Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Balance Weeknight 30 Minute Meals...

It’s important to me, and most people that I know, for meals during the week to be quick, simple and on the table within 30 minutes or less. Most of my family and friends have work, school, and baby schedules that are crazy; my best tip for us all would be plan ahead…

Planning is key, on a Sunday afternoon or any time that you have free, look through some cookbooks (or at food fashionista of course J) for some recipes. Think about the night of the week that you plan to cook and start with a goal. “I’m going to make dinner 4 out of the 7 night this week” is a good one to start with. When choosing recipes, look for the ones that are less complicated, don’t have an ingredient list of 30 items, don’t require overnight soaking or ‘set aside for 1 hour’, look for quick, simple, tasty, healthy, ideas and make them your own. Just because the recipe calls for one ingredient, doesn’t mean you can’t be creative and add something else or even change it around completely.

Make a shopping list of ingredients that you need. Make sure you have a well-stocked pantry, fridge and freezer (see list below for help). When you go to the supermarket, STICK to your list! Don’t go there hungry because then you are more likely to buy things you don’t need, are unhealthy, and will rack up your grocery bill.

When you get home from the grocery store, if you have time, do some prep; meaning wash the lettuce, chop up the carrots and celery (for soups or stews), freezer bag meats, etc, you get the idea…all of these things will save you time on a weeknight…

Mental Preparation…when you’re driving home from work or on the bus or train, say “ok, when I get home, I’m going to kick of my shoes and get going!” Put on some great music, dance and sing while your cooking. Cook with your spouse or your children; make it fun, not a chore!

Stocked Pantry, Fridge and Freezer

Other grains (quinoa, barley, etc)
Olive Oil
Vegetable Oil
Canned beans
Dried Lentils
Dried Spices (rosemary, oregano, garlic powder, onion powder, Cajun mix, Montreal steak seasoning)
Canned tomatoes
Chicken broth or bouillon cubes
Fresh herbs (Tip: Wrap fresh herbs in a damp paper towel and they last twice as long)
Rotisserie Chicken
Frozen vegetables
Frozen fruit
Frozen meats (chicken breast, flank steak, pork chops, etc)

Teriyaki Chicken Breast with Lots of Steamed Broccoli (15 minute meal)

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