Bare Minimum Dinners

Bare Minimum Dinners cookbook cover

Bare Minimum Dinners

I’m so excited to share that my new cookbook Bare Minimum Dinners will be published September 7, 2021, is now available for pre-sale, AND I have a special gift for anyone who pre-buys (keep on reading!).

But, first, let me explain my mission with this book. In my nearly 10 years as a food editor and cookbook writer, I’ve spent a lot of my time trying to convince people to do more in the kitchen—to meal prep on the weekends, to double dinner recipes for future leftovers, to make homemade pantry staples that would elevate even the simplest dinners—all in the name of more home cooking, which I believe in with all of my heart. I am so passionate about the importance of home-cooked meals that I have written three books about cooking for babies and young children.

But, as my life got busier, my kid got older, our schedules got more hectic (and then less hectic but more cooking-intensive thanks to a global pandemic), I realized that the secret to cooking more is actually to do less: to pare back, to embrace some store-bought shortcuts, to eliminate fuss, and, in the process, extra dirty dishes. When cooking dinner becomes less stressful, it’s easier to close the Seamless or Uber Eats app.
And that’s the whole idea behind Bare Minimum Dinners, less fuss and more delicious dinners.

The book’s 100+ recipes are divided into five chapters, to address virtually every dinnertime pain point:

  • Bare Minimum Time – Recipes prepared in 30 minutes or less, including ingredient prep time
  • Bare Minimum Ingredients – Recipes with 7 ingredients or less, including salt and olive oil!
  • Bare Minimum Clean-Up – Recipes made in one pot or pan
  • Bare Minimum Hands-On Time – Recipes made in the slow cooker or Instant Pot
  • Bare Minimum Sides – Easy ways to round out a meal

Some of my favorite recipes include the Fish Stick Tacos you see on the book cover, Slow Cooker Deep Dish Pizza, Broccoli and Shrimp Orzo, Spicy Sloppy Joes, Crispy Chicken Salad, and Cacio e Pepe Mac ‘n’ Cheese (sooo easy and good). I also share produce washing and storage tips, advice for reducing food waste, meal planning strategies, ingredient swaps, and my favorite cooking tools and pantry essentials that will help you get dinner on the table at a moment’s notice.

Why You Should Pre-Order! If you’re interested in getting your hands on this book (and you should be! I promise you won’t be disappointed), please consider pre-ordering it. Pre-orders are very important for a book’s success; they signal to retailers that there is strong interest for a particular book. Plus, anyone who pre-orders will be invited to a Zoom cooking class with me the week of the book’s publication! I’ll show you how to get a crowd-pleasing dinner on the table in real time, and share my favorite supermarket shortcuts and Ingredient All-Stars that can elevate almost any dish with practically zero effort. To get access to this special event, pre-order the book and email me your receipt to I’ll send you a Zoom link as we get closer to the class.

How to Pre-Order Bare Minimum Dinners is available to pre-order right now on AmazonTarget, and If you are so inclined, though, I’d encourage you to order from your favorite local independent bookstore. Or, if you don’t have one, you can pre-order from mine, Books Are Magic (which will ship the book right to your door, just like Amazon!). Independent bookstores are, well, magic, and I love the idea of all of us keeping these gems thriving together. Here are those links:

In the meantime, stay tuned for more sneak peeks inside the book and more easy dinner inspiration. I think you’ll agree that doing the bare minimum can be just the right amount.

Jenna Helwig