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.

Cookbook Review: Uncomplicated by Claire Tansey | Food Bloggers of Canada

Editor's Note: This article contains affiliate links — full disclosure is at the end of the article.

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.

Contents

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

Chicken

  • 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

Vegetarian

  • Fresh Vegetable Chili
  • Double Portobello Cheeseburgers
  • Chickpea and Cauliflower Curry

Pasta

  • 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.

Baking

  • 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.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Fresh Vegetable Chili
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
This is a recipe I often make on a Monday so my family and I can enjoy it for lunches all week long. Because the recipe focuses on vegetables (instead of beans or meat substitutes), it has a freshness that keeps it from getting boring, and I love the different colours and textures. When chopping the vegetables, I try to make them all about the same size. This makes the chili more visually appealing and somehow more delicious. Whole canned tomatoes, crushed up a bit, are much more flavourful than the pre-diced ones.

This dish doesn’t need anything extra, but to make it a little heartier, serve it spooned over Jacket Potatoes (page 184) or rice.
Author:
Serves: Serves 4
Ingredients
  • 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
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For garnish
  • Sour cream
  • Grated Cheddar cheese
  • Sliced avocado
Instructions
  1. 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
  2. minute or so. Stir in chili powder and cumin and cook 30 seconds.
  3. 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.
  4. Stir in beans, corn, white wine and parsley and simmer another 5 minutes.
  5. Serve garnished with sour cream, Cheddar and avocado.
Notes
Tip: There are two easy ways to crush whole tomatoes. Use a pair of kitchen scissors to snip them up in the can, or pour some of the juice out into the pot and then use your hand to crush each tomato before adding to the pot.

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.

 

Bookshelf Worthy?

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
ISBN: 978-0-7352-3399-7

Acknowledgement
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.

This site is a participant in the Amazon Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for the site to earn fees by linking to Amazon and affiliated sites.


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.

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One Comment

BARBARA COPELAND
Reply

ABSOLUTELY BOOKSHELF THIS BOOK HAS SOME AMAZING RECIPES. WISH I HAD SOME. THERES A LOT I WOULD LOVE TO TRY

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