Saving Dinner: The Menus, Recipes, And Shopping Lists To Bring Your Family Back To The Table

Paperback | August 25, 2009

byLeanne Ely

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From Big Basil Burgers and Salmon Carbonara to Crockpot Chili and Spicy Apricot Chicken, Saving Dinner will have your family coming back to the table–and back again for seconds!

Thanks to Leanne Ely’s handy cookbook and meal planning guide, tens of thousands of people have already discovered that making dinner (and shopping for food!) can be a stress-free endeavor. Say goodbye to take-out and microwave fare and hello to tasty, nutritious dishes. This newly expanded edition of Ely’s classic Saving Dinner includes even quicker “dinner kits”–Ely’s foolproof method of assembling and freezing delicious meals, from hearty beef and chicken entrees to fresh seafood and vegetable dishes. Imagine preparing a month’s worth of weeknight dinners in a snap.

Full of practical tips on simple, healthy, and inexpensive meal planning, Saving Dinner is the ideal solution for today’s busy parents who would love to have their family sitting around the dinner table once again. Each of the book’s efficient seasonal sections features

• six weeks of menus with delicious recipes
• side-dish suggestions, like Roasted Red Potatoes and So-Easy, You-Don't-Need-a-Recipe Coleslaw
• an itemized grocery list organized by product (dairy, meat, produce) to make one-stop shopping a breeze
• helpful hints and kitchen shortcuts that make cooking easier and more fun

Healthy, home-cooked dinners shouldn’t be a thing of the past. With Leanne Ely’s easy-to-follow recipes and advice, you can save dinner from extinction and return it to its rightful place–your family’s kitchen table.

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From the Publisher

From Big Basil Burgers and Salmon Carbonara to Crockpot Chili and Spicy Apricot Chicken, Saving Dinner will have your family coming back to the table–and back again for seconds!Thanks to Leanne Ely’s handy cookbook and meal planning guide, tens of thousands of people have already discovered that making dinner (and shopping for food!) c...

From the Jacket

“Knowing what’s for supper is the key to getting rid of the chaos. This is one of the most powerful tools out there to make it happen.”—Marla Cilley, the FlyLady, author of Sink Reflections

Leanne Ely is a certified nutritionist and the host of SavingDinner.com. Her syndicated column, “The Dinner Diva,” appears in 250 newspapers nationwide. She writes a popular “Food for Thought” column on the ever-popular FlyLady.net website, and hosts “The Dinner Diva” radio show on Blog Talk Radio. Ely also writes her own e-zine, Healt...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:352 pages, 9.19 × 7.3 × 0.7 inPublished:August 25, 2009Publisher:Random House Publishing GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:034551629X

