Saving Dinner: The Menus, Recipes, and Shopping Lists to Bring Your Family Back to the Table

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SAVING DINNER
The Menus, Recipes, and Shopping Lists to Bring Your Family Back to the Table

Leanne Ely, Certified Nutrition Counselor
Author of The Frantic Family Cookbook and host of MenuMailer.net
Dinnertime a thing of the past? Home-cooked meals gone the way of the ...
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SAVING DINNER
The Menus, Recipes, and Shopping Lists to Bring Your Family Back to the Table

Leanne Ely, Certified Nutrition Counselor
Author of The Frantic Family Cookbook and host of MenuMailer.net
Dinnertime a thing of the past? Home-cooked meals gone the way of the dinosaur? Haven't seen your family around the dinner table since 1974? Leanne Ely is on a mission to change all that by Saving Dinner from extinction!

Certified nutritionist Leanne Ely has a simple philosophy: "Make it and they will come." Dinner, that is. Take-out, opening a can, or microwave fare shouldn't pass for a nice, healthy meal–and nothing can replace a family's time together. Believe it or not, preparing dinner can be a stress-free endeavor. Even your time in the supermarket can be cut in half!

Full of practical tips on simple, healthy 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–sharing stories along with a nutritious meal. Efficiently divided by season, each section features six weeks of menus with delicious recipes, side dish suggestions, and an itemized grocery list that is organized by product (dairy, meat, produce) to make one-stop shopping a snap. Plus the book is packed with helpful hints and short cuts in the kitchen that make cooking easier and more fun.
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!
Leanne Ely is considered the expert on familycooking and healthy eating. Between her popular "Heart of a Woman" radio show in Southern California and her weekly "Food for Thought" column on the ever-popular Flylady.net Web site, thousands of fans have already discovered Leanne's secrets to easily prepared, well-balanced meals.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“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
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780345464866
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 9/30/2003
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 7.36 (w) x 9.17 (h) x 0.66 (d)

Meet the Author

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, Healthy Foods and is the author of several books, including the recent Body Clutter, which was a New York Times bestseller. She lives in North Carolina with her two teenage children.
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Read an Excerpt

Fall

As 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 One

Day One: Apple Chicken

Day Two: Roast Beef Picante

Day Three: Beany Burritos

Day Four: Moroccan Fish Tangine

Day Five: Italian Turkey Meat Loaf

Day Six: Crock Pea Soup

Shopping List

Meat

6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves

11Ú2 pounds boneless sirloin roast

6 whitefish fillets

1/2 package Italian turkey sausages

1/2 pound ground turkey

1 ham bone

Condiments

vegetable oil

olive oil

cider vinegar

dry white wine

Worcestershire sauce

Produce

1 lime

2-3 lemons

4 Granny Smith apples

3 pounds onions (keep on hand)

garlic (you'll need 7 cloves)

3 tomatoes

2 bell peppers

1 bunch carrots

celery (you'll need 1 stalk)

1 small jalape-o pepper

1 small bunch parsley

1 bunch cilantro

1 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 Goods

1 28-ounce jar spaghetti sauce

1 14-ounce can chicken broth

1 14-ounce can beef broth

1 jar salsa (your favorite)

1 small can tomato puree (you'll need 3 tablespoons)

1 14 1/2-ounce can diced tomatoes with Italian herbs

1 15-ounce can pinto beans

1 15-ounce can black beans

Spices

1 envelope taco seasoning (low sodium is a good option)

paprika

ground cumin

bay leaves

thyme

Dairy/Dairy Case

eggs (you'll need 1)

Parmesan cheese (you'll need 1/3 cup, grated)

**sour cream (I use low fat)

Dry Goods

brown 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)

Bakery

6 flour tortillas (whole wheat, if available)

**whole-grain rolls (1 meal)

Apple Chicken

Serves 6

1 1/4 teaspoons vegetable oil

6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

4 Granny Smith apples, cored and sliced into 1/2-inch wedges

3/4 cup dry white wine

3/4 cup chicken broth

1/3 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup cider vinegar

3 tablespoons cornstarch

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

Heat 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 Picante

Serves 6 (with leftovers)

