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12 Aug

Back-to-School Shopping for Clean Ingredients

Posted in Shop Smart, Smart Ingredients, unprocessed on 12.08.14 by Smart Ingredients

Are you scared of what the coming school year means for feeding your kids? I know I am scared at the temptation of all the mini-packages that could easily ensure my kids get their fill of red dye, corn syrup and preservatives at 1 (1)

I want you to be scared too. We all should be. I want you to feel repulsed when you see pre-packaged foods because the preservatives, dyes and processed sugars and flours they include really do affect the health of our kids. And the fear can be the inspiration you need to get in the kitchen and change the way they eat.

This back-to-school season I will focus on strategies to help us all keep our kids healthier, more alert, and less anxious by eating clean. Like many of my strategies, this one revolves around stocking up on Smart Ingredients – key core ingredients that add up to mealtime success. I will post one recipe per day on the Organizing Dinner facebook page that uses one or more of these ingredients and I’ll do a weekly recap via this blog. Some recipes will use barely more than what’s on this list. Many more will use the pantry stocking list from the 70 meals, One Trip to the Store cookbook so most of you will have everything you need anyway (as you know we try to get the most flavor out of the fewest ingredients). And all the recipes will be things you can feel great about feeding your kids. I’ll give you recipes for sweets to replace preservative and corn-syrup-laden packaged cookies. Great easy dinners, and creative items to pack in their lunch. I wish you the best on keeping it clean this school year!

Here is the “Top 10” list for this year’s back-to-school shopping for clean eating. These are the items you can buy in bulk and stock in the pantry or freezer. Or, stock up one at a time when you find a good price, i.e. ground beef is at its summer low price, and/or you find a great deal on one of the items:

  1. Ground meat – ground beef or poultry is one of the most versatile items to keep on hand for dinner. It is inexpensive, goes a long way at mealtime and is the basis for so many classic favorites such as burgers, meatballs and tacos. I keep several pounds in my freezer at all times, stocking up when I find a great sale.
  2. Flax seeds – flax seed has one of the highest nutritional components of any food. You are doing your body a great service every time you eat it. In the 8th century, King Charlemagne believed so strongly in the health benefits of flax seed that he passed laws requiring his subjects to consume it. I personally think today’s governing officials should look to this kind of enforcement to keep down the costs of healthcare.  Flax seed owes its primary healthy reputation to three components: omega-3 essential fatty acids, lignans and fiber. The health benefits of these include heart health and lower cholesterol. Below is a picture of whole flax seeds if you’ve never seen them before. You can usually find them in the bulk dry goods section of your store or with the health foods. Milled flax is also a fine substitute, and can be found by flours and baking items. photo 2 (1)
  3. Chicken – another inexpensive and extremely versatile meal base, chicken breasts are a great item to stock up on and keep on hand in the freezer for weeknight meals.
  4. Quinoa – loaded with minerals and antioxidant qualities, protein to boot, quinoa is one of the healthiest nutritional component foods out there, and by far a superior substitute to pasta or white rice. I also find that it is extremely versatile, as you will see in the recipes to follow this post, from binding burgers to enriching salads, to making a healthy dessert.
  5. Greens – my favorites are kale and spinach because they have HUGE health components and freeze well, but feel free to substitute whatever greens you prefer. I don’t think I even need to touch on why we need these on our menu. They’re green, so ‘nuf said, right?  Buy (or grow) a large bunch of either kale or spinach, keep 2-3 servings in the refrigerator, and freeze the rest by compressing it into individual baggies.
  6. Oats – the health benefits of oats are an article all in themselves. Click here to read some great testimony from a non-profit food health organization of their health impacts. In summary, look at it like this: if you are feeding your kids prepackaged breakfast and snack foods with a base of genetically-modified flours, sugars and preservatives, you are putting them at a risk of higher cholesterol, heart issues and diabetes. Whereas a preservative-free item based on something as wholesome as oats, does the reverse.
  7. Tomatoes – if you are growing some yourself right now or happen to be the lucky recipient of a batch of tomatoes this harvest season, do yourself the favor of canning them for the rest of the year. They can be a great base for many a quick and easy meal for your family.
  8. Black beans – canned black beans are ok, but if you don’t mind taking the time to soak beans, buy bags of dried ones. Rinse the beans and place them in a large pot, covered in water and let sit overnight. The next day, rinse and replace water, add 1 tablespoon of salt, bring beans to a boil, reduce heat to simmer, and cook for one hour or until tender.
  9. Sweet potatoes – these spuds are an excellent source of Vitamin A (beta carotene) and Vitamin C, and are known for reducing inflammation and restoring cells. These antioxidants can also help conditions such as arthritis, asthma and diabetes, as well as aid to prevent conditions such as emphysema, heart disease and even colon cancer. And they taste great. The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) ranked the sweet potato number one in nutrition of all vegetables. “Points were given for content of dietary fiber, naturally occurring sugars and complex carbIn mohydrates, protein, vitamins A and C, iron and calcium. Points were deducted for fat content (especially saturated fat), sodium, cholesterol, added refined sugars and caffeine. The higher the score, the more nutritious the food.”
  10. Dark chocolate – we all know the kids like a sweet treat, and dark chocolate has wonderful health properties. Stock up on the chips (which you can also find dairy free) for many great recipe uses. And/or if your kids are like mine – straight up chips are a good snack too. Good quality dark chocolate contains fiber and tons of minerals. Yep, dark chocolate lowers the risk of heart disease. Yum.


