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You will like this book. More importantly, you will use this book. It is clever and smart and a tool to make your week easier.

Everybody eats. Every day. Well, most of us.

Suzi and I are foodies and we love to cook. But even we need a break from the kitchen. Trying to make a complete meal each and every night can just wear you down.

This book reduces that burden. It encourages you to cook once for the week, assemble an array of items, and then use them over the course of the week. Along the way, you’ll find these recipes are healthy, targeted to saving you money, and offering you a flotilla of combinations that ensure you won’t be bored. No, you are just going to be satisfied.

Author Sally O’Neil begins her book with basics of nutrition and planning. Then she lays out her scheme for exciting and healthy dinners. You do it in three steps:

  • Prepare protein like chicken, fish, tofu or eggs
  • Generate some side dishes [some familiar and some new for us]
  • Mix and match your protein with side ideas, on a plate dominated something fresh like a salad with one of her many vinaigrette recipes

The protein ideas range from the familiar to the new:

Salmon Gravlax

One Tray with Chicken Cooked Three Ways [barbecue, maple sesame and lemon + rosemary]

Chicken Meatloaf

Nut Butter Falafel

Lemon-Broiled Striped Bass

Asian Style Ground Turkey

Sweet Potatoes with Baked Eggs and Spinach

The side dishes offer a multitude of ideas, again some old friends and some unexpected:

DIY Muesli [she has almost 2,000 combinations for you!]

DIY Hummus [fresh is better and make with ingredients, not preservatives]

Zucchini Fritters

Sticky and Sugarless Caramelized Onions

Anchovy + Broccoli + Pear Soup [see, I told you unexpected]

Now, at mealtime, you can mix and match. If you made that Salmon Gravlax, then combo ideas for you include:

Salmon + Zucchini Fritters + Coconut Tzatziki Dressing + Pepper

Salmon + Oaty Seed Crackers + Goat Cheese + Pepper

Salmon + Pickled Onion + Chopped Pistachios + Sour Cream + Flax Waffles

These are new meal ideas, not vegetarian or vegan, but bearing those influences and suggesting that we can all eat healthier food — healthier dishes with the benefits of true pleasure. For many of us, something “new” connotes excitement. And pleasure.

This book sparkles with neat ideas besides the recipes. There are infographics on how to make items in variety. For example, there’s a roadmap for creating any of the 2,000 muesli ideas.

I always struggle with how to, quickly, make a homemade vinaigrette. There’s a chart here telling me I can start, not just with white vinegar but lemon juice, lime juice, red wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, balsamic vinegar, or sherry vinegar. And now the oil. Not just olive oil but perhaps avocado oil or walnut oil. Instead of just grabbing for white vinegar and olive oil, now I have the sense that I can make an awesome spectrum of flavors. Food boredom? Meal Prep Plan will banish boredom but give you joy, one combination at a time.