1/2 cup finely chopped onion

1/4 cup water

3 tablespoons lime juice

2 large cloves garlic, pressed

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 small jalape-o pepper, finely minced

1/2 teaspoon thyme, divided

Salt and pepper to taste

1 1/2 pounds boneless sirloin roast

1 cup beef broth

2 teaspoons sugar

1 tablespoon cornstarch

2 tablespoons parsley, chopped

For 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) Bar

I 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 Flats

Whole-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 Burritos

Serves 6

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 onion, chopped

1 1/2 cups leftover beef, chopped

1 package taco seasoning mix (low sodium, if available)

1 can black beans, rinsed and drained

1 can pinto beans, rinsed and drained

6 flour tortillas (whole wheat, if available)

Chopped green onions, salsa (your favorite jarred variety), sour cream, and chopped cilantro

In 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 Tangine

Serves 6

3 garlic cloves

3 tablespoons ground cumin

3 tablespoons paprika

3 tablespoons tomato puree

6 tablespoons lemon juice

6 whitefish fillets

3 tomatoes, sliced

2 bell peppers, seeded and thinly sliced

Salt and ground black pepper to taste

Chopped cilantro

In 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 Loaf

Serves 6

1 large egg

1/2 14 1/2-ounce can diced tomatoes with Italian herbs, undrained

1/2 cup finely chopped onion

1/3 cup minced fresh parsley

1/2 cup oats

1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Salt and pepper to taste

1/2 package Italian turkey sausages (removed from casings; about

4 sausages)

1/2 pound ground turkey

1/3 cup spaghetti sauce

Preheat 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 Soup

Serves 12 (freezes well)

1 pound split peas, rinsed

1 ham bone, optional

1 onion, chopped

2 carrots, peeled and sliced

1 stalk celery, chopped

2 cloves garlic, pressed

1 bay leaf

1 1/2 quarts water (use chicken broth if not using ham bone)

Salt and pepper to taste

Put 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

Cornucopia

All 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 minutes

Crock-Pot cooking time:

11Ú2 hours on high; 4-8 hours on low

Conventional cooking time: 30-40 minutes

Crock-Pot cooking time:

3-4 hours on high; 6-10 hours on low

Conventional cooking time: 50 minutes-3 hours

Crock-Pot cooking time:

4-6 hours on high; 8-18 hours on low

Most 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 Two

Day One: Chicken and Rice Chowder

Day Two: Asian Orange Salmon

Day Three: Baked Rigatoni

Day Four: Stuffed Quesadillas

Day Five: Red Beans and Rice

Day Six: Crock Beef Sandwiches

Shopping List

Meat

6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves

6 salmon fillets

1/2 pound extra-lean ground beef

1 pound kielbasa (low fat, if available)

3 pounds sirloin tip roast (you can use a cheaper cut, but fat count will be higher)

Condiments

olive oil

soy sauce

barbecue sauce

Produce

1-2 lemons

tomatoes (you'll use 1 cup chopped)

3 pounds onions (keep on hand)

1 head garlic

1 bunch celery (you'll need 1 stalk)

1 bunch green onions

1 bell pepper

1 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 Goods

1 28-ounce jar spaghetti sauce

3 14-ounce cans chicken broth (you'll use 4 1/2 cups)

1 jar salsa (your favorite)

2 15-ounce cans red beans

Spices

thyme

cayenne pepper

rosemary

bay leaves

Dairy/Dairy Case

low-fat milk (you'll use 1 1/2 cups)

orange juice (you'll use 1/2 cup)

1 cup non-fat cottage cheese

1 cup part-skim-milk mozzarella cheese, shredded

1/4 cup Romano cheese, grated

6 ounces low-fat Jack cheese, shredded

1 8-ounce container low-fat sour cream

Dry Goods

brown sugar (you'll need 1/2 cup)

brown rice (you'll need 3 1/2 cups)

oats (you'll need 1 cup)

1 pound rigatoni

flour

Bakery

12 flour tortillas

whole-wheat hamburger buns (1 meal)

**whole-grain rolls (1 meal)

Chicken and Rice Chowder

Serves 6

4 1/2 cups chicken broth, canned or homemade

1/2 cup water

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and chopped

2 teaspoons thyme

Salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup brown rice

1 tablespoon olive oil

4 cloves garlic, pressed

1 large onion, chopped

2 carrots, chopped

1 stalk celery, chopped

3 tablespoons flour

1 1/2 cups 1% low-fat milk

In 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.

