You know how you try and make almost everything from scratch but sometimes you could just use a little help. Yet you’re afraid to use prepared foods because they are generally filled with preservatives and chemical’s. Well, I feel that way too at times so I have come up with some short cuts that are not only quick but on the healthy side.
I enjoy watching food shows just like many of you it inspires me to get creative and I do. But when I watch shows about quick meal ideas I get discouraged because they always seem to go back to using unhealthy items as shortcuts.
The best experts in the field of natural nutrition say to shop on the outside aisles of the grocery store and for good reason because that is where the real food is. The center of the store is where all the bad prepared foods are. But when you’re a working parent that gets home at six to a house full of hungry people sometimes you just need a helping hand to get dinner on the table fast.
So here are some tricks that will help you get dinner done fast and healthy.
- Always keep organic soup in your pantry (I say organic because it’s important, other soups are full of sodium, fillers, thickeners, and preservatives) Good choices are tomato, butternut, cream of mushroom and cream of chicken. These are great to turn vegetables and meat into a casserole or to add to a leftover soup to thicken it and make it creamy or to use as a base for a stew or a soup. One of our favorite quick meals is Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato soup with Three Cheese Grilled Cheese Sandwiches. I always have this favorite soup (Pacific brand) on hand.
- Make sure you have beans in your pantry organic canned beans. There are so many reasons to have beans in your pantry I can’t even tell you all of them. Beans are great sources of fiber and nutrition They can be added to soups, stews, casseroles, mixed in with greens and ground meats for a greens and beans dish. You can mash them and turn them into a dip or spread. They are great with eggs for breakfast. And easy soup is made with black beans and prepared salsa then topped with shredded cheese. Serve it over greens with blue corn chips, sour cream, and avocado.
- Make sure you have two to three varieties of canned organic tomatoes. Tomatoes in a jar are better if you can find them. You can also include a jar of a good organic or natural chunky tomato sauce, vodka sauce, puttanesca sauce or other varieties that you like. Pre-make pasta the day before, better yet, keep some in the fridge for it’s many uses. Make a dish with layers of pasta, sauce and cheese (throw in chopped greens if you have them) end it with sauce and cheese, bake 30-40 minutes in 350 degree oven and serve with a salad. Will be bubbly and hot when done.
- Quick little time saving tips:
- Shop big and freeze – buy extra of the things you use all the time then prep them and freeze for quick meal nights. Same goes for making extra of your favorites and freezing the extra for later.
- Pick a day to stock your freezer – pull out that food processor and chop up lots of veggies. Make a mirepoix or Holy Trinity of bell peppers, onion and celery, divide it up into small bags and freeze.
- I like to chop all the fixings for fresh salsa and freeze it. Then when I need it I thaw it and use it as is or add it to dishes for a kick of flavor.
- Make a mixture of large chopped zucchini, yellow squash, onions, tomatoes and peppers. Season it well and freeze in freezer bags. On a busy night pair it with chicken or uncured sausage chunks, top with cheese or not and bake.
- Something I picked up from watching one of those food shows…when freezing food in bags use the same tray each time to keep the bag flat then all your bags will lay flat and take up less space.