Thursday, May 30, 2013

Simplified Pantry ~ Schoolhouse Review


 photo tn_zpsd0054245.jpg I enjoy grocery shopping. I enjoy planning meals and making grocery lists. I enjoy finding new recipes and experiencing new foods. But sometimes I grow weary coming up with ideas! I feel like we eat the same thing every night, and we often get in a rut with our meals. I was given the opportunity to review Simplified Dinners by Mystie Winckler at Simplified Pantry. It is a cookbook, of sorts ... a simplified cookbook. Instead of being full of hundreds of completely different recipes, this e-book gives you a system for cooking similar types of meals using, primarily, a stocked pantry.


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Here's an example. In my freezer was a roast. I could have made the same old roast I always make by throwing it into a crock pot with potatoes and carrots and onions and some beef broth. We are bored with that meal! But we still had a roast in the freezer that needed to be eaten!

I pulled up my Simplified Dinners e-cookbook, conveniently downloaded onto my iPad, and went to the Slow Cooker Roasts section. From there I was able to follow some simple steps to build a roast dinner that fit with our cravings for that particular night. Were we in the mood for Savory Beef Roast or Cranberry Wine Roast or Balsamic Roast? It didn't really matter, because the steps to create the roast dinner were the same. The only differences were in what seasonings and other ingredients we cooked with it.

That night we had Rich Roast. The next week we could have used that same roast and had Cranberry Wine Roast by changing the seasoning from a bottle of beer, red wine vinegar and thyme to red wine, worcestershire sauce and soy sauce, and the other ingredients from sliced onions to dried cranberries. And the next week could have been a completely different meal using the same roast.

The key to making this work is to have a stocked pantry. I remember a time when I wanted to make a cake from scratch that I found in a magazine. All of the ingredients were regular pantry items that anyone has in their pantry. And the cake was amazing without me having to go to the store. The Simplified Dinners recipes follow the same premise. With purchased meats and a fully stocked pantry, any of the meals in the e-book can be prepared without leaving the house for any additional ingredients.

And there are many varieties of recipes to make, including:
  • Slow-Cooker Roasts
  • Slow-Cooker, No-Defrost Chicken Pieces
  • Chicken-in-a-Pot
  • Skillet Cutlets with Pan Sauces
  • Marinades for Grilling or Broiling
  • Foil-Packet Fishes
  • Stovetop Pasta
  • Bean Pots
  • Fajitas
  • Quesadillas
  • Taco Bars
  • Burritos or Enchiladas
  • Taquitos
  • Frittatas
  • Oven Omelettes
  • Pizzas
  • Simple Stir-frys
  • Potato Hashes
  • Baked Potato Bars
  • Bean Soups
  • Stews
  • Blended Vegetable Soups
  • Quick Soups
  • Main Dish Salads
  • Vegetable Side Dishes
  • Side-Dish Salads
  • Starchy Side Dishes
This is certainly my preferred way to cook. The only downfall is that in order to start, you really need to get your pantry stocked. If you haven't been doing that in the past, it can be a costly upstart. I will be honest: that kept me from utilizing the cookbook as much as I would have liked. I simply just didn't have many of the ingredients needed for many of the recipes. And I didn't have the grocery budget to fully stock my pantry with what I needed to make it work as simply as it should have.

If you would like a simplified way to build your weekly menus, I highly recommend Simplified Dinners. The recipes are tried-and-true family recipes. They are simple, yet delicious. And I am certain your family will love anything prepared from it.

If you would like to download a sample of the Simplified Dinners e-book, including the pantry list, you can do that by clicking HERE.

Do you need gluten free or dairy free recipes? Then try Simplified Dinners: Gluten Free/Dairy Free e-book edition. And Mystie at Simplified Pantry didn't stop at simplifying your cooking, either. She also has an e-book called Paperless Home Organization. Ahh ... wouldn't that be nice? I did not review either of these e-books, but others did at the Crew so you should stop by and see what they had to say.

Both Simplified Dinners cookbooks can be purchased in e-book format from the Simplified Pantry website for $12.95. (The Paperless Home Organization e-book is in Kindle format for only $3.99.) But you can also receive a 30% discount through June 3rd by using the coupon code TOS2013. What are you waiting for? Get the e-book, stock your pantry, and get cooking!

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