>Organizing Dinner: 70 Meals, One trip to the store

>I enjoy reading cookbooks. I enjoy reading cookbooks even more when they contain more than recipes: guides, ingredients ideas, alternatives, and more. When the publicist for Organizing Dinner contacted me about reading and reviewing this cookbook, I said “Sure! It sounds like it’s right up my alley. Er, kitchen.”

70 Meals, One Trip to the Store is by Kelly Donlea, a cook and writer who shares her kitchen skills and philosophies in the Chicago area by way of cooking classes and demonstrations. She’s expanding her programs by way of her web site, Organizing Dinner.
You’ve read about my ideas and philosophies in creating pantry raids rather than run out to the store for missing ingredients. It’s a frugal, time-saving, and even sustainable attitude. Kelly Donlea expresses a similar point of view in her introduction.
“Facing dinner feeling helpless leads people to head to the drive-through, reach for a pre-packaged freezer meal, or run to the grocery store for last-minute, unorganized ingredients. These options leave you feeling less than successful in the kitchen. Not to mention, with an unsatisfying culinary experience.”
70 Meals, One Trip to the Store provides basic shopping lists to stock a pantry: a pantry suitable for raiding regularly. The recipes all use the same basic ingredients, but provide a variety of tastes and styles to keep an entire family’s palates satisfied. After an introduction, the book begins with advice for getting started. A semi-annual shopping list stocks the pantry with core ingredients: canned goods, dry goods, condiments, and freezer staples. A sample weekly list suggests perishables to buy as needed: produce, meat, dairy, and bakery. The only part I’d approach differently is the buying of frozen vegetables, and that’s because I’m lucky enough to have a garden and freezer. I will pick beans (or buy them at the farmer’s market), then prepare and freeze them. The end result is the same; good quality ingredients, always available.
Next: the recipes. I jumped right to the Pizza section because we’ve had a lot of fun making pizza this summer. The first recipe is a standard crust. If this works out, I might not buy crust mixes any more. No more excuses! There’s a traditional recipe with tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese, a barbecue chicken pizza, a spinach and mushroom (I’d like this, but I’m not sure if it would fly with the entire family), and more. The other sections are Chicken Recipes, Ground Beef Recipes, Fish Recipes, and then Pasta, Soups, & More.
A nice feature of this cookbook is the concept of stocking the pantry and then working with its contents. I’ve mentioned the frugal aspect and the sustainable idea that prevents unnecessary trips to the store. But don’t think it’s repetitive; these dishes look delicious. Expect more examples on my Tuesday recipe collection!
70 Meals, One Trip to the Store and Kelly Donlea’s other cookbook Cook Once, Eat Twice are available for order on the Organizing Dinner web site. The Smart Ingredients Blog has a grocery giveaway: a Smart Ingredients Giveaway. One subscriber each month will win a batch of ingredients for making the recipes in 70 Meals. What are you waiting for? As soon as this post goes up, I’m subscribing!
Organizing Dinner sent me a copy of the book 70 Meals, One Trip to the Store in order to facilitate my review. I did not receive other compensation. The book is a good fit with my attitude and philosophy. Sorry, readers, I’m not giving it away. It’s going straight into my kitchen!

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4 thoughts on “>Organizing Dinner: 70 Meals, One trip to the store

  1. >I only grocery shop once a month because I have to go out of town to shop. My freezer is my best friend lol.

    Pizza crust is easy and they freeze great. I freeze mine already topped and then it's just like cooking a store bought frozen pizza. 🙂

  2. >I really like the idea of "cook once, eat twice," but have found in practice that some things just don't work that way for me. Chicken being a notable example. Those sorts of recipes are big on roasting a couple of chickens at a time and then using the leftover chicken in all kinds of things. Unfortunately, for me, leftover chicken in ANY form always tastes, um, left over. That is to say, not appetizing.

    Kind of a bummer. But the newer book sounds like a good concept.

  3. >There was a time, not so very long ago, when this was just common. Cooking one meal with 2-3 meals afterwards in mind and making only one trip to the store only once a month. I know because this is how everyone in my home community was raised – but then maybe it was because we lived in a rural area and going to the nearest grocery store meant driving an hour or more down the highway.

    I have lived in the city now for the last 18 years but this is how I still shop for the most part. I sit down and "plan" my menu for the month (family of 4) but it only takes 15 minutes. If we are having pork roast on Monday, Tuesday we have Barbeque Pork Pull and any other left overs are frozen. Wednesday we have Chicken, the next day is chicken and dumplings. Left overs are again frozen.

    One way I freeze my meals? In sectioned freezer ware. I will put rice in one compartment, veggies in another and meat in another. Top with lid and label and freeze. At the end of the week (usually on Saturady) I will list off what we have in the freezer and everyone will get their own "tv dinner". 3 meals from one venture in the kitchen. Who can beat that?

    I know many people here who can't believe that I am able to feed my family of 4 for less than $400 a month BUT I actually cook and by nothing that is "prepared". I buy in bulk when it is on sale and freeze everything in family sizes – a few "family packs" of chicken is far less money than running out to buy 2-3 rotissere chickens for supper. Just look at the menu on the fridge in the morning and take out what needs thawing.

    Honest, do it once or twice and you will see just how fast planning can actually be. Especially if you know your children will not eat certain things or have a hubby who is a "meat and potatoes" kind of man, why bother trying to think of "new" recipes that include some items you have never heard of?

    Cooking cheaply for anyone – single or family – involves simple recipes and a cupboard that contains the staples not a bunch of fancy things your family will never eat.

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