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Saturday, May 25, 2013

Solve the “What’s For Dinner?” Dilemma w/ Simplified Dinners, a review

I recently received a review opportunity from Simplified Pantry for Simplified Dinners.  Putting an end to the last minute, “uh, what’s for dinner?” scramble…and with real food…how could I not give it a try?


Simplified Dinners gives you the know-how and confidence to create yummy, frugal meals your kids will actually eat, with minimal fuss and no last minute shopping trips!

E-book retails for $12.99 

Through June 3rd, get it for 30% off by using this code at checkout:   TOS2013

The concept behind Simplified Dinners is simple, if you:

  • have the right pantry ingredients on-hand
  • take advantage of local sales on meat and perishables
  • use a repertoire of simple cooking techniques

then your dinner options will grow exponentially without too much brain work!

Simplified Dinners Balsamic Chicken Stir Fry

The book begins with a short introduction explaining the reasons for simplifying and the set up of the rest of the book, followed by a “master” pantry list (organized by roughly where you’ll find things when you go shopping).  It’s a huge list, and Mystie (author of Simplified Dinners) encourages you to customize the list to your family’s preferences. 

Simplified Dinners Oven Omelette

Simplified Dinners is a little different from most recipe books.  It is not filled with exact formulations for producing particular meals, rather you are given  several “processes” for different types of meals, along with variations for each process.  Examples of processes:

  • Slow-Cooker, No-Defrost Chicken Pieces
  • Bean Pots
  • Simple Stir-Fry
  • Main Dish Salads
  • Oven Omelettes

Each process gives you the basic steps for preparing that type of meal and the variations give you specific ingredients you might use.  For “Main Dish Salads,” a few of your variation choices would be:  Tuna-Cabbage, Sassy Chicken, and Vegetable Pasta.

Simplified Dinners Tuna Cabbage Salad

But, you are encouraged to use whatever cuts of meat or product happen to be on sale or substitute for family preferences---each and every meal I have made from Simplified Dinners has been a unique creation.

Simplified Dinners Herbed Beans

And every single one has been a new family favorite.  Really.   My pantry contains all the right ingredients and I’m free to pick and choose what works for me.

Simplified Dinners Black Bean Chili

I turned the Black Bean Chili into a vegetarian dish (the original called for browned ground beef) and it was still great!

Simplified Dinners Crockpot no defrost Fruited Chicken

The no-defrost Fruited Chicken saved me when  I forgot to thaw the chicken the night before.

Let’s not forget the quick and easy sides.Simplified Dinners Biscuits

These are the best biscuits I’ve ever made.  My family agrees (and my family always loves my biscuits). 

The secret to flaky on the inside, brown and crispy on the outside biscuits---you’ll find it in Simplified Dinners!

There is a bit of a learning curve.

Most of the processes do not give exact quantities for ingredients.  You’ll need to decide how much meat to brown, how many zucchinis to chop, what size can of pineapple to use, etc.  Many seasonings are “to taste” or “add a dash.”

This is great for those of us who typically have to modify recipe amounts to feed our families or who have kiddos who don’t like spicy food.  But it does take some thought and may take a little experimentation.

What do I love about Simplified Dinners?

I’m really, really, really bad at meal planning!  Really bad.  Part of that is because I just don’t want to take the time to do it.  And part of it is because all too often when I do plan, when it comes time to actually prepare the meals, my family is not in the mood for that particular meal. 

Or some unpredictable thing comes up and I don’t have time to prepare it.

Or I forget to defrost something.  You get the idea.

There are a lot of things on the master pantry list that I don’t normally keep on hand.  Things like canned pineapple.  Lime juice.  Dried chickpeas.  But they are things that I have often had to run out and buy for this or that recipe. 

Simplified Dinners has given me a tremendous amount of flexibility.  When I keep these things on hand, a whole bunch of options open up.  If I just decide the night before what type of meal I’m going to make, I can defrost meat or soak beans or whatever I need to do.  If I have to change my process at the last minute due to time constraints or other factors, I have the other ingredients I need to make it happen.

You can download a sample of Simplified Dinners at Simplified Pantry’s website.

Is your family gluten-free and/or dairy-free?  Try out the GFDF Edition of Simplified Dinners ($12.99).

Also available from Simplified PantryPaperless Home Organization ($3.99)

Simplified DinnersGFDF Simplified DinnersPaperless Home Organization

Remember:  through June 3, 2013, you can get 30% off any of these e-books, just use this code at checkout:  TOS2013

Schoolhouse Crew Banner, click to read more reviews
graphic disclosing that this product was received for free in order to faciliate this review


  1. Love the pictures! They look like they could have come out of a cookbook. Why do I never think to take pictures of my recipes? Can you share how you added the labels?

  2. Thanks, I'm glad you like them. ;)

    I pull them into My Memories Suite and add text and other things there, but you could use PicMonkey online or another graphics program.


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