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With her clever wit and wisdom, certified nutritional consultant (CNC), Leanne Ely, is bringing people back to the dinner tables each evening. Leanne has a simple philosophy, “Make it and they will come.” She is author of the Saving Dinner series; Leanne also dishes out recipes and advice with her syndicated newspaper column, The Dinner Diva.

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Saving Dinner
by Leanne Ely, Certified Nutrition Counselor

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Good food isn't a complex thing at all. We all have this notion that going out to a fancy dinner at a restaurant somewhere is how you get "good food." We think good food has to be away from home and cost big bucks.

That's simply not true. In essence, fancy expensive restaurants mostly cook simple wholesome foods... and their secret is they cook these things from scratch... no boxes or cans allowed.

We can do that too. Okay, so maybe we're not going to be making some of the fancier sauces that are so wonderful, but we can certainly make quality food, nearly restaurant quality food, at home. The foundation for this is the food itself.

When we start with the basics - produce, meat, poultry and fish, dairy, herbs and spices - we can do anything. There are a variety of ways to prepare these foods to suit your mood, the climate, the season and affordability as well as availability. And the best part about the basics, they're the least expensive stuff out there because having a food manufacturer or grocery store prepare it for you is expensive.

So this week when you think about what's for dinner, think in terms of the basics - the stuff with one word on their ingredient lists. From there, you can build a meal that's healthy, delicious and economical, too!

Try this delicious recipe - you're going to love it!

Herb Braised Chicken Thighs
Serves 6

3 tablespoons flour
3 teaspoons paprika
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
3/4 teaspoon black pepper
12 skinless chicken thighs
1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
2 cups (2-inch-thick) sliced carrot
2 large onions, cut into wedges
2 1/4 cups low sodium chicken broth
3/4 cup dry white wine
2 1/4 pounds small red potatoes, quartered

Combine first 6 ingredients (flour through pepper) in a large zip-top plastic bag. Add chicken; seal bag, shaking to coat.

Heat oil in a Dutch oven or large pot over medium heat. Add chicken and remaining flour mixture to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until lightly brown. Add carrot and onion; cook 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Add broth, wine, and potatoes; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 35 minutes or until chicken is done and vegetables are tender.

Per Serving: 390 Calories; 7g Fat; 35g Protein; 43g Carbohydrate; 5g Dietary Fiber; 107mg Cholesterol; 866mg Sodium. Exchanges: 2 Grain(Starch); 4 Lean Meat; 1 1/2 Vegetable; 1/2 Fat. Points: 8

SERVING SUGGESTIONS: Serve with a great big spinach salad with some thin sliced red onion, dried cranberries and chopped walnuts tossed with an easy vinaigrette, yum!!

Leanne Ely is a New York Times bestselling author of Body Clutter and the Saving Dinner series. The Dinner Diva syndicated newspaper column appears in 250 newspapers nationwide. Learn how to cook great and save significant money with the Dinner Diva’s menus, recipes and shopping lists at www.SavingDinner.com.

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