential and basic kitchen staples.
Chapters with Sample Recipes
The recipes are well written and all include the Prep Time and Ready In elements, which help with your menu planning. Other elements such as Make Ahead and Switch it Up are also included as applicable to the recipe. The colour photography throughout the cookbook is gorgeous.
Breakfast and Lunch
- Buttermilk Waffles
- Bubble and Squeak
- Blueberry-Bran Muffin Cake
Main Courses and Salads and Soups
- Supper Salad
- Split Pea, Butternut and Bacon Soup
- Tofu Noodle Soup with Spinach and Warm Spices
- Superfood Chicken Caesar Salad
- Easier Chicken and Parmesan Risotto
- Fried Rice with Chicken and Vegetables
Beef, Pork and Lamb
- Herb and Garlic Meatloaf
- Saucy Pot Roast
- Slow-Cooker Sweet and Spicy Ribs
Fish and Seafood
- Baked Lemon Salmon
- Thai Shrimp Curry
- Crunchy Fish Tacos
- Fresh Vegetable Chili
- Double Portobello Cheeseburgers
- Chickpea and Cauliflower Curry
- Pasta Carbonara
- Ravioli Lasagna
- Three-Ingredient Mac and Cheese
Five-Minute Vegetable Sides
- Celery and Fennel Salad
- Jacket Potatoes
- Roasted Broccoli with Lemon and Parmesan
Uncomplicated Dinner Parties and Menus
This section contains tips for hosting a dinner party. Just to name a few, menus for entertaining include:
- Friday After-Work Party
- Dinner with In-laws
- Weeknight Vegetarian Party
- Neighbourhood Drop-In Party
It also includes menus for cocktails, snacks and party dishes.
- Gingerbread Bundt Cake with Lemon Glaze
- Black Forest Brownie Cookies
- Lemon Custards
In My Kitchen
Here's what I tested from Uncomplicated in my own kitchen at home.
Fried Rice with Chicken and Vegetables (Page 82)
Fried Rice with Chicken and Vegetables has become my go-to recipe whenever I have leftover chicken. I've also made it with shrimp instead of chicken, substituted the vegetables, and made it just with vegetables. Although the recipe calls for day-old cold rice, it can be made the same day and used when cooled completely. This dish is delicious and the garlic and ginger add great flavour. Best of all, supper's ready in 30 minutes.
Gingerbread Bundt Cake with Lemon Glaze (Page 238)
This recipe combines my love of Bundt cakes and gingerbread. I made it in the same Bundt pan as shown in the cookbook (I have a collection of specialty Bundt cake pans) and it made a great presentation for dessert. The molasses gives it a warm, deep flavour while the lemon glaze adds a tangy taste. This is one Bundt cake recipe that I'll make again.
Fresh Vegetable Chili (Page 140)
You don’t have to be vegetarian to enjoy this Fresh Vegetable Chili. It makes a hearty meal full of vegetables. The cumin and chili powder spice it up and it tastes delicious. I served it to guests spooned over rice. It tasted so good they asked for seconds! Fresh Vegetable Chili is easy to prepare and has been added to my weekly menu plan.
This dish doesn’t need anything extra, but to make it a little heartier, serve it spooned over Jacket Potatoes (page 184) or rice.
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 carrot, chopped
- 1 stalk celery, chopped
- 1 sweet red pepper, chopped
- 1 zucchini, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 teaspoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 can (28 ounces/796 mL) whole tomatoes, crushed up a bit
- 1 can (5.5 ounces/156 mL) tomato paste
- 1 can (19 ounces/540 mL) kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 cup frozen or canned corn kernels
- ½ cup dry white wine
- ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
- Sour cream
- Grated Cheddar cheese
- Sliced avocado
- Heat the canola oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and salt and cook, stirring occasionally, 3 to 4 minutes or until softened and slightly golden. Add the carrot and celery and cook 2 minutes or until starting to soften. Stir in the red pepper, zucchini and garlic and cook
- minute or so. Stir in chili powder and cumin and cook 30 seconds.
- Add tomatoes with their juices and tomato paste and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, 10 to 15 minutes or until the zucchini and peppers are just tender.
- Stir in beans, corn, white wine and parsley and simmer another 5 minutes.
- Serve garnished with sour cream, Cheddar and avocado.
Make ahead: This keeps well in the fridge for up to 3 days. I find it doesn’t freeze well—the vegetables get too mushy.
The Uncomplicated cookbook is well written and lists recipes for any cooking skill level. I like that it includes a chapter dedicated to vegetarian recipes, but you can also find recipes in other chapters that that are suitable for vegetarian diets. The Uncomplicated Entertaining chapter is noteworthy as it contains useful tips for stress-free entertaining and menus for different occasions. The Uncomplicated cookbook is one you'll refer to for easy and straightforward recipes to cook simple, good food.
Uncomplicated: Taking the Stress Out of Home Cooking
Author: Claire Tansey
Hardcover: 287 Pages
Publisher: Penguin Random House Canada
Excerpted from Uncomplicated: Taking the Stress Out of Home Cooking by Claire Tansey. Copyright © 2018 by Claire Tansey. Published by Penguin Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved
A review copy of Uncomplicated was provided by Penguin Random House Canada.
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The Uncomplicated cookbook review was written by Liliana Tommasini, author of the aptly named blog My Cookbook Addiction. Her passion for baking and cooking began at an early age. Liliana grew up in an Italian household where each meal was made from scratch with fresh ingredients and Sunday family lunches were always a celebration. She has a passion for collecting cookbooks and believes that every recipe tells a story that must be shared to nourish your soul and feed your belly. You can connect with Liliana on Twitter, Facebookand Instagram.