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Saving Dinner

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

by Leanne Ely

Published by Ballantine Books

click to see collected chef & cookbook recipes


"Do you remember your mom hollering 'Dinner! Come to the table,' when you were a kid?" Leanne Ely asks in the introduction to Saving Dinner.  "Do you remember running toward those familiar smells and rushing to take your place at the table?"  Ely remembers and Saving Dinner is both Ely's plea to stay at the dinner table, and her plan to keep the family gathered over a great meal enjoying real food, conversation, and the nourishment of the spirit that comforts and satisfies when we gather for food. Knowing that shopping and cooking have become stressful for hard-working families, Ely has written a book that is based on simple but healthy meals, offering not merely a single dish but a menu complete with shopping list.  "Remember this - menus aren't just for restaurants.  They deserve a special place of honor in every family's home," writes Ely. 

Ely organizes by season, each one featuring six weeks of menus with recipes, side dish suggestions, and an itemized grocery list that is organized by product - dairy, meat, produce. The list includes canned goods and spices, often prepared and commercially produced, though, to her credit, the list of fresh produce dominates.  Saving Dinner is packed with helpful hints and short cuts in the kitchen that make cooking easier and more fun.

Stating that she was up for the challenge of creating freezer meals that retained their flavor, Ely adds a section for called Freezer Meals. Starting with recommendations on which type of freezer bag to use, the freezer section recipes are given in two parts.  The first is for assembly, the second for cooking.  Since she also provides those handy shopping lists, the freezer meals will help ensure that a fabulous home-cooked meal is on the table with ease.

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 replace a tasty, healthy meal, and nothing can substitute for a family’s time together. Preparing dinner can be a stress-free endeavor. Even your time in the supermarket can be cut in half! 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!


About the Author: Leanne Ely is a certified nutritionist and 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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