ISBN - 13:9780345516299

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Read from the Book

FallAs the weather starts to change, the welcome relief from the heat begins to take hold and paint the leaves of the trees autumnal colors. With crisp fall weather, warm comfort foods begin to play into these coming weeks. The rich, glorious flavors of fall are showcased in this first set of menus with rich stews, thick soups, and recipes featuring delicious winter squashes.Week OneDay One: Apple ChickenDay Two: Roast Beef PicanteDay Three: Beany BurritosDay Four: Moroccan Fish TangineDay Five: Italian Turkey Meat LoafDay Six: Crock Pea SoupShopping ListMeat6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves11Ú2 pounds boneless sirloin roast6 whitefish fillets1/2 package Italian turkey sausages1/2 pound ground turkey1 ham boneCondimentsvegetable oilolive oilcider vinegardry white wineWorcestershire sauceProduce1 lime2-3 lemons4 Granny Smith apples3 pounds onions (keep on hand)garlic (you'll need 7 cloves)3 tomatoes2 bell peppers1 bunch carrotscelery (you'll need 1 stalk)1 small jalape-o pepper1 small bunch parsley1 bunch cilantro1 bunch green onions**russet potatoes (1 meal)**butternut squash (2 meals)**broccoli (2 meals)**kale (2 meals)**spinach (I like baby spinach) (2 meals)**baby carrots (2 meals)**sweet potatoes (1 meal)**2-3 heads lettuce (not Iceberg)Canned Goods1 28-ounce jar spaghetti sauce1 14-ounce can chicken broth1 14-ounce can beef broth1 jar salsa (your favorite)1 small can tomato puree (you'll need 3 tablespoons)1 14 1/2-ounce can diced tomatoes with Italian herbs1 15-ounce can pinto beans1 15-ounce can black beansSpices1 envelope taco seasoning (low sodium is a good option)paprikaground cuminbay leavesthymeDairy/Dairy Caseeggs (you'll need 1)Parmesan cheese (you'll need 1/3 cup, grated)**sour cream (I use low fat)Dry Goodsbrown sugar (you'll need 1/3 cup)sugar (you'll need 2 teaspoons)cornstarch (you'll need 4 tablespoons)oats (you'll need 1/2 cup)flour (you'll need 1/3 cup)1 pound split peas**brown rice (2 meals)**pasta (1 meal)Bakery6 flour tortillas (whole wheat, if available)**whole-grain rolls (1 meal)Apple ChickenServes 61 1/4 teaspoons vegetable oil6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cut into 1/2-inch cubes4 Granny Smith apples, cored and sliced into 1/2-inch wedges3/4 cup dry white wine3/4 cup chicken broth1/3 cup brown sugar1/4 cup cider vinegar3 tablespoons cornstarch2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce1/2 teaspoon salt1 teaspoon black pepperHeat oil in a large nonstick skillet. Add chicken and brown on all sides. Add apple slices, saute 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add 1Ú2 the wine and chicken broth, reduce heat, cover, and simmer 10 minutes. Mix remaining wine and broth together with remaining ingredients; add to skillet. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until sauce thickens.PER SERVING: 161 Calories; 2g Fat (15.5% calories from fat); 7g Protein; 24g Carbohydrate; 2g Dietary Fiber; 16mg Cholesterol; 246mg Sodium. Exchanges: 1/2 Grain (Starch); 1 Lean Meat; 1/2 Fruit; 0 Fat; 1/2 Other Carbohydrates.Serving Suggestions: Baked potatoes, baked butternut squash, and steamed broccoli.Roast Beef PicanteServes 6 (with leftovers)1/2 cup finely chopped onion1/4 cup water3 tablespoons lime juice2 large cloves garlic, pressed1 tablespoon olive oil1/2 small jalape-o pepper, finely minced1/2 teaspoon thyme, dividedSalt and pepper to taste1 1/2 pounds boneless sirloin roast1 cup beef broth2 teaspoons sugar1 tablespoon cornstarch2 tablespoons parsley, choppedFor marinade, combine onion, water, lime juice, garlic, olive oil, jalape-o pepper, 1/4 teaspoon let the thyme, salt, and pepper. Place beef in a plastic bag. Pour marinade over meat, seal bag, and refrigerate 6-8 hours.Remove meat from marinade, reserving marinade. Place meat on a rack in a roasting pan.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Roast for 40-50 minutes or until desired doneness. Remove meat from pan; cover with foil. Let stand 10 minutes.Meanwhile strain remaining marinade. Deglaze pan with 1Ú2 cup of the beef broth; pour into a small saucepan. Add the strained marinade, sugar, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon thyme to saucepan. Combine remaining broth with cornstarch; add to saucepan. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir 1 minute more. Stir in parsley. Slice meat to serve; serve with sauce.PER SERVING:181 Calories; 7g Fat (36.8% calories from fat); 22g Protein; 6g Carbohydrate; trace Dietary Fiber; 51mg Cholesterol; 346mg Sodium. Exchanges: 0 Grain (Starch); 3 Lean Meat; 1/2 Vegetable; 0 Fruit; 1Ú2 Fat; 0 Other Carbohydrates.Serving Suggestions: Brown rice, steamed kale, baked sweet potatoes, and a salad. Remember, you want to use the leftover beef tomorrow night (but leftovers are not absolutely necessary).A Salad (side) BarI can't help but push the nutritional envelope hard when it comes to making salads. If you're at all following the Serving Suggestions in the book (and I really hope you are!), you will notice the abundant suggestions for salad to be served with nearly all the recipes. The reasons for all this green boils down to the fact that we eat entirely too many cooked foods and rarely eat anything raw. A salad gives your body the alimentary opportunity to tackle a raw food and get those important enzymes, vitamins, and minerals so readily available from uncooked produce.But in order to avail yourself of these nutrient-rich possibilities, it is necessary to understand what constitutes healthy when it comes to salad making. A pale hunk of iceberg lettuce with a goopy ladle of blue cheese dressing doesn't cut it. And yet so many people think because they've eaten this "salad," they're giving their bodies the nutrition it needs. Not true!A good rule of thumb for evaluating a good salad should be color. Color is a great indicator of what's ahead: good nutrition or near-empty calories. The more vibrant the color, the healthier it is.Let's go back to that Iceberg lettuce salad. It's pale green and white. The Iceberg lettuce's value is mostly the water it carries. Fiber is minimal and nutrition almost nonexistent. The blue cheese is dripping with all kinds of fat so that X's that off the list immediately. Let's do a salad makeover, shall we?First of all, you need to choose green. Green like spinach, salad bowl (Butter or Bibb), or romaine lettuces--all wonderful examples of what green should look like. The color is there and so is the nutrition.Look for red. Tomatoes come to mind. Vine ripened and full of vitamin C, tomatoes also contain the important phytochemical lypocene that helps fight cancer.Orange or yellow? How about some colorful bell pepper or (when in season) summer squash? Carrots are fantastic sources for beta-carotene, a pre-vitamin for vitamin A. Beta-carotene has so many important functions, but the best part about beta-carotene is that it will convert into only as much vitamin A as the body needs, so there's no worry about taking in too much. You know what happens if you have too much beta-carotene? You turn orange! My son was orange for the first and second years of his life--he loved sweet potatoes.This is all common-sense nutrition here, but the point is to get you thinking next time you're meandering your way through the produce section at the grocery store. Think in vivid, living color--you need the nutrition!Tortilla FlatsWhole-wheat tortillas have a better flavor and texture than white flour tortillas, and if you have a choice at the grocery store, give these whole-grain alternatives a try. Also check the package for lard or shortening--you definitely want vegetable oil instead (much healthier).Corn tortillas are corn tortillas, although some brands are better than others. You'll have to try different brands to see which one you like best. Here in California, we have every brand known to man and then some. Choices become smaller and smaller the farther east you go.One more thing: Remember that you have incredible power as a consumer. Tell the dairy manager guy (or whoever is in charge of the department at the grocery store that carries the tortillas) what you want. If you want whole-wheat tortillas, ask for them. You will be surprised at how accommodating supermarkets are becoming. The competition for your grocery dollar is stiff. If the market you're frequenting now won't yield to your requests, find one that will.Beany BurritosServes 61 tablespoon olive oil1 onion, chopped1 1/2 cups leftover beef, chopped1 package taco seasoning mix (low sodium, if available)1 can black beans, rinsed and drained1 can pinto beans, rinsed and drained6 flour tortillas (whole wheat, if available)Chopped green onions, salsa (your favorite jarred variety), sour cream, and chopped cilantroIn a skillet, heat oil over medium heat and saute onion till translucent. Add leftover chopped beef, taco seasoning, and both cans of beans; stir till well heated through.Warm tortillas and fill with bean beef mixture. Garnish as you like it!PER SERVING:317 Calories; 3g Fat (9.5% calories from fat); 26g Protein; 46g Carbohydrate; 14g Dietary Fiber; 34mg Cholesterol; 429mg Sodium. Exchanges: 2 1/2 Grain (Starch); 2 12 Lean Meat; 1/2 Vegetable; 0 Other Carbohydrates.Serving Suggestions: A big spinach salad and a bowl of baby carrots ought to do the trick!Moroccan Fish TangineServes 63 garlic cloves3 tablespoons ground cumin3 tablespoons paprika3 tablespoons tomato puree6 tablespoons lemon juice6 whitefish fillets3 tomatoes, sliced2 bell peppers, seeded and thinly slicedSalt and ground black pepper to tasteChopped cilantroIn a medium bowl, mix together the garlic, cumin, paprika, tomato puree, and lemon juice. Place the fish in a 9 ´ 13-inch pan and spread this mixture over the fish; cover and chill for about 30 minutes to let the flavors penetrate the fish.Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.Arrange half of the tomatoes and peppers in a baking dish. Cover with the fish, in one layer, and then arrange the remaining tomatoes and peppers on top. Salt and pepper to taste. Cover the baking dish with foil and bake for about 20 minutes, until the fish flakes easily with a fork. