The Meal Planner

I just love the Podleski sisters.  I fell in love with them on their TV show Eat, Shrink and Be Merry and have been cooking from their cookbooks ever since.  When their new cookbook came out in November, combining all the best recipes from their last 3 cookbooks, updating them so they weren't using out-dated "dieting" trends and giving us even more of what we loved from them before, I was sold.  I bought my dad the cookbook for his Christmas gift (secretly hoping he was doing the same for me :).  I was surprised to see that no one had reviewed this new cookbook yet, so I sent off an email to the sisters, hoping I could do just that for them.  And to my surprise....they responded!  And they said they would love to send me a copy of their cookbook!  A week later when I was laid out on the couch in the worst pain of my life battling kidney stones, a package showed up at my door.  My new cookbook was inside and it totally brightened my (pain-filled) day.  

I have loved testing out recipes from this book.  Of course, I had hoped to have reviewed this cookbook months ago, but passing kidney stones, being pregnant with baby number three, and working as a teacher full-time kind of dampened that thought.  Nonetheless, I'm stoked to share this cookbook with you now.  It's fabulous (as I suspected).

Any small beefs I had with their last cookbook was totally improved upon for this one: there are TONS of mouthwatering photographs to give you a visual as to what the finished dish should look like, it's laid out really nicely and well-organized and remember those cheesy punny recipe titles?  Yep still there.  But it wouldn't be a Podleski sisters cookbook without them!  What they did do that I love though, is put the description of the recipe underneath the title in much bigger font, so it's easy to see what the recipe is.  

For me, it all comes down to the taste of the food in the end.  So how did these recipes measure up?

Beef Noodle Doodle (pg 75) is an Asian beef noodle soup full of flavor and nice textures.  It cooked up quickly and gives you these great flavors reminiscent of beef pho on a busy weeknight.  Another soup recipe I tried (from the "Ladle Gaga" chapter no less), was Rome on the Range (pg 68) which delivered delicious mini meatballs in a roasted tomato and red pepper broth.  It was a great rich-tasting soup and a perfect use of my Farmer's Market veggies. 

The Nutcrocker (pg 152) was easy to throw in my slow cooker and was a family-pleasing meal of peanut chicken served up on rice.  All the ingredients were ones that I always have on hand like salsa, peanut butter, honey, soy sauce and orange juice and came together quickly in the morning before work.

Stick 'em Up! (pg 188) was another recipe I tried and I absolutely fell in love with these Lemon Basil Grilled Shrimp Skewers.  They are fantastically easy to throw all the marinade ingredients in a ziplock bag (like lemon juice, garlic, honey, balsamic vinegar, and fresh basil) and let them sit for an hour or so.  Once you thread them on skewers they take only minutes on the grill and they are done.  

Rice 'n' Easy Casserole (pg 260)  Can you tell my theme for choosing recipes?  Easy, easy, EASY!  What was great is that I didn't have to look very hard to find easy recipes that I could still make when I was tired from a long day teaching.  This Cheesy Broccoli, Cauliflower and Rice Casserole made a great side dish and potluck offering and of course was a cinch to throw together.  It tasted great and I came home with a clean casserole dish!

A friend of mine bought this cookbook after she read my review of Eat, Shrink and Be Merry, and so I've got to taste even more recipes because of her. At our last Community Group dinner she made Mom's Famous No-Peek Chicken (pg 150).  It is a Baked Chicken and Rice Casserole that she was able to triple and feed 20 people with almost no work involved!  We all loved the comforting dish and it's one that I will definitely make again.  At another get together, my friend brought cinnamon rolls with cream cheese drizzled all over the top.  As we were all devouring them and exclaiming how great they were, she informed me they were Rolls Royce (pg 292) and they were made with whole wheat flour, flax and much less butter and sugar than you would think.  Despite the whole grains they weren't heavy and they had wonderful flavor.  

All in all, I am loving The Looneyspoons Collection.  It's got more of the same great nutrition facts, food tidbits and comical humor as before, just with more pictures and (as always) awesome food. I definitely recommend this cookbook.  

Since I love it so much I would LOVE to giveaway a copy to one of you.  To win, just leave me a comment here and tell me: what is your favorite EASY recipe to make that is still healthy? The contest closes on July 4th, and I'll pick a winner at random and contact you via email, so make sure you have an email address in your comment.

P.S. This is my first giveaway!

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29 Responses
  1. Says:

    I love making ham and veggie frittata's. Perfect for lunch, or supper with a salad.

  2. ste Says:

    I love putting lemon slices on the grill and then putting a salmon filet on top. Then I sprinkle fresh rosemary, salt and pepper - about 25 minutes later I have a great supper!

  3. Says:

    Tuna salad made with yogurt, dill, parsley and green onions instead of loaded with mayo! Tastes great in a whole wheat pita with crunchy lettuce and cucumbers.

