Most of us know it’s important to get your fruits and veggies. I aim for 7-9 servings each day. What many of us don’t know is how to get THAT MANY fruits and veggies into your daily eating routine. That’s what this post is all about: six sneaky ways to include more fruits and veggies into your day. Continue reading Six ways to sneak more fruits and veggies into your day→
Sigh. It’s a weeknight. You’re tired. You’re hungry. You’re out of dinner ideas. Never fear! I have a quicky, easy weeknight meal for you to try. Today, I am going to introduce a meal that is versatile, quick, and easy to cook. The technique – “en papillote” – is one you can use over and over with a variety of ingredients. Continue reading Quick, easy weeknight meal: Baked Salmon en Papillote→
We’ve all been there. You come home after a long day and the last thing you want to do it cook. So, you begin thumbing through the same-old takeout menus for dinner.
What if that could be different? Instead, you start a pot of water boiling on the stove. You mosy over to the pantry for some essentials: onion, garlic, canned tomato, and whole grain pasta. While the water comes to a boil, you sauté chopped onion and minced garlic, then pour in canned tomatoes. You add whole grain pasta to the pot of boiling water. Voila! You have a homemade dinner filled with veggies and whole grains that you cooked from pantry essentials in 25 minutes (about the same amount of time it would have taken to order and pick up dinner).
Cooking at home can be:
1. Healthier (you have control over your ingredients)
2. Less expensive (many meals you can do in less than $4 a serving)
3. Faster (yes, faster!) than takeout
Don’t we all want to cook more at home? Cooking at home is so much easier (and do-able!) if you have some of these basic ingredients in your kitchen. Even if you are behind on grocery shopping, having a well-stocked pantry can save the day. Here are 32 pantry essentials I keep on hand for those nights when I haven’t had time to go to the grocery store.
(here are some ideas from my kitchen…I think some of these items are pretty to keep out of the pantry)
32 Pantry Essentials to Cook more at Home
Spices and Herbs (if you don’t have fresh herbs)
Legumes – I choose low-sodium canned or dried
7. black beans
8. garbanzo beans
9. pinto beans
Oil and Vinegar
10. olive oil
11. canola oil
12. sesame oil
13. balsamic vinegar
14. apple cider vinegar
Fruits and Vegetables
28. pineapple (canned, in own juice)
29. tomato (canned, low sodium)
BONUS! I also keep a number of fruits and veggies (and mixes) ready to go in my freezer. This way, I am getting a good serving of fruits and veggies available to me at all times. Here’s what I like to keep
• Greens. I add frozen spinach or kale as a side for any meal. And, I also incorporate into sauces and soups.
• Bell peppers. These get added to eggs, rice and beans, or chili.
• Asian veggies. There are many mixes out there. I personally love the mixes that have broccoli, snow peas, water chestnuts, mushrooms, carrots, and red bell peppers. Stir frying with fresh onion, garlic, and ginger is delicious with brown rice.
• Frozen strawberries. These tart and sweet fruits blend well into a smoothie with plain low-fat yogurt and orange juice. They are also a great topping to french toast or pancakes.
• Mixed berries. I love frozen mixed berries in my oatmeal, in a smoothie, or warmed as a dessert.
What pantry essentials do you keep stocked in your kitchen? Let me know in the comments!
It’s the holiday season – and that means gifts… to friends, to family, to co-workers, and to bosses. Personal gifts makes sense for friends and family, but what can you give folks at the office (while also not breaking the bank)? Here are a dozen office gifts for less than $10 each that may inspire your gift giving.
Let me tell you a secret: Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. Why? Because Thanksgiving means cooking, eating, and (in my opinion) no-fuss quality time with friends and family. Today, I’m going to talk about twelve dishes that will be on my table. And, I’d love to hear from you: What is on your Thanksgiving menu this year? Continue reading What’s on your Thanksgiving Menu?→
As Halloween draws near, many of us will be thinking about the sugar that kids and adults will be eating. It’s funny, because added sugar lurks in many foods all of the time. In this post, we’ll talk about sugar and five tips to cut down on it. Continue reading Five tips to cut down on added sugar→
Today, let’s talk about one strategy that can save you time in the kitchen without making you sacrifice a healthful, home cooked meal: The Roast Chicken. Roast chicken is my key to a better week. After I roast a chicken, I get about two cups of leftover chopped chicken, plus – I get a bonus because I use the bones to make homemade broth!
When I roast a chicken over the weekend, the leftovers from the roast are used in lunches and dinners for the week. This cuts my weekday cooking time, and also gives me ample opportunity to get more creative with my meals. For example, this week, I used leftover chicken in a casserole and in a chicken salad. Leftovers from this one roast chicken covered our lunches for the week and most of our dinners!
Here are ten ways to use leftover roast chicken:
1. Chicken casserole (I make mine with pesto, chicken stock, brown rice, frozen chopped broccoli and frozen artichokes)
2. Chicken enchiladas
3. Chicken salad (I make a no-mayo lemon poppyseed chicken salad or a Mediterranean Chicken Salad)
4. Chicken soup
5. Tortilla soup
6. Chicken stir fry
7. Chicken chili
8. Baked ziti with chicken
9. Chicken and dumplings
10. Pizza with chicken and pesto
Now, some of you may not want to roast a chicken, and instead opt to get a rotisserie chicken. While I think that is ok to do in a pinch, rotisserie chicken can come with a lot of extra sodium. Instead, I keep it simple. Prepping a roast chicken doesn’t take too much time, and you can do other things around the house while you wait for your chicken to roast.
Here’s how to cook a roast chicken:
1. Choose an organic chicken from the grocery (Why organic? see why by visiting my post about sustainable food).
2. Clean your sink and surrounding countertops using green cleaners.
3. Cut a small orange into quarters and place it next to the sink.
4. Fill a ramekin with a teaspoon each of black pepper, dried thyme and rosemary and place the mix next to the sink.
5. Put a roasting pan next to the sink too, and set your oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit.
6. Open the roast chicken packaging in the sink and let all the juices run down the drain.
7. Run water over and through your chicken. If there are giblets (these are the organs packed in the chicken cavity), take those out. I usually throw them away, but some people use it to make sauce or gravy.
8. Place your rinsed chicken on a roasting pan.
9. Fill the chicken cavity with slices of orange (lemon works well too!).
10. Sprinkle herbs on and in your chicken until the top, sides, and bottom of your chicken are covered.
11. Place your chicken in the preheated oven
12. Clean your sink and counter tops while the chicken is cooking.
13. After your chicken has cooked for an appropriate time (about 90 minutes – you can see when the chicken’s juices are running clear), use a meat thermometer to make sure the chicken has an internal temperature of at least 165 degrees fahrenheit. To do this, check the internal temperature in the innermost part of the thigh and wing and the thickest part of the breast. (see chicken from farm to table for more information about food safety and chicken)
14. Let your chicken rest for 10 minutes, carve, and then enjoy!
On this blog, I want to present creative ideas to make you more productive. And, one way to do that is to offer you strategies that will give you more time. If you want to eat healthfully on a budget, most of the time you have to cook at home. But, this takes up so much time! By roasting a chicken on the weekend, you can use the leftovers in many different ways to make delicious, healthful meals that won’t stretch your budget.
So tell us: How do you use leftover roast chicken?
Looking for healthy snack ideas? In this post, I highlight ten crunchy and colorful alternatives to chips and dip. Some of these ideas are classics (like peas and carrots), while others offer new flavors (like chocolate avocado dip!). All are yummy and will offer a fun, crunchy (and colorful!) alternative to chips and dip. Continue reading 10 crunchy and colorful alternatives to chips and dip→