Ina Garten’s 10 Best Recipes From ‘Cooking For Jeffrey’

Ina Garten has published hundreds of recipes in her Barefoot Contessa cookbooks over the years. But the meals she loves the most are the ones she makes for her husband, Jeffrey. And those are the ones she featured in her book Cooking For Jeffrey. The question is — which recipes are the best? 

Here are our picks for the 10 best recipes from Ina Garten’s cookbook Cooking For Jeffrey.

Ina Garten and Jeffrey Garten get cheeky as they attend the "Barefoot Under the Stars" event at the Wolffer Estate Vineyard on June 25, 2011 in Sagaponack, New York
Jeffrey and Ina Garten | Sonia Moskowitz/Getty Images

10. Perfect Potato Pancakes are a vegetarian’s dream

Ina’s Perfect Potato Pancakes must be made ahead of time so the mixture can sit in the refrigerator for “several hours.”  Then, you’ll fry the pancakes just before serving or up to 30 minutes ahead of time.

You will need a ricer or the coarsest blade from a food mill when prepping the potatoes. And to make the recipe a bit easier, you’ll also need a food processor fitted with the coarsest grating disk.

9. Smoked Salmon Pizzas are ‘different and fun’

Seafood on pizza? Yes, it can be done — and not with anchovies. Ina’s Smoked Salmon Pizzas feature a homemade crust, mascarpone cheese, and Mesclun with Lemon Dill Vinaigrette on top.

“Excellent, classy, different and fun recipe!,” one happy reviewer wrote. Another added, “This is SO good…5 stars! My husband loved it – A new favorite.”

8. Ina Garten’s 16 Bean Pasta e Fagioli is better than the restaurant version

Have you ever enjoyed Pasta e Fagioli with a soup, salad, and breadsticks lunch at Olive Garden? Well, Ina’s 16 Bean Pasta e Fagioli puts the restaurant version to shame. No, you don’t need 16 different kinds of beans in your pantry to make this delicious soup. The key ingredient is 16-bean soup mix. 

“This recipe is so hearty and delicious. It has easy prep. With some crusty bread and a salad, you could serve this for a dinner party…Thank you, Ina!” one satisfied fan shared.

7. Tarragon Shrimp Salad is a church potluck favorite

A cool, healthy seafood salad like Ina’s Tarragon Shrimp Salad is a perfect dish during a hot summer. The recipe can easily be doubled for a large gathering, like a church potluck or a backyard cookout. And we promise, it will be a hit.

“I’m obsessed with this recipe!” one Barefoot Contessa fan shared. Another added, “A church potluck favorite, double the recipe, wonderful year-round in our Florida heat! This recipe has become a family favorite!!!”

6. Skillet-Roasted Lemon Chicken is an easy weeknight dinner

Barefoot Contessa fans know that Jeffrey Garten loves chicken dishes, especially Ina’s Perfect Roast Chicken. But our favorite chicken recipe in Cooking For Jeffrey was the Skillet-Roasted Lemon Chicken.

The recipe calls for a four-pound chicken with the backbone removed and butterflied. You’ll also need thyme, whole fennel seeds, salt and pepper, olive oil, lemons, yellow onion, garlic cloves, and dry white wine.

5. Ina Garten’s Shrimp and Swordfish Curry recipe is loaded with spices

If you live in an area with access to fresh swordfish and shrimp — and you like seafood dishes with a little kick — then you must try Ina’s Shrimp and Swordfish Curry. This dish is loaded with spices like curry powder, coriander, cumin, turmeric, cayenne pepper, and cloves. 

This recipe also features red bell pepper, garlic, onions, ginger, jalapeño pepper, plum tomatoes, lime, and clam stock, plus some olive oil and butter.

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4. Chipotle Smashed Sweet Potatoes should be part of your dinner side dish rotation

Ina ups her potato game with her recipe for Chipotle Smashed Sweet Potatoes. Start by roasting four pounds of sweet potatoes in the oven for about an hour, until very tender. Meanwhile, mix together whole milk, heavy cream, and minced chipotle chiles in adobo sauce in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Then, lower the heat and let it simmer.

Finally, mix the potatoes and the chipotle mixture together and add maple syrup, butter, and salt. After baking, sprinkle the potatoes with salt and pepper.

3. Root Vegetable Gratin is a ‘beautiful addition to any meal’

Put those garden veggies and herbs to good use with Ina’s recipe for Root Vegetable Gratin. Ingredients include olive oil, onion, fennel, garlic, sweet potatoes, celery root, Yukon Gold potatoes, heavy cream, chicken stock, grated Gruyère cheese, fresh thyme, salt, pepper, and bread crumbs.

“Just made this recipe this evening and everyone said it was worthy of a repeat performance! In addition to the gruyere cheese, I add some white cheddar cheese for added flavor,” one fan shared. Another added, “Excellent and beautiful addition to any meal.”

2. Chocolate Creme Brulee is a five-star, elegant dessert

Wow the guests at your next dinner party with Ina’s Chocolate Creme Brulee. This five-star dessert recipe calls for an extra-large egg, extra-large egg yolks, sugar, heavy cream, bittersweet chocolate, instant espresso granules, coffee liqueur, and pure vanilla extract. 

Of course, you will need a kitchen blowtorch to make this yummy dessert. Other kitchen tools needed include ramekins, a large roasting pan, a heatproof bowl, a whisk, a medium saucepan, a large measuring cup, and plastic wrap.

“Amazing! Elegant and fun. Love that it makes individual servings and can be prepped ahead of time – perfect for a dinner party. Chocolate makes it equally enjoyed by adults and kids,” one reviewer shared.

1. Ina Garten’s Vanilla Cream Cheese Pound Cake recipe is ‘the best’

Another fantastic dessert from Cooking For Jeffrey is Ina’s Vanilla Cream Cheese Pound Cake. This is an easy recipe, but it does take a couple of hours to make because it needs at least 30 minutes to cool.

Ina suggests serving this cake by allowing a pint of vanilla ice cream to melt and pouring a couple of tablespoons onto the bottom of each dessert plate. Then, she recommends topping a slice with fresh raspberries. 

“Best pound cake ever!” one happy fan wrote. Another added, “This is the best pound cake recipe I have ever had. The turbinado sugar and cream cheese make such a difference.”

The Barefoot Contessa airs on the Food Network.

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