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23 May

Scratch That!

Posted in dessert recipes, GMO, Shop Smart on 23.05.13 by Smart Ingredients

One day recently I was making cupcakes form a box when my 5-year old daughter, and faithful baking helper, licked the batter bowl and said. “Eew, I can’t eat this, it tastes like chemicals.” I took a lick, and she was right, ick, it did. It does. Cake mixes are one of the most commonly purchased items by families, and this was a top 2 brand. And the shame is we are “trained” to believe these cupcakes are homemade if they are home-baked. “From Scratch” has become quite a fancy term in cooking these days. But it really shouldn’t be. To make your own cupcakes requires you to combine 10 ingredients instead of 3. This may sound like a lot to you, but when you consider that one of the three ingredients in the quicker method is a packaged cake mix that includes more than 17 ingredients such as “Polyglycerol Esters Of Fatty Acids, and Artificial Flavors,” I think you’ll agree it’s not so bad. One of the ingredients is a complicated compound, and the other is a mystery. (I don’t want you to lose your appetite so let me just tell you to google search where artificial flavorings come from and you may discover a few surprises.)
When packaged foods first came out, they were a wonderful convenience option for busy cooks. But in the decades since their inception, the mission to create larger profits by using more manufactured ingredients has made them a toxic option for our families.
One step at a time, let’s get back to cooking from scratch. Once you learn to Shop Smart it isn’t as hard as it seems. This recipe for homemade chocolate cupcakes is a great place to start.
Easy Homemade Chocolate Cupcakes
  • 1-1/3 cups flour (non-GMO, such as Hodgson Mill)
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1-1/2 cups white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup milk (I have used vanilla and chocolate almond milk in addition to cow’s milk)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa and salt. Set aside. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well with each addition, then stir in the vanilla. Add the flour mixture alternately with the milk; beat well. Fill the muffin cups 3/4 full. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.

See our recipes section for frosting ideas, or frost as desired.


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06 Mar

Half Off on Groceries

Posted in ayurvedic cooking, Copycat Recipes, Shop Smart, unprocessed, vegetarian on 06.03.13 by Smart Ingredients

When it comes to saving money on groceries, as you know, we do not promote the use of coupons. Instead we recommend you stock up on the items you use when they are priced well. If you follow our Smart Shopping tips, you will save more on your bill, and save less time than it takes to clip coupons.

Well, with St. Patrick’s Day quickly approaching, there are several items that are going to be in high demand for the Corned Beef  feast, which will therefore be selling at wonderfully-low prices. One of these is cabbage. Cabbage is typically priced over $1/head. In the next few weeks you will find it for half that price, if not less, at certain stores. In addition to serving it with your corned beef, here are some ways to make your money go a long way, and provide your family healthy, delicious side dishes at half their usual price. And this doesn’t mean you’ll be eating cabbage every day (though that would be good for you) as one of these recipes has a long shelf life, and the other can be frozen for future use.

© Supertrooper | Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images

Sweet and Spicy Cole Slaw


  • 1 head cabbage, shredded
  • 1 package cherry or grape tomatoes, quartered
  • 1/4 cup green onions, diced
  • 2 teaspoons colemans or other spicy mustard
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/3 cup white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

Combine all ingredients and chill.

A traditional kimchi recipe entails pickling Napa cabbage in salted water for one day, and preserving with similar ingredients for at least 48 hours. With respect to traditional recipes and their wonderful flavors, this is a shortcut recipe to achieve a copycat flavor using green cabbage and less preparation time.

