A New Way to Dinner—Your Meal-Planning Playbook—is Finally Here!

October 18, 2016

One of the things we hear most often from our friends and our community is that they want to eat home cooked dinners but can't figure out how to consistently pull this off with their busy lives.

We get it. You might think that since food is our business, cooking dinners every night would be a given. Alas, it's not. Running our business is intense. We're also parents, and that keeps us busy, too. It's rare that we're home before 7 and it's frequent that we're out at events on weeknights.

The biggest obstacle to eating well during the week isn’t the cooking—it’s the organizing.
Amanda and Merrill

But serving good food to our families is incredibly important to us and critical to our happiness. So we figured out a way to keep up our busy schedules while making sure we got great dinners on the table. After years of trial and error, we figured out that if we want to eat well, we need to plan ahead and do the bulk of our cooking over the weekend.

We arrived at the same place via different paths. Amanda found inspiration and order by diving back into recipes, which she’d abandoned in favor of a more off-the-cuff style of cooking when her children were small. Merrill hadn’t really pivoted away from recipes as much, but as her family grew she began looking to a different sort of recipe—one that could bear the burden of being stretched and tweaked to adapt to different seasons, ingredients, yields, and cooking methods.

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We both began preparing several recipes each weekend and then weaving together a full week of menus from our spoils—all with an eye toward variety and efficiency. 

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Top Comment:
“Thanks so much for putting together what I know is going to be a great resource! - Jenn B”
— jenniebgood

More: Amanda and Merrill's go-to gear for make-ahead meals.

Merrill kept loose notes while Amanda opted for meticulously handwritten weekly menus and Sunday cooking plans (she’s a Virgo). We’d talk to each other about what we were cooking and trade tips and recipes. Soon, we could see ourselves influencing each other.

Amanda's hand-written plans (with her daughter's doodles). Photo by James Ransom

One day it occurred to us that there was a coherent worldview on dinner planning arising from our complex lives. We had finally found the book we'd been wanting to write together for so long. Because it was a topic we cared about deeply, and because so many other people struggle with the same challenge. The book is called A New Way to Dinner, and it's out today.

The biggest obstacle to eating well during the week isn’t the cooking—it’s the organizing. That's why we created a book with a detailed roadmap, from seasonal menus to shopping lists to the tips you need to pull the dinners together each night.

Here's an example of how base dishes prepared on the weekend can morph into a week's meals:

This new way to dinner will change the flow of your weeks and ease the pressures in your life. You’ll banish that nagging anxiety about what to put together for dinner after work. You’ll have more time with the people you love. You’ll sit down to dinners that are varied and good for you. You’ll save money on groceries and waste less food. You’ll become faster, better and more focused in the kitchen. And we’ll be with you ever step of the way. 

Now let’s get out there and conquer dinner together!

 —Amanda and Merrill

Snag your signed copy of A New Way to Dinner here in the Food52 Shop!

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A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).

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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Rhonda35
  • anotherfoodieblogger
  • Barbara Tracy
    Barbara Tracy
  • jenniebgood
  • Amanda Hesser
    Amanda Hesser
Food52 (we cook 52 weeks a year, get it?) is a food and home brand, here to help you eat thoughtfully and live joyfully.


Rhonda35 October 21, 2016
Very excited about the book! Congratulations, Amanda and Merrill!!!!
anotherfoodieblogger October 19, 2016
I have the same dilemma as others. I never plan ahead, and my leftovers are never thought out. I get lucky sometimes and end up with a big batch of something that ends up being versatile for new meals, but that part is never planned. I hope to get this cook book for my birthday next month!
Barbara T. October 18, 2016
this is exactly what I have been looking for! I would like to do this plan ahead thing but need help setting it up - and how to cook the meals
Amanda H. October 19, 2016
Great -- we hope it proves helpful!
jenniebgood October 18, 2016
Congrats Amanda & Merrill! This is at the top of my Chanukah/x-mas list, but I'm not sure I can wait until then! Thanks so much for putting together what I know is going to be a great resource! - Jenn B
Amanda H. October 18, 2016
Thanks Jenn!