I don’t like to cook. There are about million other things I’d rather be doing than cooking, but since my family likes to eat, I don’t have much choice. At this season in my life, I have to stick to meals that require no more than 30 minutes prep time. As a result, we’ve been eating a lot of pasta dishes. However, I have just discovered two wonderful cookbooks: Saving Dinner and Saving Dinner the Low-Carb Way, both by Leanne Ely. You can visit her website at www.savingdinner.com.
So what’s so great about these cookbooks? Well, the whole premise is to create healthy, easy dinners that the whole family will eat. The recipes are divided by season to take advantage of the fresh foods that are in season. The summer recipes are mostly for either the grill or the crockpot so you can avoid heating up the whole house with the oven. Winter recipes include lots of soups and stews.
Each season is further divided into 6 weeks, each week has 6 recipes. You go through each week twice a season, giving you plenty of variety throughout the whole year. Another cool feature is the shopping lists that are included for each week. You could just take your book shopping if you’d like, but even better, each week’s shopping list is available to download and printout from her website.
But really the heart of the books are the recipes of course! They are quick and easy to make and only use ingredients that you’ll find in any supermarket. One thing I found very cool was that often one recipe will use only part of one ingredient, only to use the remainder in another recipe for that week. For example, last week I used 1/2 a cucumber in a recipe one day. Two days later, I used the rest. No soggy, rotten 1/2 used cucumber in the fridge next week! Another cool thing – if you use the recipes from a given week in the order they are listed, the last line of a recipe will often be a reminder to marinade the meat overnight for the next day’s dinner. She thinks of everything!
We have loved every recipe we’ve tried so far. Sometimes the children don’t really care for the sauce, like a sourcream-horseradish sauce for salmon, but they have always enjoyed the main part of the meal. Most of the sauces are supposed to be on the side or added after cooking, so leaving them off the children’s servings has not been a problem.
The recipes generally are sized to serve 4 but are easily adapted for a larger family. The website has a chart to help you adjust the serving size up or down.
Overall, I give these books 5 stars! If you’re looking to simplify your meal planning or just want to get out of a cooking rut, check these books out.