Tips for quick healthy meals?


#1

Before we had Lily 7 months ago, I always said that we will need to eat extra good because she will eventually be eating what we are.


**Well, as anyone who reads the parenting forum knows, Lily has been a challenge and a half;) **


We actually eat worse now because we just don’t have the time or energy to prepare healthy meals all of the time. I don’t know what’s going to happen when hubby goes back to work!!!


Any tips for quick healthy meals and snacks?


Especially with my health issues, quick easy meals like “hamburger helper” or pasta dishes are no better for me than fast food so it’s easier to eat that.


**We bought a good supply of a variety of organic meats but just can’t find the time to cook them. For example, I had planned on making chicken breast and veggies tonight ut time got away from us (Lily’s naps got off kilter and her bedtime needs to be earlier) so I am throwing the chicken in the oven to bake so we can have it on salad tomorrow for lunch. So what are we eating for supper? Wendy’s:o **


When my mom makes supper she often makes extra and brings us some…but with my sister out of the house and my dad on the road (truck driver) she just doesn’t cook big meals often anymore.


I wish we could have a selection of healthy cooked meals in the freezer just ready to pop in the oven at a moment’s notice (or a chef in the family, lol).


Malia


#2

With cooking as my biggest hobby (and hopefully soon my career) I spend a lot of time watching food network. I have two recommendations for you:

foodnetwork.com/food/lf_qe_quick_fix_meals/

Quick fix meals is a show wherea majority of the ingredients are prepaired ahead (on a Saturday or when you have a little more time) and put into ‘kits’ to be heated/mixed and eaten throughout the week. They’ve all seemed pretty delicious to me. You get three meals for every prep time, and she just put out a cookbook and DVD.

and then there’s:

foodnetwork.com/food/show_tm/0,FOOD_9997,00.html

30 Minute Meals by Rachel Ray. She has several cookbooks and even though the way she talks and abbreviates things drives me NUTS, her food is all pretty good looking (though it can be a bit spicy sometimes, but spice is always adjustable).

In general, I’ve heard olive oil is healthier than vegetable, so when frying/sauteeing use olive oil. Butter is much easier for your body to digest than margarine. Vegetables and fruit just need a quick chop and rinse and are ready to eat. You can always do what my family does; bake three large meals on Saturday and freeze them (Lasagna, enchiladas, chicken pot pie, chicken casserole, sheperd’s pie and meatloaf seem to all work really well). Just heat 'em up when you want to eat.

Edit…Oops! Sorry, just read the last part where you wish for what I just said you could try…LoL! Sorry about that. The rest still stands though. Hey, move to California and I’ll cook for you…but I’m thinking that the food wouldn’t last en route to Canada. :stuck_out_tongue:


#3

Well recipe exchanges are my favorite way of discovering new meals, as well as www.allrecipes.com
Perhaps a quick, healthy meal recipe thread would give all of us some great ideas!


#4

Well, I’m still learning how to cook with a baby. My child loves to be held just about all the time, so cooking has been a challenge, but I have a few favorites that I can do if baby will tolerate the bouncer for a few minutes. I love to brown some stew beef with onions, garlic, cumin, and a little bit of chili powder and then let it cook in broth or water for a few hours. During the last 1/2 hour I add a bunch or two of greens and put some rice in the rice cooker. It’s really healthy and I barely have to do any work. I also make a quick stir-fry with chicken and a bag of frozen stir-fry veggies and some pre-made sauce. I have the Miserly Meals cookbook and have found their black bean burgers and salmon burgers to be very quick, except that I serve the black bean burgers on pita and I serve the salmon burgers with rice.

I also bought a mei tai carrier and I just put baby on my back when I want to cook more involved meals. I have some other ideas. PM me if you would like to hear them.


#5

I use this meal-prep service www.uprepit.com .

Here is a directory of similar places that might be near you.
easymealprep.com/main/direct01.php

Here is an article about the concept.
icsc.org/srch/sct/sct1105/retail_what_cooking.php

Cheaper and healthier than out to eat and takes the brains out of doing the cooking.

NOT cheaper than cooking yourself, I don’t care what they advertise.


#6

I have to agree with Nurse Joy. If you find yourself eating out a lot, you’re better off going to a meal prep place (both for cost and your health).