Shortcut Green Cabbage Kimchi


  • 1/2 head cabbage cut into 1/2-inch strips
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon ginger, minced
  • 1/2 cup green onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder (korean kochukaru preferred, but you can use traditional if you don’t have Korean)
  • 1/4 cup fish sauce

Combine all ingredients in a sealed container and let sit for one hour at room temperature.

Cabbage soup of this sort is known as detox, and a diet fad. For good reason. This soup has very few calories, and zero points on a weight watchers-type system. It also tastes great, and can be frozen for future use.

Cabbage Soup

  • ½ head of cabbage, chopped
  • 1 cup celery, diced
  • 1 cup onion, diced
  • 1 cup carrots, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 – 14 oz can diced tomatoes OR 1 cup of tomato juice
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon basil
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes OR 1 teaspoon hot sauce
  • few shakes of black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon salt
Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add celery, onions, garlic, and carrots. Saute until slightly tender. Add broth, tomatoes, cabbage and all seasonings. Stir, bring to a boil and then reduce heat, simmering until vegetables are tender. At this point soup can be eaten or frozen.


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03 Jan


Posted in Shop Smart, Smart Ingredients, Win at Dinner on 03.01.13 by Smart Ingredients

Welcome 2013.

What do you hope 2013 has in store for you?

One thing I have been greatly looking forward to in 2013 is taking on processed foods. And I don’t mean taking them on, as in adding them to my menu. I mean challenging them, and trying to beat them to the food audience with pure recipes and healthy cooking advice. I do not run a healthy eating website. There are plenty of those. Nor do I promote lowfat cooking or 100% raw foods. I aim to teach the everyday cook how to do it a little better, a little more efficient and with a lot of money and time saved. When I realize that when people learn basic cooking skills and strategies from Organizing Dinner they naturally eat less processed is where I achieve success in the healthy eating world.

I am out there on the front lines. I go into homes to assess cooking and eating styles. I teach cooking classes to dozens of people each week, and I talk food with many people in many places. And what I see more and more is that the amount of processed foods Americans eat is astounding. It’s gross. And it’s not fair.

It’s not fair to our bodies, but it’s also not fair that this is how we are taught to eat. Everywhere we turn, from television to fast food signs to grocery store shelves teaches us to grab and go with some sort of packaged processed foods. Many therefore believe that “homemade cooking” is processed cheese noodles, processed cheese sandwiches, canned soup, processed chicken nuggets and hot dogs. And that feeding our family bottled salad dressing on top of plain lettuce is the way to add healthy ingredients to our dinners. Many times during 2012 did I find myself seething at the commercials on tv that depict the world’s happiest family sitting down to a dinner of Hamburger Helper or a breakfast of Toaster Strudels.


Knowing that there’s no way noodles need processed powder to make them a cheap and easy dinner base for beef, tuna, and many other seasonings and mix-ins, I decided enough is enough.

It’s time to speak louder and clearer about healthy cooking. It will be a challenge. It’s one I’m up for, though I could use some help. I’m currently looking to build reach and partnerships through my work with the Chef’s Move to Schools initiative, and through media connections and other outlets. If you have an idea, let me know.

Organizing Dinner teaches how to have more success at dinner with fresh ingredients by shopping smarter, employing good game plans in the kitchen, getting to know your family’s Smart ingredients that add up to dinner success, and much, much more.

Stay tuned to our blog and read through past blogs to get started. Look forward to hundreds of recipes in 2013 that get you unprocessed and out of the box with your cooking. Also keep an eye out for our message in other outlets as we continue to grow our partnerships and work to beat the processed food companies to your dinner table.

All my best for 2013,

Kelly Donlea

Founder, Organizing Dinner


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19 Apr

Information Overload

Posted in Shop Smart, Smart Ingredients, Uncategorized, vegetarian, Win at Dinner on 19.04.12 by Smart Ingredients

There is so much information out there about groceries — what’s on sale — what you should eat — what you should buy. I am frankly tired of my customers being so confused about what they should buy and their general feeling of inferiority that they don’t know the “right” answer. So my guidance to them, and to you, is to not listen to anyone about what to buy, except your family. Take a close look at your family’s eating habits and learn what are your family’s Smart Ingredients. What oil to use is a great example. I can’t tell you how many times I get the questions “Does it have to be extra virgin? Should I only use olive oil? Someone told me I should only buy grapeseed oil, what do you think?” I often answer all these questions with “Use butter.” Not because I don’t love oils and think they have a superior health value, because I do. I just want to make the point that in most applications, like searing or basting foods, fat is fat and whatever you have, use or prefer will work just fine. Listening to the information overload will never get you to the “right” answers. Playing the Smart cooking game, getting in the kitchen and working hard to win at dinner will.

