>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!