Friday, July 2, 2010

A Great Cookbook Gets Even Better

I was thrilled and honored when Leanne Ely contacted me to see if I would like a copy of the second edition of her Saving Dinner* cookbook. I had already purchased a copy of the first edition (published 2003) several years ago, and it is filled with little yellow stickies on pages of recipes that I've already made or intend to make. I have loved the recipes in Saving Dinner because they are simple to make, taste great, and have lots of ingredients that I enjoy. This is my go-to cookbook when I am looking for a recipe for a slow cooker meal because Leanne has included so many innovative slow cooker recipes. The Crock-Nutty Chicken is a favorite in my family.

The cookbook is organized by season and each recipe includes suggestions for side dishes. Within each season the recipes are organized with a suggested weekly meal plan and its corresponding shopping list. I don't use this book in this way myself, but if you are someone who dreads the process of meal planning and creating a shopping list, Leanne has done all the dirty work for you.

Leanne is a certified nutritionist and she includes nutritional information for each recipe in Saving Dinner. Honestly, I don't pay too much attention to those details myself and tend to choose recipes with taste and variety as bigger guiding factors. However, for many the included nutritional information is important. Regardless of the nutritional facts, I enjoy so many of these recipes because of the fresh, largely unprocessed ingredients.

What's new in the second edition of Saving Dinner is the section on "Freezer Meals." I highly value my freezer as an essential appliance in helping me bring home-cooked meals to my family's table. Saving Dinner gives you step by step instructions on how to assemble your own freezer meal kits at a much lower cost than the franchise meal-assembly establishments. The concept is that you're assembling all the ingredients together, freezing the meal, and then defrosting and cooking when you're ready for that meal. So much fresher than cooking all the way through, freezing, and then reheating!

I highly recommend Saving Dinner. I consider it to be a vital tool in my toolbox to helping me serve my family healthy, creative meals without too much stress. I encourage you to check out all of Leanne's books and materials at her website

*Ely, Leanne. (2009). Saving Dinner. New York: Ballantine Books.

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