Tag Archives: healthy meals

What’s for Dinner?

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For some of you, I know that’s a dreaded question – especially in the middle of the week. And, that’s totally understandable! Sometimes you simply find yourself in a lets-just-order-takeout rut. When you come home after a long day, the last thing you want to do is cook!

Never fear. You can make life easier by doing a little prep on the weekends to figure out a couple of healthy meals that will give you a delicious and well-planned answer throughout the week to the question: what’s for dinner?

Here are five steps to help you answer the question: What’s for dinner

1. Make sure you have some basic ingredients on hand for dinner.

Check out my post about pantry essentials to help you cook more at home. Keep those items stocked in your kitchen so that weekdays are spent cooking rather than shopping (followed by cooking).

2. Choose two “compass” ingredients for dinner.

These two ingredients you will use to set the direction for your meal planning. There are a couple of ways to decide on your compass ingredients:
• Take a quick look at your pantry, fridge, and freezer. Which ingredients would you like to incorporate into your meals this week? For example, this week I found a couple of cans of garbanzo beans that became one of my two compass ingredients.
•If you head to the grocery store, try to find what’s on sale. For example, chicken thighs were on sale this week, so they became my second compass ingredient.

3. Choose two different dinner recipes that will stem from your compass ingredients.

You can do this a number of ways:
•Look ahead to your schedule for the week and figure out if there’s an evening that gives you 30-40 minutes to cook. If you have that time, find a recipe with your compass ingredient that takes that time. If you DON’T have the time, choose a slow cooker recipe to have ready when you walk in the door instead. For example, I made chicken thighs in the slow cooker for my mid-week meal this week.
• Identify other ingredients you might have on hand that could complement your compass ingredients. Do a web search for both of those ingredients. For example, I had extra carrots on hand as well as garbanzo beans. So, I found a recipe for garbanzo beans and greens that included both of those ingredients.

4. Next, determine how you will use the dinner leftovers from each recipe.

If you can transform one meal into another with minimal effort, you can get two meals out of one original recipe! For example, I served the chickpea recipe with farro one night, and then the chickpea recipe with whole grain tortillas the next night. AND for my chicken thighs, I served chicken with roasted zucchini on the side one night, and then the next night I served it with a green salad.

5. Pick one night to take it easy at dinner.

Now that you have four meals planned, take it easy for your fifth meal. You can keep it simple by serving whole grain pasta with jarred sauce (make it low sodium and no sugar), cooking breakfast for dinner, making sandwiches, or simply warming up a bulk meal you have in your freezer.

How do you answer the question: What’s for dinner? Let me know in the comments!

What's for dinner?

© 2017 Caitlin W Howe, LLC
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Six ways to sneak more fruits and veggies into your day

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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

© 2017 Caitlin W Howe, LLC
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Quick, easy weeknight meal: Baked Salmon en Papillote

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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

© 2017 Caitlin W Howe, LLC
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The postings on this site are my own (unless otherwise stated) and don't necessarily represent any other organization's positions, strategies or opinions. Thanks!

Seven Ideas for a Healthy Mother’s Day Brunch

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Happy Mother’s Day! Toast to mom’s health this Mother’s Day with delicious recipes from across the web. Continue reading Seven Ideas for a Healthy Mother’s Day Brunch

© 2017 Caitlin W Howe, LLC
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The postings on this site are my own (unless otherwise stated) and don't necessarily represent any other organization's positions, strategies or opinions. Thanks!

32 Pantry Essentials to Help you Cook more at Home

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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.

Pantry essentials examples
(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)
1. oregano
2. cinnamon
3. rosemary
4. thyme
5. cumin

Legumes – I choose low-sodium canned or dried
6. lentils
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

Condiments
15. mustard
16. reduced-sodium soy sauce

Grains
17. whole wheat flour
18. brown rice
19. quinoa
20. popcorn kernels
21. oatmeal
22. whole grain pasta

Nuts and Seeds
23. walnuts
24. almonds
25. pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
26. flax seeds

Fruits and Vegetables
27. raisins
28. pineapple (canned, in own juice)
29. tomato (canned, low sodium)
30. onion
31. garlic
32. ginger

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!

© 2017 Caitlin W Howe, LLC
Manners matter here! Not sure whether your comment is irrelevant, impolite, or disrespectful? Read my commenting rules Commenting Rules

The postings on this site are my own (unless otherwise stated) and don't necessarily represent any other organization's positions, strategies or opinions. Thanks!

Comfort food for a Chilly Winter’s Day: Eggs in Marinara

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For the top half of the US this week, snow is on the ground and a chill is in the air. Eggs in Marinara (RED sauce in honor of American Heart Month) will warm your soul and your tummy. It’s my kind of comfort food to enjoy on a chilly weekend winter morning (or a stormy winter evening!). It’s full of bright veggies and packs a powerful protein punch to boot.
Continue reading Comfort food for a Chilly Winter’s Day: Eggs in Marinara

© 2017 Caitlin W Howe, LLC
Manners matter here! Not sure whether your comment is irrelevant, impolite, or disrespectful? Read my commenting rules Commenting Rules

The postings on this site are my own (unless otherwise stated) and don't necessarily represent any other organization's positions, strategies or opinions. Thanks!

Meatless Monday: Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers

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Have you heard of Meatless Monday? It’s a movement that encourages all of us (yes that means you, meat eaters!) to eat a vegetarian meal on Mondays.

This week, I am offering up a meatless meal that is warm, flavorful, and satisfying. Continue reading Meatless Monday: Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers

© 2017 Caitlin W Howe, LLC
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The postings on this site are my own (unless otherwise stated) and don't necessarily represent any other organization's positions, strategies or opinions. Thanks!

Easy Grilled Veggies

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Easy Grilled Veggies: How to make Grilled Shishito Peppers

Why grilled veggies?

It’s summertime, and grilling out is a wonderful way to enjoy getting outside, while eating fresh fruits and veggies.
Continue reading Easy Grilled Veggies

© 2017 Caitlin W Howe, LLC
Manners matter here! Not sure whether your comment is irrelevant, impolite, or disrespectful? Read my commenting rules Commenting Rules

The postings on this site are my own (unless otherwise stated) and don't necessarily represent any other organization's positions, strategies or opinions. Thanks!

How to cook Healthy: 10 easy tips to making a normal recipe healthier

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If you know me, you know that I make a lot of my meals at home. And here’s a secret: I modify recipes to match my food philosophy. Today, I’m going to talk about how I make my meals healthy, even when I work from a recipe. Here are 10 tips on how to cook healthier:

Continue reading How to cook Healthy: 10 easy tips to making a normal recipe healthier

© 2017 Caitlin W Howe, LLC
Manners matter here! Not sure whether your comment is irrelevant, impolite, or disrespectful? Read my commenting rules Commenting Rules

The postings on this site are my own (unless otherwise stated) and don't necessarily represent any other organization's positions, strategies or opinions. Thanks!

Simple Tips for Weekday Lunch Preparation

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This week, I wanted to give you a little glimpse into my weekday lunch preparation. Hopefully some of the creative shortcuts can be helpful for you – and this post will show you how to make weekday lunch preparation easy.

Continue reading Simple Tips for Weekday Lunch Preparation

© 2017 Caitlin W Howe, LLC
Manners matter here! Not sure whether your comment is irrelevant, impolite, or disrespectful? Read my commenting rules Commenting Rules

The postings on this site are my own (unless otherwise stated) and don't necessarily represent any other organization's positions, strategies or opinions. Thanks!