My youngest child is a preschooler. So if the tv is on during the day, it’s typically Sprout or the Disney channel. If I listened to the food influences from those channel’s commercials, I would be feeding my young child noodles with processed dehydrated cheeses and sauces, bottled dressings, pop tarts and frozen dinners and feeling great about doing it. I don’t feed her those things, and I am not influenced to do so by what I hear and see. Because knowledge is power, and I already know what to feed her that is healthy and she likes. I encourage you to take control over what you need and what you should buy at the grocery store.

Then, your approach at the grocery store will become what I call “shooting straight” versus “casting a net”. Casting a net means buying some of this and some of that… many things that don’t always add up to feeding your family. Shooting straight means buying more Smart Ingredients (stock up!) and less clutter. If your family is eating a lot of processed foods and you want to move into more healthful options, start by buying the same one or two things you know your family will eat and prepare them in different ways. The chance that you’ll end up using them is much greater than if you decide to try an entirely new healthy food regime with foods you aren’t sure the family will eat. Don’t try to change the world (your family’s entire dinner process) in a day. Take it one day at a time and if you are using Smart Ingredients and building off of the 3 or so favorite “types” of meals your family likes, you will have 20-30 “go to” recipes in no time.

My Mom has jumped on the green smoothie craze, encouraged to do so by her chiropractor. She loves them and feels great about what she eats for breakfast, has even got the rest of us joining in, and I’m proud of her for her dedication. Then her hairdresser — the end of all information sources — told her that by blending her produce she’s losing all the nutrition value and it’s a waste of her time. Now my Mom is doubting her efforts. I told her to hold it right there, tell the hairdresser to stick to dye jobs and highlights, and to keep drinking her smoothies. I tried to find any scientific evidence that blending changes the health value of vegetables, and I couldn’t. The safest bet is that the food is still raw, and it’s still more greens than she would have been eating otherwise. But the more important thing is that the green smoothies are working for my Mom, and they are much healthier than the scones she used to eat for breakfast.  No one should be derailed by what someone else tells you you should or shouldn’t eat or buy.

Here’s my Mom’s favorite Green Smoothie Recipe

Ratio 60% fruit to 40% greens

  • Spinach
  • Strawberries
  • Fresh Pineapple
  • Parsley

Combine all ingredients with water and ice. Blend.


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31 Mar

Super Couponing… the Smart Way

Posted in 70 meals one trip to the store, Shop Smart, Smart Ingredients, Win at Dinner on 31.03.12 by Smart Ingredients

Last year I was getting asked all the time if I “Super-couponed” by either passionate couponers or those who felt like they should be in on the latest thing. I get it – couponing can make the grocery store a game and the money saved can make you a winner. But like a kid who graduates from hungry Hippos to Monopoly, it’s time to learn a better game that makes more sense and works for life, both saving you money at the store and bringing you success in your kitchen. It’s called Shopping Smart.

The goal of the Shopping Smart game is to NOT have to go the store more than once every 7-10 days. And, to buy only items that can be mixed and matched to add up to dinner success in your home. Not shopping Smart would mean going to the grocery store, buying a bunch of this-and-that that looks good/is new/would be great in one dinner. Shopping Smart means going to the grocery store knowing just what items to buy because they are items that ALWAYS add up to dinner in your house. If you read my blog often, you’re used to pasta being a frequent example. Forgive me, here I go again… but I’ll throw in a side of produce too. My family loves pasta. I make it at least once a week though rarely the same way twice in a month, alternating baked pasta, mac and cheese, fettuccine, pasta with vegetables herbs and olive oil, and many of the other pasta recipes you can see on my website. The low price on pasta around here lately has been $1.39. This week a great brand was on sale for $0.79 per pound, so I bought ten pounds. I saved $5!…I won! I didn’t have to scan the papers, find the scissors, cut anything out or make sure I brought it with me, and there’s no chance that it won’t get used or will go to waste, because it’s one of my family’s Smart ingredients. Spinach is another great example. In the winter, fresh spinach can be a bit pricey. With Spring on the horizon, I found a large bag for just $2.22 at my local fresh market-type Euro grocer. I froze the majority of it in sandwich-size Ziploc bags for use in soups, pastas, pizzas, quiche, strata and more, and kept in the crisper just the amount I’m sure I’ll use before it wilts. 

