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Home Cooking for Health

We had a taste of cooler temperatures and that sent me into soup mode. I strive to eat seasonally as much as possible, not only eating the fruits and vegetables that are seasonal but also the types of foods I eat. In the spring and summer, I’m happy to have salad for lunch and dinner. As fall approaches, my thoughts turn toward soups, roasted meats and vegetables. I look forward to having my family come over on a Sunday for a cozy meal together. It doesn’t have to be fancy and leftovers also provide creative meals during the week.

Here are some tips for making delicious and healthy meals in any season:

  • Less is more. Less in your pantry lets you see exactly what you have. Keeping your pantry over stocked with items you only use once in a great while takes up valuable space. Having too many options can lead to waste or overeating. Write a list of foods you will most likely cook and eat and make sure you have those staples on hand. Examples: Quinoa, beans, tomato sauce, chia seeds, nuts and seeds, nut butters, lentils, spices and herbs that you love.

  • Take advantage of sales. Every time I walk through the grocery store I pass the butcher counter to see what's on sale. Steak, chicken, beef stew meat and ground beef can go in the freezer to be made into delicious dinners. For my Chicken Fajita Bowl recipe, I usually buy two bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts. However, this week whole chicken was on sale for $.99 a pound. I popped it in the slow cooker and shredded when done and my fajita bowls were better than ever. Extra cooked meat went into the freezer for dinner next week. Hint: When I buy meat on sale and put it in the freezer, I post on a magnetized notepad on the side of the refrigerator, what I bought, what date and how much. This saves a ton of time and sometimes serves as inspiration of what to make.

  • Get to love creating recipes. Yesterday I made the most delicious lentil soup. Lentil soup is full of fiber, protein, B6, folate, magnesium and iron. Lentils are inexpensive and can be made into stews, soups and salads. A hearty lentil salad travels well for lunch on the go. Google search a lentil soup or salad recipe, look it over and think of adding in vegetables, herbs and spices that you love. Get creative and make it your own. Cooking can be relaxing, intuitive, money saving and more healthful than ordering out. Try this with other staples too. The more you practice the easier it gets.

  • Make a schedule. If life is really busy during the week and you dread coming home only to ask, “what are we going to have for dinner?” you may do better on a weekly meal schedule or rotation. Having a crockpot recipe and ingredients ready to go on a Monday morning can be a lifesaver on Monday evening. I’ll get the crockpot out on Sunday, wash and cut up whatever I can and then just take a few minutes on Monday morning to put it all together. Planning ahead can give you leftovers for creative new meals. Or roasting extra salmon for dinner can give you what you need for salmon cakes or salmon salad nicoise for the next day. Never underestimate the power of eggs. An egg and veggie scramble can be a quick and light dinner or try my Crustless Quiche Recipe in my free community. This can be made ahead of time and just warmed up with a salad. A favorite tomato sauce with a little meat and lots of veggies can top a quinoa pasta or spaghetti squash for a quick meal.If you want to make individual sized meals for lunches out or dinner on your own, making a batch of your favorite soup or stew then dividing into individual sized glass containers with lids makes for easy reheating and washing.

Home cooking can be a creative outlet and a stress reducer. Check out Harvard Health’s Cooking at home is better for your health. Making your own meals saves you money, time and gives you the control of what you’re feeding your body. Click Here to join my free community and find more recipes and tips under Resources.

I’d love to hear your favorite recipes or if there’s a recipe you’d like me to create and share.

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