Other tips. When you do get a chance to cook something, make as much as is reasonable. Cook a big pot of brown rice until it is almost done, then pull out all but what you need, which you should finish cooking. You can cook large quantities of chicken or ground beef in a big pot over low to medium heat. Then separate into smaller portions and freeze. Also, used your crock pot (get one if you don’t have one). Most recipes have a low and high cooking option. Sometimes I get dinner started in the morning and set it on low, other days I cdon’t get around to it until mid afternoon, when high will get it done. (Don’t know how I would survive without my crock pot!)

Hope this helps.

MJ


#7

Early in the day, take your organic chicken and toss it in the crock pot, add a can of chicken or veggie broth (you can get organic prepared broth), cube some potatoes and carrots, add seasonings that you like - and let it cook til about 6 hours. You can mix it up, add a can of tomatoes, toss in mixed veg - you can use beef or lamb…

A pork loin with either simple seasonings or some terriyaki sauce can be baked in 30 minutes. That with some rice - yum!

Stir fry is a fantastic way to cook up your meat and veg quickly - you can have a big bowl of already prepared rice just sitting in the fridge to serve along side with many things.

Soups are super easy, potato and corn chowder?

Big fan here of the “Taste of Home” magazines - for Christmas MIL bought us their big cookbook and it is WONDERFUL. We have yet to cook anything that we don’t like from it!

Google “Taste of Home” and you will also be able to link to the sister magazines, “Quick Cooking” and “Light-n-Tasty”.


#8

Thank you! I had seen a similar thing featured on a breakfast television show when Lily was younger, but I was sooo tired that it all kind of blurred together and I never could remember the name of the place, lol.


It’s expensive, but might be worth it if we can fit it into the budget. It looks like it’s just over $20 per meal, but that’s for 4-6 servings (there are only two of us). Wouldn’t be able to afford it for all meals, but it would be handy to have some in the freezer for days like today!


And I like the “pick up” option so I wouldn’t have to try and find a few hours to go and prep…


malia


#9

I’m surprised you don’t have one at your mammoth mall, eh?

Actually the portions are pretty generous. Always leftovers.


#10

I definitely second MJ’s suggestion about a crock-pot. You can even start getting things together in it in the morning, put it in the fridge until you have time to add something else, as long as you have it all together by 1 or 2 in the afternoon, you can put the crock in the cooker part and set on high!

I have four crockpots so I can make various things in it, like when all I have time to do is prep some stew meat, I use my smallest pot with all the spices and whatever else I was going to use except the vegetables. Then when it is closer to meal time, I have rice all prepared in my fridge, heat it up in the mircorwave, cook a package of frozen or canned veggies and voila, dinner is done and I usually have left over meat for another meal.

Something else I have that sounds like such a one trick wonder is a rice cooker - I can cook as much as eight cups of rice at a time without watching over it! Great tool for the busy mommy :wink: .

Brenda V.


#11

I grill a LOT…
I always have a stash of low-fat meats in the freezer (chicken, beef, pork chops, fish), trim off any fat, season them up with some garlic salt and crushed pepper… and some olive oil… and grill (only takes 15-25 minutes on the grill depending on the meat)…

I also use the frozen veggie section a LOT… one of my current favorites is the Birdseye Steamfresh veggies… you put the entire bag in the microwave for 5 minutes and you have steamed veggies ready to go.

We cook a lot of rice too… lots of uncle bens whole grain wild rice or brown rice. My kids really like the wild rice because it has lots of flavor.

That’s a pretty standard meal for us… meat on the grill, rice, and steamed veggies… you can do a lot with those basic items.

HTH!


#12

Rachel Ray has several books on cooking 30 min meals that are healthy.

I love watching her show also on the Food Network. Go grab a couple of her books from the library and be inspired.


#13

Alot of good suggestions here. I will add my own twists. I find that the latest generation of steam in bag vegetables is a great way to get veggies prepared quickly (usually under 10 minutes in the microwave). I also find a grill pan to be very useful. As long as I remember to take the meat out of the freezer the night before dinner takes about 15 minutes. Put the meat on the grill pan, then put the vegetables in the microwave. 15 minutes later both will be done. And only one pan to clean :).


Bill


#14

I second the “stir-fry” idea. Most of the time it takes to stir-fry is prep time, and you can eliminate most of that by using the frozen, bagged vegetables (or fresh veggies that are available small or can be used whole, such as baby carrots, snow peas, or broccoli florets). You would only have to cut the meat up into small pieces, a task which goes very fast if you use a kitchen shears. As others have mentioned, you could pre-cook larger amounts of rice, and keep that handy in the fridge.