As one mother of five who uses my cookbook 70 Meals, One Trip to the Store, says, the Smart shopping method is “a godsend.” This Mom, Shelly Mabe of Warren , MI, and author of the blog, is using the cookbook to help her family get out of debt. She said “This falls right in line with our family plan to be out of debt in 1 year.” And, as a woman known for her tendency to grab her family a pizza for dinner, she is impressing her friends that she has actually making dinner every night — and that even her picky eaters loved the meals.

The fact that the “Super-coupon” phase seems to have faded speaks to it’s sustainability as a lifetime plan. By going to the store with the intention to save money using coupons you are risking two things: one is buying things that may not add up to dinner just because you have a coupon for them — and buying them in bulk for that matter. The other thing you’re sacrificing is your time. You don’t need to spend time accumulating, clipping, sorting, printing, and remembering your coupons. By buying only what adds up to dinner success you will save more money than could be put on a piece of paper. Think of it as a 40% off for life, with an added bonus of a lot of free time. And, this plan never expires!


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04 Apr

Days 14 – 17

Posted in pasta, Shop Smart, side dish, Win at Dinner on 04.04.11 by Smart Ingredients

A continuation of our “30 Days of Dinner” posts.


Are you winning at dinner? Do you find yourself going to the store more often than you’d like? Grab one or two extra meats on your next “nightly” trip, and our blog and online recipes can help you figure out something to make with them with ingredients you have at home. Won’t it be nice to know you won’t have to head back to the store tomorrow… or the next day?


Day 14

Menu: Spaghetti with tomato cream sauce, meatballs, and grilled asparagus

Game Plays applied:

Gifts to self — when I make spaghetti sauce, I make a lot. Enough that I have many, many servings frozen. I took the spaghetti sauce from the freezer, thawed and mixed it with the new Philadelphia Cooking Creme with Italian Herbs* for the sauce. I combined that with precooked meatballs from the freezer for a quick and easy pasta dinner.

PRODUCT REVIEW – Philadelphia Cooking Cream

This is not something I would normally buy. I think Kraft saturates the market with highly-processed pre-packaged dinners (or in this case multi-ingredient mixes) that make people feel like they are making a healthy homemade meal. These products do save people from doing much of the cooking themselves. But at what cost? I bought it because I have been asked by many customers… with excitement in their voices “have you tried it?”. As if they were thinking this would be the solution to all their cooking challenges. So I tried it. It is simply cream cheese of a creamier consistency with herbs mixed in, and probably a whole lot of unneeded preservatives. Trust me, this is nothing you couldn’t put together yourself at home. Thin out some cream cheese with milk or greek yogurt, and add some fresh herbs, salt, pepper, garlic and Parmesan cheese. You will save yourself a lot of process chemicals, and probably quite a bit of cost on fancy packaging. I know we’re all looking for cooking shortcuts, but shopping smart and cooking with a game plan get you there with more success.

Day 15

Turkey Breast with Green Beans and Cornbread Stuffing

Game Plays applied:

2/3 Rule — I had to try out a new stuffing recipe for a local newspaper article, so that I had to make from scratch. I made it early in the day.  The great thing with stuffing is you can prep it up to 24 hours in advance of your cooking time. So, it’s an easy thing to squeeze in if you have extra time during breakfast or the night before. I bought a pre-seasoned turkey breast. All I had to do was pop that into the oven, so the turkey counts as a “quick and easy”. And the green beans, while cooked from scratch only got a quick steam with some garlic salt.

Day 16

Menu: Pork Chops, Potatoes and carrots

One-pan meal – I made a white sauce, layered the potatoes and carrots in it on the bottom of a baking dish with a sliced onion, and topped that with seasoned, floured and seared pork chops. This baked for about 40 minutes, covered.

*This meal did take about 35-40 minutes of prep time, but I think pork chops need a little extra love to turn out tender and flavorful.