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First Chapter

Fall

As 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 One

Day One: Apple Chicken

Day Two: Roast Beef Picante

Day Three: Beany Burritos

Day Four: Moroccan Fish Tangine

Day Five: Italian Turkey Meat Loaf

Day Six: Crock Pea Soup



Shopping List

Meat

6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves

11Ú2 pounds boneless sirloin roast

6 whitefish fillets

1/2 package Italian turkey sausages

1/2 pound ground turkey

1 ham bone



Condiments

vegetable oil

olive oil

cider vinegar

dry white wine

Worcestershire sauce



Produce

1 lime

2-3 lemons

4 Granny Smith apples

3 pounds onions (keep on hand)

garlic (you'll need 7 cloves)

3 tomatoes

2 bell peppers

1 bunch carrots

celery (you'll need 1 stalk)

1 small jalape-o pepper

1 small bunch parsley

1 bunch cilantro

1 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 Goods

1 28-ounce jar spaghettisauce

1 14-ounce can chicken broth

1 14-ounce can beef broth

1 jar salsa (your favorite)

1 small can tomato puree (you'll need 3 tablespoons)

1 14 1/2-ounce can diced tomatoes with Italian herbs

1 15-ounce can pinto beans

1 15-ounce can black beans



Spices

1 envelope taco seasoning (low sodium is a good option)

paprika

ground cumin

bay leaves

thyme



Dairy/Dairy Case

eggs (you'll need 1)

Parmesan cheese (you'll need 1/3 cup, grated)

**sour cream (I use low fat)



Dry Goods

brown 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)



Bakery

6 flour tortillas (whole wheat, if available)

**whole-grain rolls (1 meal)



Apple Chicken



Serves 6



1 1/4 teaspoons vegetable oil

6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

4 Granny Smith apples, cored and sliced into 1/2-inch wedges

3/4 cup dry white wine

3/4 cup chicken broth

1/3 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup cider vinegar

3 tablespoons cornstarch

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon black pepper



Heat 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 Picante



Serves 6 (with leftovers)

1/2 cup finely chopped onion

1/4 cup water

3 tablespoons lime juice

2 large cloves garlic, pressed

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 small jalape-o pepper, finely minced

1/2 teaspoon thyme, divided

Salt and pepper to taste

1 1/2 pounds boneless sirloin roast

1 cup beef broth

2 teaspoons sugar

1 tablespoon cornstarch

2 tablespoons parsley, chopped



For 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) Bar



I 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 Flats



Whole-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 Burritos



Serves 6



1 tablespoon olive oil

1 onion, chopped

1 1/2 cups leftover beef, chopped

1 package taco seasoning mix (low sodium, if available)

1 can black beans, rinsed and drained

1 can pinto beans, rinsed and drained

6 flour tortillas (whole wheat, if available)

Chopped green onions, salsa (your favorite jarred variety), sour cream, and chopped cilantro

In 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 Tangine



Serves 6



3 garlic cloves

3 tablespoons ground cumin

3 tablespoons paprika

3 tablespoons tomato puree

6 tablespoons lemon juice

6 whitefish fillets

3 tomatoes, sliced

2 bell peppers, seeded and thinly sliced

Salt and ground black pepper to taste

Chopped cilantro



In 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 Loaf



Serves 6



1 large egg

1/2 14 1/2-ounce can diced tomatoes with Italian herbs, undrained

1/2 cup finely chopped onion

1/3 cup minced fresh parsley

1/2 cup oats

1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Salt and pepper to taste

1/2 package Italian turkey sausages (removed from casings; about

4 sausages)

1/2 pound ground turkey

1/3 cup spaghetti sauce



Preheat 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 Soup



Serves 12 (freezes well)