Stir-frying doesn’t require much oil, so it can be a very healthy way to eat. Stir-fry works very well for Italian flavor dishes, as well as Asian.


#15

As one of the above post suggested, crock pot! Crock pot cooking is great and quick. It’s amazing what great ideas and recipes you can try with the Crock pot. Nothing like sitting down at the end of a hectic day to a great meal that wasn’t any work at all!


#16

get a crock pot and learn to use it
cook your meats this way (organic and grass fed beef and free range chicken do much better with slow cooking anyhow) and freeze individual servings that just need to be zapped and served.
frozen veggies in a bag, take out as much as you want and steam in a microwave steamer. Use combinations so you just make one veg side but more of it.
make a large batch of rice and freeze in 1 cup portions, also thaws nicely
microwave baked potato,
or frozen hash brown (the kind with no added fat) the quick way–in a non-stick skillet with 3 T water, bring to a boil, lower heat to low-med until brown on one side, the flip, takes about 7 minutes depending if you have gas (tad longer for electric).
get canned or jar organic sauces, once they are open use what you need, freeze the leftovers (they go bad fast) in ice cube trays, then transfer the cubes to a freezer bag.

if you were thinking I use my microwave a lot you are right, I bought a good set of microwave cookware when we moved here, in 3 years I have not cleaned the oven because I don’t need to.

DD buys chicken breasts and puts each in a freezer zip bag with a marinade (she makes her own with vinegar, oil and herbs to cut down on salt because she swells like a sponge when she is pregnant). She puts a couple of these still in the bag in a bowl of water in the sink, by the time she has got my grandson settled, her coat off, assembled what she needs, they are thawed enough to cook, she uses a Geo Foreman grill for everything. She does the same with sirloin steak when it’s on sale, the 2-3 lb ones, and cuts it into 6 oz. pieces and marinates and freezes the same way.

She buys most of her veggies fresh, tosses them on a cookie sheet with olive oil, sprinkles with whatever herb she likes, or chopped garlic from a jar, and roasts while the meat is cooking and table being set. She cheats with instant mash potatoes or minute brown rice, but they don’t often have a starchy side dish, more often good crusty bread from bakery by her school. she can get dinner on in 15 minutes if DH sets the table and gets the baby in his high chair. If she has to cope with baby alone she will probably end up burning the food and ordering pizza.


#17

Slow cooker recipes:

recipes.tasteofhome.com/eRMS/Browse.aspx?pmcode=TOHSite&cat=560


#18

Thanks so far to everyone who has replied!


I really really wish i had become more proficient with my slow cooker BEFORE Lily arrived. Now I use it for just a few things that are guaranteed to turn out because the few new recipes I have tried either didn’t taste good or didn’t cook right.


Also, I know microwaves are convenient, but I don’t use mine for anything but the smallest job (like softening butter). I don’t like what it is doing to my food (altering the molecular structure) and I don’t like the taste.


I can hardly wait for the weather to warm up so hubby can grill!!! Spring and summer will be so much easier because I usually feeze my meats with a marinade and then hubby just pops them on the grill with some veggies and there’s supper. But it’s too cold now.


I had an indoor grill but it didn’t work very well so we sold it.


Malia


#19

Does anyone have a meatloaf recipe that doesn’t use breadcrumbs (or similar) or bottled sugar sauces like BBQ or ketchup?


Malia


#20

Mmmm, Malia, I make a wonderful meatloaf that doesn’t have any tomatos in it but it does use oats. Is that okay? That is a high fiber good for you food.

Hmm, ummm, I don’t have a recipe so I will try and give you my basic:

2 lbs. Ground Beef (93% fat free, leaner doesn’t work as well and, well, fatter is just gross to me)
1 egg
two good handfuls of Old Fashioned Rolled Oats (same amount of quick will work)
2 tablespoons jarred junks of garlic (yes, I use a lot)
1 teaspoon of sea salt
1/2-1 teaspoon Adolf’s meat tenderizer (no MSG)
1/4 cup (maybe more) Wal-Mart brand brown mustard
0-3 teaspoons ground chili (for me, I prefer local grown red chile)

Mix all together well, form into two loafs and bake for 1 to 1.5 hours at 350 F. Pop several potatoes in the oven before you mix the meatloaf. Steam some frozen veggies in the microwave (the only thing the microwave is doing is making the water molecules bounce faster causing the food to cook).

You will have enough meatloaf for two+ dinners and two+ lunches. It makes a relatively solid loaf that you can slice to make sandwiches with too.

Brenda V.


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