Take a look at Ray’s year in meals

Rachael Ray lets readers peek into her home cooking life with this cookbook/food diary of recipes, meals and photos of the food she and her husband ate in “My Year in Meals.” With more than 500 recipes and photos of the meals taken by Ray and her husband, this book lays out menus for the month and may get the home cook thinking about cooking seasonally.

The book is organized differently than most cookbooks and more like a food journal, which may cause you to flip through it more leisurely or get irritated when you can’t find the main dishes. Each month is layed out like a calendar, with the names of the dishes shown along with photos of some of the dishes.

The recipes then follow, layed out by days. There is an index in the back of the book, with the names of dishes and some of the ingredients, but if you’re looking for all main dishes, for example, you won’t find it, something that can be a bit troublesome if you’re looking for a particular type of recipe.

Since we’re in January, some of the January recipes featured in the book are New Year’s Lentil Soup, Mushroom Lasagna, Roast Pork with Potato-Parsnip Cakes, Stuffed Cabbage with Rice Pilaf, Double-High Patty Melts, Plum and Ponzu Short Ribs and Pasta with Sausage & Kale in Roasted Garlic Sauce. There is a large variety in the dish presented per month, so there is a lot to choose from.

I made Homemade Gala Applesauce one night to go along with some BLT sandwiches we had made. Ray had made hers with grilled cheese and it sounded like a nice, healthy side dish. This was simple to make, with apples, sugar, apple juice and a bit of orange for extra flavor. The cooked apples reminded me more of baked apples than applesauce, but it was a nice, homey comfort food that didn’t make you regret eating it later with its calories. And it made a lot for all of us.

Flip Ray’s book over and you get her husband, John Cusimano’s “My Year in Cocktails” with more than 100 recipes for adult beverages. It is layed out like any other cookbook, and has a contents page with all of the drinks, followed by photos and recipes of the drinks. There’s Halloween Fizz, Smokehouse Margarita, Sage Whiskey Sour, Berry Birthday, Mulled Hot Cider, Pomegranate Martini and more.

“My Year in Meals” is published by Atria. It is $29.99.

Contact Amy Phelps at aphelps@newsandsentinel.com