Cookbooks

Creamy One-Skillet Chicken Florentine From Joanna Gaines = Dinner Tonight

Plus, two more weeknight-friendly recipes from her new cookbook: Magnolia Table, Volume 2.

April 27, 2020
Photo by Amy Neunsinger

"It is around food that we gather in joy and in grief; it is an offering that comforts us in bad times and enriches the good times," Joanna Gaines writes in the introduction to her new cookbook, Magnolia Table, Volume 2.

This has always been true, of course, but the idea of cooking as comfort feels more important than ever. In the past few weeks, it seems like the world has collectively gathered in the kitchen—baking a batch of crinkly-chewy chocolate chip cookies, letting a pantry-friendly soup burble on the stovetop, and finally attempting a sourdough starter for the first time.

Photo by Amy Neunsinger

No one could have predicted that this is where we'd all be right now, but this collection of new recipes couldn't be more timely. Especially if, like me, you've exhausted your existing repertoire of standby pastas and casseroles (I will always love you, my bucatini marinara, but I think it's time we take a break) and are craving something new to try.

There are weekend projects, which I for one plan to tackle in between breaks of staring at my 1,000-piece puzzle: rosemary-scented focaccia (I finally got my hands on active dry yeast, huzzah!), pulled brisket sliders, and the handheld chocolate cakes served at Magnolia Press (Joanna and Chip's coffee shop in Waco).

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“I realize Joanna wanted to branch out, but for many nothing will out-do "Fixer Upper" and other aspects of their design/reno business. When do they find time to do it all AND take care of all their kids?”
— Shirlee
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And then there are what I like to call the any-nighters: supremely simple, satisfying dishes that can be on the table and ready to eat in under an hour (or 30 minutes). Like the original Magnolia Table cookbook, Volume 2 has this formula down pat.

Joanna's creamy chicken Florentine is a prime example. It hits all those any-night marks I mentioned a second ago—simple? Check. Satisfying? Most certainly. Ready in less than an hour? Easily. And as a bonus, it dirties but one skillet. Sold.

There's also weeknight salmon, speedy shrimp and grits, cheesy chicken and asparagus casserole, very riffable spinach tortellini soup, and so many others.

Flipping through the cookbook is like discovering an episode of Fixer Upper you somehow never watched—fresh, yet soothingly familiar. Each house is unique, but Chip's goofy jokes and Joanna's all-nighter before the big reveal are a constant. Oh, and the shiplap. Always the shiplap.


2 More Recipes to Get You Through the Week

What recipes are you cooking up this week? Tell us in the comments below!

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A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).

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Erin Alexander is the Associate Editor at Food52, covering pop culture, travel, foods of the internet, and all things #sponsored. Formerly at Men’s Journal, Men’s Fitness, Us Weekly, and Hearst, she currently lives in New York City.

6 Comments

Val G. May 1, 2020
Hubby found this recipe in the Parade section of his Sunday paper several months ago, and we tried it a couple of weeks ago. Switched out the chicken breasts for skinless boneless thighs, and it was really tasty. It’s going into our family’s “Big Supper” rotation.
 
Shirlee May 1, 2020
Although I probably won't be buying her cookbook (I have the recipes in other books), for new or semi-new cooks the cookbook seems perfect. The Gaineses need to have something in their venture "Magnolia ____" to set them off from others. I realize Joanna wanted to branch out, but for many nothing will out-do "Fixer Upper" and other aspects of their design/reno business. When do they find time to do it all AND take care of all their kids?
 
Parvin May 1, 2020
If her name and reputation gets people cooking real food at home, then let her sell a million more books. But these 3 recipes seem very basic and ones you could find nearly identical from many other sources. But I guess every designer has a basic black dress, so every cookbook writer can have a basic chicken with cream sauce, sheet pan salmon w/ roasted potatoes and pantry minestrone soup.
 
David C. April 30, 2020
Sorry, with so many excellent recipes from actual chefs why would I be interested in a cookbook by a decorator from Waco? (nothing against Waco!)
 
Danielle April 30, 2020
How can I complete my modern rustic look without my shiplap and ::looks at script:: “spinach tortellini soup?”
 
Bobbie B. April 30, 2020
I love cookbooks, but I find the ones by chefs to sometimes feature recipes with far too many ingredients, or an ingredient that I’ll only use once. I have all Ina Garten’s books (not a chef) and she cooks because she loves food, and loves to feed her friends, and her food is amazing!! Same for Zack Posen. His books are beautiful, and the recipes seem like they are not too daunting for the home cook. I bought Joanna’s fist book, and made the unique cc cookie recipe. They were delish!