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro and serve.PER SERVING:54 Calories; 1g Fat (19.1% calories from fat); 2g Protein; 11g Carbohydrate; 3g Dietary Fiber; Omg Cholesterol; 44mg Sodium. Exchanges: 0 Grain (Starch); 0 Lean Meat; 1 Vegetable; 0 Fruit; 0 Fat.Serving Suggestions: Steamed kale, brown rice, and a green salad. Pass the baby carrots around the table, too!Italian Turkey Meat LoafServes 61 large egg1/2 14 1/2-ounce can diced tomatoes with Italian herbs, undrained1/2 cup finely chopped onion1/3 cup minced fresh parsley1/2 cup oats1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheeseSalt and pepper to taste1/2 package Italian turkey sausages (removed from casings; about 4 sausages)1/2 pound ground turkey1/3 cup spaghetti saucePreheat oven to 375 degrees F.In a large bowl, beat the egg and stir in tomatoes, onion, parsley, oats, Parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper. Then mix in by hand the Italian sausage and ground turkey just until blended. Make into a large meat loaf on a baking sheet (like a jelly roll pan), patting to remove any air spaces. Bake for one hour. Top with spaghetti sauce and continue baking 15-30 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.PER SERVING:259 Calories; 12g Fat (41.8% calories from fat); 20g Protein; 19g Carbohydrate; 4g Dietary Fiber; 96mg Cholesterol; 888mg Sodium. Exchanges: 1/2 Grain (Starch); 2 Lean Meat; 2 1/2 Vegetable; 1 Fat.Serving Suggestions: Pasta, steamed broccoli, and baked butternut squash.Crock Pea SoupServes 12 (freezes well)1 pound split peas, rinsed1 ham bone, optional1 onion, chopped2 carrots, peeled and sliced1 stalk celery, chopped2 cloves garlic, pressed1 bay leaf1 1/2 quarts water (use chicken broth if not using ham bone)Salt and pepper to tastePut all ingredients except the salt and pepper into a Crock-Pot. Cover and cook on high for 4-5 hours or low for 8-10 hours, or until peas are very soft. Before serving, remove bone and bay leaf. Salt and pepper to taste.PER SERVING:161 Calories; 2g Fat (11.2% calories from fat); 11g Protein; 25g Carbohydrate; 10g Dietary Fiber; 9mg Cholesterol; 22mg Sodium. Exchanges: 1 1/2 Grain (Starch); 1 Lean Meat; 1/2 Vegetable; 0 Fat.Serving Suggestions: A spinach salad and some whole-grain rolls.Crock-Pot CornucopiaAll Crock-Pots or slow cookers are not created equal. The following is only a rule of thumb--your mileage may vary.Conventional cooking time: 15-30 minutesCrock-Pot cooking time: 11Ú2 hours on high; 4-8 hours on lowConventional cooking time: 30-40 minutesCrock-Pot cooking time: 3-4 hours on high; 6-10 hours on lowConventional cooking time: 50 minutes-3 hoursCrock-Pot cooking time: 4-6 hours on high; 8-18 hours on lowMost stews, pot roasts, and other uncooked meat/poultry and vegetable combinations will require at least 4-6 hours on high or 8 hours on low. Week TwoDay One: Chicken and Rice ChowderDay Two: Asian Orange SalmonDay Three: Baked RigatoniDay Four: Stuffed QuesadillasDay Five: Red Beans and RiceDay Six: Crock Beef SandwichesShopping ListMeat6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves6 salmon fillets1/2 pound extra-lean ground beef1 pound kielbasa (low fat, if available)3 pounds sirloin tip roast (you can use a cheaper cut, but fat count will be higher)Condimentsolive oilsoy saucebarbecue sauceProduce1-2 lemonstomatoes (you'll use 1 cup chopped)3 pounds onions (keep on hand)1 head garlic1 bunch celery (you'll need 1 stalk)1 bunch green onions1 bell pepper1 bunch cilantro**russet potatoes (1 meal)**coleslaw (1 meal)**kale (1 meal)**spinach (I like baby spinach) (2 meals)**baby carrots (2 meals)**2-3 heads lettuce (not Iceberg) (1 meal)Canned Goods1 28-ounce jar spaghetti sauce3 14-ounce cans chicken broth (you'll use 4 1/2 cups)1 jar salsa (your favorite)2 15-ounce cans red beansSpicesthymecayenne pepperrosemarybay leavesDairy/Dairy Caselow-fat milk (you'll use 1 1/2 cups)orange juice (you'll use 1/2 cup)1 cup non-fat cottage cheese1 cup part-skim-milk mozzarella cheese, shredded1/4 cup Romano cheese, grated6 ounces low-fat Jack cheese, shredded1 8-ounce container low-fat sour creamDry Goodsbrown sugar (you'll need 1/2 cup)brown rice (you'll need 3 1/2 cups)oats (you'll need 1 cup)1 pound rigatoniflourBakery12 flour tortillaswhole-wheat hamburger buns (1 meal)**whole-grain rolls (1 meal)Chicken and Rice ChowderServes 64 1/2 cups chicken broth, canned or homemade1/2 cup water3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and chopped2 teaspoons thymeSalt and pepper to taste1/2 cup brown rice1 tablespoon olive oil4 cloves garlic, pressed1 large onion, chopped2 carrots, chopped1 stalk celery, chopped3 tablespoons flour1 1/2 cups 1% low-fat milkIn a large saucepan, bring chicken broth and water to a boil and add the chicken. Add thyme and season with salt and pepper; add rice and reduce heat.

Editorial Reviews

“Knowing what’s for supper is the key to getting rid of the chaos. This is one of the most powerful tools out there to make it happen.”—Marla Cilley, the FlyLady, author of Sink Reflections