If you're anything like me and my boyfriend, then about half of your conversations revolve around one topic: what to have for dinner. Well, cookbook authors Kathy Brennan and Caroline Campion have a plan for us. It's The Dinner Plan, and it's their newest cookbook. Their original, Keepers, is filled with recipes that are literally "keepers," the ones you keep and use over and over. And this new cookbook is filled with more of the same.
Because The Dinner Plan is specifically written to help plan good dinners, and to help us make good dinners on those nights when we have no plan, it focuses on 5 categories of meals: Make Ahead, Staggered (for those nights family members need to eat at different times), One Dish, Pantry, and Extra Fast. Each of these categories has a colored tab, so you can look at the pages and flip through until your find one that fits what you need. Or you can hit the back of the book, where the recipes are organized by category as well as by name of recipe and by ingredients in a typical index.
Many recipes are in more than one category, so when you need something Staggered that you can grab from your Pantry, they've got you covered. And there are even some recipes that hit all the categories, like the Tex-Mex Salmon-in-Foil, Skillet Chicken Parm, Bacon and Egg Fried Rice, and Spicy or Not Black Bean Soup.
And these two former editors from Saveur Magazine (so you know they've got the chops) know what's important for a family. They not only load you up with delicious recipes for mains and sides, they include "The Forgotten Meal," the snacks. With ideas like Dark Chocolate-Banana Bread, Baked Layered Nachos, Stromboli, and (making my mouth water!) Melted Mozzarella Squares as well as healthier options like Overnight Yoghurt-Chia Jars and Date-Banana Smoothie, snacks are now part of the plan.
And of course, Brennan and Campion give you all the information you need to not only make all these dishes but also to create some amazing meals of your own. With articles throughout the book to help you up your dinner game, these women make sure you know what to stock in your pantry, how to make all the sauces you need to impress your family and friends, how to spatchcock a chicken, how to make dinner parties easier, and so much more. This book is stacked with ideas, information, and recipes that will help with real-life dinners on real-life weeknights.
I am a cookbook junkie, but I'm getting a lot pickier about which books I try to cram onto my overfilled shelves. But once I finished looking over the electronic galleys of The Dinner Plan, I knew I had to go out and buy a hard copy of this one. I will use it often. And I'm going to have to get my own copy of Keepers too. After seeing what these two women have to offer, I'm all in. I'll find the shelf space somewhere.
Galleys for The Dinner Plan were provided by Abrams through NetGalley.com, with many thanks.