The Dinner Plan: Simple Weeknight Recipes and Strategies for Every Schedule
By: Kathy Brennan and Cardine Campion
Reader Problem: You are in need of dinner ideas that suit *your* schedule.
Solution: The Dinner Plan. A cookbook written by two women who understand the struggles the modern family faces in dinner time prep.
The Dinner Plan has 135 recipes and the cookbook is divided into Main Dishes and Sides Dishes. It’s then further divided into Fish & Shellfish, Chicken & Turkey, Beef & Pork, Eggs, Rice, & Meatless, Pasta, and Soups, Sandwiches, & Dinner Salads. The Sides are divided into Vegetables, and Starches & Grains. There is also a section called The Forgotten Meal which is the snack kids eat between school and dinner.
Brennan & Campion have created 5 categories of meals.
- Make-Ahead—Dinners that can be put together in advance when you have a bit of extra time.
- Staggered—Meals that reheat well and can be eaten by family members at various times in the evenings when everyone is going in different directions.
- One-Dish—Meals that can be made in one dish. (Those are a big hit in my house because the kids appreciate not having 6 different pots to clean up after dinner.)
- Pantry—Meals that can be made with items that are standard in most pantries.
- Extra-Fast—Dinners that take 30 minutes or less.
- Each recipe in the book is tagged with at least one of the five categories. Some fit into multiple categories. For example, Creamy Lentils is tagged with the Make-Ahead & Staggered labels, fulfilling 2 categories.A few recipes fit all categories. Skillet Chicken Parm is a recipe that is tagged Make-Ahead, Staggered, One-Dish, Pantry, and Extra-Fast. That would be a great recipe to have on hand.
One thing I found particularly useful was the instructions and photos for spatchcocking a chicken. I’m not much of a cook but I have been wanting to try this method for some time. And I think with these instructions and pictures, I’m going to be able to do so.
In addition to teaching us how to spatchcock a chicken, there are other additions, such as:
- 10 Gadgets for Greater Kitchen Efficiency
- Home Alone—Meals from the book that you might enjoy cooking just for yourself.
- Celery Matters—On celery
- Lifesavers—Condiments to dress up a dish.
- The New Dinner Party—Tips for a great dinner party
- Playing With Proportions—Increasing the veggie to meat ratio in your meals
- And several others.
I’ll be honest. It’s not a cookbook I would purchase for myself, simply because I’m not fond of cooking and cookbooks are not my thing. But if you are into cooking, the recipes look mouth-watering (the photography is great!) and the way the book is organized will be very useful to the home cook who is looking for some new recipes to try.