dinner the playbookThree signs you need Dinner, the Playbook: 1) Chicken fingers qualify as adventurous. (Hey, they’re not nuggets.) 2) You live in fear of the white stuff touching the green stuff. 3) Family dinner? What’s family dinner?

When Jenny Rosenstrach’s kids were little, her dinner rotation looked like this: Pasta, Pizza, Pasta, Burgers, Pasta. It made her crazy – not only because of the mind-numbing repetition, but because she loved to cook and missed her pre-kid, ketchup-free dinners. Her solution? A family adventure: She and her husband, Andy, would cook thirty new dishes in a single month–and her kids would try them all. Was it nuts for two working parents to take on this challenge? Yes. But did it transform family dinner from stressful grind to happy ritual? Completely.

Here, Rosenstrach – creator of the beloved blog and book Dinner: A Love Story  – shares her story, offering weekly meal plans, tons of organizing tips, and eighty-plus super-simple, kid-vetted recipes. Stuck in a rut? Ready to reboot dinner? Whether you’ve never turned on a stove or you’re just starved for inspiration, this book is your secret weapon. (description from publisher)

love your leftoversNick Evans runs the popular food blog macheesmo.com, and he came up with a simple yet effective concept for everyday cooking: Create one foundation dish, in decent quantity, when you have the time–perhaps on a lazy Sunday afternoon–and then repurpose it to make other delicious dishes throughout the week. Cooking this way saves time and money and allows busy people to eat well every night.

Love Your Leftovers includes breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert options as well as a wide range of cuisines. Each main dish will have eight to ten creative recipes for leftovers. So, if you make a Roast Chicken one night, you can then make Chicken Tortilla Soup, Creamy Chicken Pesto Pasta, or Chicken and Dumplings another night. A Flank Steak can morph into Spicy Beef Wontons or Vietnamese Noodle Salad. Spicy Black Beans can become Black Bean Burgers or Crunchy Black Bean Tacos. Love Your Leftovers also features chapters on kitchen and pantry basics and Meal Planning 101, as well as a helpful index of vegetarian and thirty-minute meals. (description from publisher)

In our next food focus post here at Davenport Library, let’s focus on quick and healthy. Don’t worry it’s still delicious!

cookinglightHere we are, teetering on the edge of the biggest season-of-excess of the year. Soon we’ll be under constant temptation – table-groaning feasts, endless varieties of dips and snacks, as-far-as-the-eye-can-see plates of cookies. But squeezing some healthy meals in amongst the chaos isn’t impossible and avoiding even a few fast food/pizza delivery options will pay off – maybe your January resolution to lose weight won’t be so daunting!

Cooking Light comes to the rescue with The Essential Dinner Tonight Cookbook. Great for any time of the year, the quick and simple recipes will fill you up without sacrificing good taste. A lot of the recipes are old favorites that have been reworked to be healthier – meatloaf, cheeseburgers, pizza – as well as lots of  fresh new ideas. Preperation is straightforward and quick – most make perfect weeknight meals. Menu ideas are included for each dish and a “game plan” to help you organize and get everything on the table at the same time. Cooking healthy couldn’t be easier – or tastier!