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30 Mar

Win a FREE Cookbook, and Win at Dinner

Posted in 70 Meals, 70 meals one trip to the store, Contest Winners, Shop Smart on 30.03.11 by Smart Ingredients

Here are some things last month’s winner had to say about her FREE copy of our best-selling cookbook 70 Meals, One Trip to the Store:

  • The concept of shopping less often, having a plan and the ingredients on hand, to get dinner on the table every day is one most of us dream of. This attractive, well-designed book, 70 Meals One Trip to the Store, gives us the tools to get headed in that direction. The brilliant idea of having a group of recipes that share common ingredients, yet are not so similar as to be boring is at the heart of this system. As the author puts it, getting rid of “ingredient clutter” will let you buy less, save more money, simplify and speed up your shopping and make getting dinner ready much easier.
  • The 70 recipes are easy to read and one per page, so you don’t have to flip back and forth while cooking. They’re all very simple, so even beginner cooks can master them.
  • What would I add to this? A little more information on just how 70 meals can be made with one trip to the store as the title suggests. Maybe adding vegetable side dish suggestions to the recipes would be helpful.
  • To help busy cooks a little more, suggested preparation and cooking times added to each recipe might be helpful. It’s always nice to select recipes based on how much time we have to spare to make them whether it’s active time or unattended time.
  • The tips and tricks are very useful and will really help the organization and flow in the kitchen at dinner time. Also, having the recipe index, listed by protein in the front of the book was a very smart idea. I wish more cookbooks were arranged this way.
  • Overall, I really like this cookbook and the system of organization it follows. You don’t need to be so militant as to have months of meals already planned out day by day. That’s the real brilliance behind this system; once you’ve got your pantry stocked, you can decide what to have for dinner at the last minute and not have to follow a set schedule.
  • All of the recipes sound delicious and are varied enough that there will always be plenty to choose from for something interesting to serve. I’m certain that many of these recipes will remain in my go-to repertoire to serve over and over.

Thank you Nancy! Your comments really hit the nail on the head about why this book is so helpful at dinnertime. I will try to incorporate your suggestions, and add prep and cooking time to the recipes online too.

Now, how about a FREE copy for you? Just enter a comment to this blog post to be entered to win. We will randomly select a winner on Friday!


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29 Mar

30 Days of Dinner; Days 11-13

Posted in Chicken Recipes, Contest Winners, Shop Smart, Win at Dinner on 29.03.11 by Smart Ingredients

This post is a continuation of a look inside 30 days of dinner at my house to see how I use the “Win at Dinner” strategies in real-life situations. Read the previous posts for more information on the Game Plays.

Day 11

Homemade pizza

Game Plays:

70 Meals, One Trip to the Store – Following the 70 Meals cookbook, I always have ingredients on hand to make several kinds of pizza. Pizza is always a winner in my house, and the kids love to help make the crust. Using one packet of “Smart ingredient” RED Star yeast, I made two crusts from which we ate one Barbeque chicken and caramelized onion, and one Mozzarella and red sauce pizza.

Day 12

Moroccan Lamb and Apricot Stew

Game Plays:

None. This is one of those instances when I found a unique recipe (here’s the link) that I really wanted to try, using many ingredients that I had to go out and buy. As I recommend, keeping this to once or twice a month keeps making dinner from being a “project”, and the ingredient clutter (ingredients you rarely use) to a minimum.

Day 13

Chicken Fajitas

Game Plays:

Gifts to self – I had roasted several pounds of chicken, cubed and frozen it in 1-pound quantities, a few weeks back. I thawed and used one of these pounds for the Fajitas. I filled the lazy susan with toppings (lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, guacamole, salsa and sour cream) and sides (refried beans and tortilla chips), and everyone filled their own plate.

70 Meals, One Trip to the Store – Chicken fajitas are in the 70 Meals, One Trip to the Store cookbook which means I have everything I need to make them, any night of the year.

I can’t believe March is already near over. Our next post… Another cookbook giveaway! Stay tuned.


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02 Dec

Easy Recipe #4: Baked Pasta

Posted in 70 meals one trip to the store, beef recipes, pasta, Shop Smart on 02.12.10 by Smart Ingredients

As we near the end of what we can call “cooking recovery week” another flexible, one-dish dinner gives a nice break to you hard-working cooks. 

Baked Pasta

Serves 4-6


  • 10 ounces thick pasta noodles
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 10 ounces red sauce
  • 1 cup Mozzarella cheese
  • 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese

Optional additions:

  • 1/2 pound sausage or ground beef, browned
  • 1 1/2 cups spinach
  • 1/2 cup mushrooms, diced
  • 1 cup ricotta or cottage cheese
  • Fresh basil

Boil noodles according to Al Dente package directions. Coat a baking dish with olive oil, and pour noodles on top. Fold remaining ingredients into noodles, including optional additions. Bake for 25 minutes at 350 degrees F.


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