1 pound split peas, rinsed

1 ham bone, optional

1 onion, chopped

2 carrots, peeled and sliced

1 stalk celery, chopped

2 cloves garlic, pressed

1 bay leaf

1 1/2 quarts water (use chicken broth if not using ham bone)

Salt and pepper to taste



Put 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

Cornucopia



All 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 minutes

Crock-Pot cooking time:

11Ú2 hours on high; 4-8 hours on low



Conventional cooking time: 30-40 minutes

Crock-Pot cooking time:

3-4 hours on high; 6-10 hours on low



Conventional cooking time: 50 minutes-3 hours

Crock-Pot cooking time:

4-6 hours on high; 8-18 hours on low

Most 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 Two



Day One: Chicken and Rice Chowder

Day Two: Asian Orange Salmon

Day Three: Baked Rigatoni

Day Four: Stuffed Quesadillas

Day Five: Red Beans and Rice

Day Six: Crock Beef Sandwiches



Shopping List



Meat



6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves

6 salmon fillets

1/2 pound extra-lean ground beef

1 pound kielbasa (low fat, if available)

3 pounds sirloin tip roast (you can use a cheaper cut, but fat count will be higher)



Condiments



olive oil

soy sauce

barbecue sauce



Produce



1-2 lemons

tomatoes (you'll use 1 cup chopped)

3 pounds onions (keep on hand)

1 head garlic

1 bunch celery (you'll need 1 stalk)

1 bunch green onions

1 bell pepper

1 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 Goods



1 28-ounce jar spaghetti sauce

3 14-ounce cans chicken broth (you'll use 4 1/2 cups)

1 jar salsa (your favorite)

2 15-ounce cans red beans



Spices



thyme

cayenne pepper

rosemary

bay leaves



Dairy/Dairy Case



low-fat milk (you'll use 1 1/2 cups)

orange juice (you'll use 1/2 cup)

1 cup non-fat cottage cheese

1 cup part-skim-milk mozzarella cheese, shredded

1/4 cup Romano cheese, grated

6 ounces low-fat Jack cheese, shredded

1 8-ounce container low-fat sour cream



Dry Goods



brown sugar (you'll need 1/2 cup)

brown rice (you'll need 3 1/2 cups)

oats (you'll need 1 cup)

1 pound rigatoni

flour



Bakery



12 flour tortillas

whole-wheat hamburger buns (1 meal)

**whole-grain rolls (1 meal)



Chicken and Rice Chowder



Serves 6



4 1/2 cups chicken broth, canned or homemade

1/2 cup water

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and chopped

2 teaspoons thyme

Salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup brown rice

1 tablespoon olive oil

4 cloves garlic, pressed

1 large onion, chopped

2 carrots, chopped

1 stalk celery, chopped

3 tablespoons flour

1 1/2 cups 1% low-fat milk



In 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.

Copyright© 2003 by Leanne Ely
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 17 )
Rating Distribution

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(10)

4 Star

(3)

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 18 of 17 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 9, 2011

    Has made a HUGE difference!

    I bought this at the end of last year after my partner and I moved in together and quickly realized neither of us knew anything about meal planning. We found ourselves ordering dinner most every night, and putting on weight rapidly. (Don't ask me what we did before we moved in together that this wasn't a concern...)

    I belong to Flylady, and saw the testimonials about SD and menu planning and decided to give it a go. We started the first week of January and haven't looked back since.

    The things I love:
    1) the layout-the book is broken down into seasons so you can cook according to what is more readily available. This also takes into account cravings, so heavier meals are featured in fall and winter, while spring and summer offer lighter fare
    2) the education-I grew up in a home where dinner was usually ordered, so I do not have alot of these skills. While I have a good sense of what is healthy and what is not, I really benefit from the information about proper measuring, preparing and so forth.
    3) the lists-it is so nice to have a grocery list at the beginning of each week, and makes grocery shopping (a task I used to find overwhelming) very manageable
    4) the variety-every week provides at least one each of a red meat dish, a meatless dish, a poultry dish, a fish dish, and a slow-cooker dish. We don't really care for red meat that much, but I'm learning TONS about preparing fish (which I never prepared before) and the slow-cooker is an absolute blessing!

