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Our favorite cookbooks: Get pizza at home without picking the phone

Here are looks at four recently released cookbooks.

‘Pizza Night: Top It, Stuff It, Twist It – The Easy Way to go With Refrigerated Dough’

By the editors of Pillsbury (Wiley, $14.95)

This colorful, family-friendly cookbook features 96 recipes for classic and creative pies, calzones, Stromboli sandwiches, dipping sticks and even dessert pizzas. Homemade pizza can’t be beaten and more than half of the recipes chosen for this cookbook are Pillsbury Bake-Off Contest winners. Quick tips, substitutions, clever ideas for pizzas and the best ways to use refrigerated dough are also offered. The editors also have included nutritional guidelines, a cooking terms glossary and metric conversions.

Some of the better recipes are those for Four-Cheese Pizza, Easy Stromboli Ham, and Red Bell Pepper and Olive Pizza Sticks. If you crave pizza but are short on time, this is the collection for you.

‘Viva Chocolate’

By Marilyn Noble (Rio Nuevo, $12.95)

This recent addition to Rio Nuevo’s Cook West series offers 50 inventive chocolate recipes, including a savory Turkey Mole, a delectable Chocolate Pear Cake and a surprisingly delicious Pecan Chile Chicken.

Noble, a Denver author, celebrates the very best of cooking with chocolate, from simple, everyday indulgences to decadent desserts whipped up for special occasions. In addition to the recipes, she offers a brief history of chocolate, a description of types and information about chile powders and toasting nuts.

The illustrations in “Viva Chocolate” add just the right touch.

‘The Cheesecake Bible’

By George Geary (Robert Rose, $24.95)

When is a cheesecake more than just a cheesecake? This decadent and delicious collection of more than 200 recipes provides many of the answers. Geary, a food journalist and cooking instructor, provides a wide range of baking inspirations, including recipes for an unusual Pear Nutmeg Cheese Pie, a holiday-inspired Eggnog Nutmeg Rum Cheesecake and even several recipes that do not require baking.

From plain cheesecakes to more elaborate concoctions, this is a fine collection that is user-friendly and accessible. The Austrian Cheesecake is one of the best I’ve ever tasted.

’200 Best Panini Recipes’

By Tiffany Collins (Robert Rose, $24.95)

You can duplicate the tasty excitement of a bistro in your home with a little help from this new collection of panini recipes.

Collins, a nationally recognized culinary professional and spokeswoman for the Texas Beef Council, has selected 200 mouth-watering recipes that are perfect for almost any occasion, each with tips to make it easier to make a perfect panini every time. In addition to the recipes, she gives handy information on equipment and how to stock the ideal panini pantry.

Some of the better recipes are a hearty Meatloaf Panini, a delicious Brie and Blue Cheese Panini with Peach Preserves, and a Veggie Brunch Panini, featuring hummus, alfalfa sprouts and green bell peppers.

Whether you want to prepare a traditional sandwich or something more exotic, these recipes will provide you with an array of tasty choices.

Tucsonan Larry Cox’s “Shelf Life” reviews of fiction and nonfiction books and his “Treasures and Trends” antiques column run Thursdays in Calendar Plus. For more, go to tucsoncitizen.com/calendar. E-mail: contactlarrycox@aol.com

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