  4. slip4 Says:

    My go-to quick meal is fried rice. I make it with a ton of veggies and less rice so it seems pretty healthy. This sounds like a wonderful cookbook!

  5. I make an egg white omelet with Canadian bacon and low moisture cheese.

    msgb245 at gmail dot com

  6. carolyn Says:

    The easiest one I can think of is salmon fillets, sprinkled generously with lemon pepper, topped with sliced lemons. Delicious and healthy! serve with rice pilaf and a fresh salad :)

  7. Me Says:

    Pretty much any lean meat marinated and grilled with a salad.

  8. The H Family Says:
    This comment has been removed by the author.

  9. The H Family Says:

    I love anything in the crockpot. Probably my favorite and families fav is Saucy Chicken - basically chicken pieces cooked in BBQ sauce and then served over rice - yummo!!

  10. Unknown Says:

    I love making BBQ pulled pork or a salsa chicken over rice. Yum! Those recipes you reviewed sounded great! I definitely want to check out this cookbook.

  11. Kris Says:

    When my son was small, one of his all-time favorites was "chicken & broccoli burritos" - it's exactly what it sounds like. I brown some chunks of chicken breast, add garlic and a bunch of broccoli, and roll it all up in flour tortillas with a slice of cheese.

    He's get SO EXCITED whenever I bought broccoli! :)

    PS - email = darksideofthefridge AT gmail DOT com

  12. Amanda Costella Says:

    I love making Quinoa, it is so easy and quick and you can add pretty much anything to it. I have added avacado, tomatoes, corn and black beans for a filling healthy lunch!

  13. I love making veggie frittata's!

  14. Jamie Says:

    I love to make fruit smoothies, just throw fruit and yogurt in blender, and my kids think it's dessert!

  15. Katrina Says:

    we love making our own yogurt Popsicle...does that still count as a recipe?

  16. Anonymous Says:

    I love tortilla soup.. And. My version is kind of like dump soup... A can of each, diced tomatoes, chicken broth, fiesta corn, jar or salsa chopped olives if you like.. Some taco seasoning to taste and as many tortilla chips as I can handle.. My husband loves it with cheese too.. And I have done it with chicken added in... But it's not necessary :)

    Love the site !!


  17. gail Says:

    vegetarian spaghetti

  18. stacief Says:

    A big salad with a little bit of roasted chicken!

  19. Simone Says:

    I have a (Jamie Oliver) salmon tikka recipe that we really like - salmon coated in red curry paste and served with raita and toasty naan. So very good and quick.
    (fancysimone at gmail dot com)

  20. Amanda Says:

    My favorite recipe happens to be one of my easiest as well: Linguine Shrimp Scampi. Very few ingredients but maximum flavor. Love it!!

    travelgirlut at hotmail dot com

  21. Anonymous Says:

    Hey Kin...
    I have two favs- but I'll only enter one comment! ; )
    Love garden salad with a little cheddar and tuna on top.
    Or... Russian chicken in the slow cooker with rice. Super easy,simple and tastes amazing. Plus since I'm not the most experienced in the kitchen- it makes me look like I can actually cook! Ha!
    Ps. I saw this the other day and was flipping thru it at costco. If I don't win your draw...I'm asking for it for my ( birthday - which is coming soon!

  22. Says:

    I have a great recipe for vegetarian chili that features chickpeas, lots of yummy veggies and flavourful herbs and spices. Love Janet and Great's fun approach to healthy eating.

  23. Anonymous Says:

    my fav healthy easy meal is 5 cup salad:
    1 cup cooked wheatberriers
    1 cup cooked quinoi
    1 cup chopped peppers
    1 cup chopped carrots
    1 cup peas

    mix altogether and add light dressing- yummy

    i LOVE the looneyspoon girls and their books too!

  24. Anonymous Says:

    Chicken wraps with lots of veggies in it and snap peas on the side!

  25. Sheryl Says:

    Tried many of your recipes and we love them all! You make the kinds of things we like to eat.

    My favourite easy recipe is homemade broccoli soup -- basically a seasoned broccoli puree.

    rsfenrich at gmail dot com

  26. jo jo Says:

    a jeanne lemlin recipe with cous cous and veggies. it's low in calories (no meat), but filling and full of flavor!

  27. Nikki Says:

    Mediterranean Stew, a tomato and zucchini based vegetable stew. Once you get the veggies chopped, it's simple to throw together!

    frostytoes81 at hotmail dot com

  28. Unknown Says:

    I finally got my son to eat Salmon. Yeah!!!! I use a little olive oil and coat the salmon with panko breadcrumbs then bake it. So easy and so very delicious!! Eat it with a fresh salad so good!

  29. Anonymous Says:

    loved1ofgod at gmail dot com