Sunday, March 14, 2010

Sunday Salon: Weekend Cooking-Saving Dinner by Leanne Ely

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


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.

Saving Dinner is often my go to cookbook as it has a variety of simple, easy to make healthy recipes that are family friendly. This cookbook is broken down into seasons Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer. It also has sections for side dishes and desserts. Within each seasonal section there are a eight weeks worth of dinner ideas along with a shopping list and recipes. There are also sidebars throughout the book that are chock full of cooking ideas related to the meals. Personally, I've not cooked a week's worth of menus but it would be easy to do with these recipes. I tend to pick and choose and try individual recipes. My only complaint is that there aren't any pictures, it would be a nice complement to see a finished recipe.

Here is one of my favorite recipes:

Herb-Crusted Chicken Piccata

4 tablespoons Italian Bread Crumbs
1 teaspoon garlic powder
Black pepper, to taste
6 boneless, skinless Chicken breast Halves (I prefer to use the cutlets)
1 Tablespoon butter, divided (I use olive oil, you may need more than 1 Tablespoon)
1/3 cup chicken broth
3 Tablespoons lemon juice

On a dinner plate or pie platem combine first three ingredients and set aside.

In a large zipper topped plastic bag, add three chicken breast halves, close bag (but leave open a little so it won't pop) and roll them out with a rolling pin to flatten. Do this again with the other three. It will juist take a second and make them cook faster. (NOTE: Instead of doing this, you can buy the cutlet style chicken breasts that are thin sliced and skip this step).

Dredge chicken in breadcrumb mixture and set aside.

In a skillet, melt half the butter  over medium high heat. (NOTE: I've substituted olive oil) Add the chicken and cook about 4 minutes on each side or until done. Remove from skillet when cooked and keep warm. Add broth, lemon juice, and remaining butter (NOTE:when using olive oil, don't add more at this time)  using a whire whisk or cooking utensil to get everything up off the bottom. Cook 1 minute and spoon sauce over chicken.

Serves 6

Serving suggestions: Serve with Brown Rice, steamed broccoli and steamed baby carrots.

NOTE: You can find this recipe and the cookbook Saving Dinner, in its entirety on Google Books, here. I was surprised to find this online in my searches about the book.  It's not something that I look for and it made me wonder how many people actually use google books to read books and find information?

Weekend Cooking is hosted by Beth Fish Reads and is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. To see who else is participating go to Beth Fish Reads, Weekend Cooking, here.


  1. Sounds like a great cookbook and that recipe looks easy and delicious!

  2. I have heard good things about Leanne Ely, and this recipe certainly confirms that her dishes are easy and perfect for weeknight cooking. Thanks for this one. I'll have to look for her cookbook.

  3. I could have used this cookbook when my kids were all at home. However, I don't think it's too late for me now. I like the idea of someone else planning the menus and even giving me an organized shopping list. How luxurious is that?!

  4. It all sounds great and I love the idea of 6 weeks of recipes but I would like someone to come over and cook them for me!!!

  5. could I get them to shop for me too?

  6. sounds like a very practical book. Could always use help when it comes to deciding what to cook.

  7. Ok, that thing with Google Books is awesome. I've always wondered about this cookbook and by being able to look through it like that, I've realized that there are few recipes I'd actually use.

    Awesome feature!


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