    The things I'm not as keen on:
    1) big bucks-my grocery bill has gone up a great deal. This stuff can be quite expensive! That being said, I know we are spending far less on takeout and we are using everything we purchase (no more spoiled food in the bin).
    2) the flavors-I've had to spruce up a number of the recipes according to our tastes. We actually have fairly plain tastes (especially living in Queens, NY, where we can get any and every cuisine imaginable!!), but I've noticed the need to dress up here and there with herbs and spices. Regardless, I find this is the case with many cookbooks-people often make changes so the recipes suit their family's tastes.

    Overall, I would say this is an excellent value, especially for folks like myself who really never learned how to eat properly in the first place. It is manageable and never overwhelming, and Leanne is a great cheerleader!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 5, 2009

    Food with NO taste!

    Everything sounds good, until you start putting it together and find there's sour cream in the baked ziti! The ingredients list looks good, it's the cooking methods that turn this into inedible mush.

    Save yourself the money and go buy Faster I'm starving instead!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 1, 2009

    Love this cookbook!

    This cookbook is fantastic! I'll tell you what I love: the recipes are easy, and really don't use too many unusual ingredients; they include nutrition information, and Ms. Ely really tries to make every meal well-balanced and healthy- even the side dish suggestions; the recipes are pretty flexible, too- don't like something? Leave it out! Have lots of pork on hand? Use it in place of chicken- you get the idea; all of the ingredients are listed at the beginning of each week's meals, so you could just copy the shopping list and head to the store. I'm not really into trying a new recipe every single day, so I pick and choose recipes that sound interesting and incorporate them into my weekly meal plan. This has saved me a ton of time, stress, and MONEY, because instead of whining, "What's for dinner?" every night, I have my meals planned, groceries in the pantry and fridge, and can make a healthy, easy meal every night instead of relying on frozen pizza or take-out.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 28, 2005

    Answering the question 'What's for dinner?'

    This book is a fantastic help. I am a busy mother of two and have never been a 'cook'. With Ely's help, my husband raves about the meals I prepare. At first I was unsure about making entrees I had never heard of, but NONE has disappointed us yet. Ely uses strange combinations of herbs and spices that somehow work. Even my 2 year old eats the meals! I love the nutritional information provided for each entree and she plans a variety for each week (beef,chicken,fish, vegeterian, etc.). There's even a crock pot meal every week. She offers tips here and there in the book relating feedback from her weekly subscribers. In my opinion, Ely can not get enough props. The meals are easy to prepare, laid out well, and appeal to most people. While some ingredients are expensive (like salmon) they are balanced out with meals made with inexpensive items (like beans.) For someone like me who's time and money are on a strict budget, this book is a treasure trove. I never thought I would like cooking dinner, but I enjoy it now, and I LOVE what it does for my family. I recommend this book to everyone who wants great food: easy, fun, and quick! This book changed my life.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 30, 2012

    Moms, get this book!

    I love this book! The food is wonderful and it is so easy to use!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 13, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Must have cook book!

    I am the busy mother of five and this book is by far my favorite. My picker eaters, as well as my husband, love these healthy and delicious meals that are also low budget, and quick to fix. Some of the ingredients sound a little "strange", but once you taste it, you won't be disappointed. My book has pages coming out, because I use it so much. Some of my family's favorite meals are:

    Texas One Dish,
    Chicken Pepper Skillet,
    Cheeseburger Casserole,
    Hoppin' John Soup,
    Mexican Turkey Hash,
    Spinach Pasta Casserole,
    Crock-Pot Chicken Jambalaya,
    Chicken Parmesan and so much more!

    Leanne has already done up the grocery list and menu suggestions for you! I also recommend her "Saving Dinner for the Holidays" as well. Her Pumpkin Cheesecake and Turkey Sausage Stuffing is to die for!!!

    Happy cooking!!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 9, 2009

    Great book- good ideas and techniques and a great time saver

    For those who really haven't learned to cook or shop, its a great starter book. However, after awhile, the same old routine of beef, chicken, fish, soup, or mexican can get old.

    What I really liked was it taught you the basics of food prep, helped you plan and provided (this was the best) a grocery list.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 12, 2007

    A reviewer

    Every day I would stress about what I could make for dinner. I hated hearing 'What's to eat?' Now, I know what we are having a week in advance AND I post it on the fridge. It's healthy and easy. She even tells you what sides go with it and they are on the shopping list with an asterisk. This book is truly a blessing to my family. I'm ordering the Holidays version today!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 29, 2004

    This book is a huge blessing!

    I have been recommending this book to everyone I know. The recipes are easy, the ingredients are easy to find, I have saved so much time and money using this cookbook. My family (of picky eaters) loves these recipes and I have been so excited to see them eat! Each recipe also has the complete list of nutritional information so if you are Weight Watcher you can count points! So hope this helps and enjoy the cookbook!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 4, 2004

    Not your mother's cookbook

    This will get the 'I'm tired of trying to figure out something for dinner' cook back to the kitchen. Having cooked for almost 40 years for my husband and kids, we were all tired of the 'same old same old'. With just the two of us now, DH (Dear Husband) was willing to give this a try. We follow the meal plans as written and are finding lots of new things to enjoy. I'm eating salmon and fish and he's eating pork and both of us are eating much more fresh produce. If you're looking for a standard cookbook, this is not it. If you're stuck in a rut and ready to try another way, give this a try!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 17, 2004

    The cookbook I've been looking for

    This is a great cookbook for people who want easy, tasty meals. The recipes are straightforward and not too difficult to make, and some of them challenge most people's palates. That's good! I feared that the Garlic Lime Chicken would be too spicy for my family's taste buds, but they adored it. I work full-time as a college professor, and I'll be using this book a lot during the upcoming school year. The nutritional information is excellent for those of us who are watching our intake. I'm a Weight Watcher, and I appreciate being able to calculate points easily. Some of the recipes are fairly high in points, but knowing this in advance means I can plan my eating for the day. I appreciate that some other reviewers here would have preferred 'normal' recipes--but isn't that how we all get stuck in a rut, by eating the same thing over and over? This is a great step forward.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 20, 2004

    Disappointed

    After months of reading all the excellent rave reviews that FlyLady sends out, I decided to try it out, despite the fact that my husband has repeatedly asked me to not buy any more cookbooks, and keeps trying to get rid of the ones I already own. Although I love the concept of cooking by the seasons and the variety presented each week, and having the menus and grocery lists made up before heading to the store, I found it hard (and/or expensive) to find many of the ingredients she recommends, and I had never heard of many of her recipes before. That is scary when you are short on time and the dish sounds like something risky. A whole week's worth of questionable dishes is not my taste. Also, she uses spicy and cajun-y dishes often (not our taste), and we have to get rid of sweet dishes as my husband doesn't like them. So then you end up re-doing the menus and shopping lists anyway. In addition, her side dishes, although healthy, are repetitive and unimaginative--and I would have to look up in another cookbook how to even make them. As for desserts, they are not in here either, supposedly because they are not healthy. But a fruit salad is healthy! All in all, I was disappointed after all the hype from FlyLady and the list (I guess nothing's for free--Ms. Ely got a lot of free advertisement). It would have been better in my opinion if it had included normal recipes I could actually use. I am trying to save time and money, not spend hours in the kitchen concocting weird-sounding dishes we may or may not like. A better idea would have been to give us normal-sounding, familiar recipes, with maybe an exotic dish thrown in once a week or so, and taught us *how* to plan menus and make grocery lists based on foods we already know how to make/know we like or don't like, and *how* to cook by the seasons. For example, I have no idea what is in season ever. My grocery store just provides almost everything all the time. That kind of information would have been more useful. I returned the book and bought something else.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 15, 2003

    I Love This Book!

    I'm so pleased with this book. I love that the weekly plans are divided by the seasons - we're in the fall section and the recipes are wonderful cold weather foods. The weekly menu's ensure that I'm not in a chicken-3-days-in-a-row rut! The grocery lists keep me away from the calorie laden processed food aisle and her wonderful side dish recommendations have encouraged me to try things (like kale!) that I never would have before.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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    Posted March 2, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 25, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 27, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 24, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 25, 2013

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