When you cook more meals at home, not only do you tend to eat healthier, but you can also save time, money and calories. If you cook a meal and make a double or triple batch, you’ll have leftovers for lunches or another dinner. By cooking once and eating two or three times, you are being extremely efficient with your time, money and calories. It’s much easier to eat healthy when you’re the one selecting the ingredients and preparing the meals. I know it takes more time to plan and prepare yourself, but if you are looking to lose or maintain weight, feel better and save money, it’s definitely worth the effort. On the nights that I know we have other activities going on with the kids, the crockpot is a HUGE help. What nights can you plan to cook at home this week? Need dinner ideas? There are so many great websites for recipe ideas including:
• eMeals.com (a paid service that sends you 5 dinner recipes each week based on the dietary style you choose)
If life is just way too hectic, you can use services like Dream Dinners or Super Suppers where you go to their location and assemble your meals. You bring the assembled meals home and freeze them and use them as needed. You’ll spend 30-60 minutes at their studio and can make enough meals for a week or a month AND no cleanup. This option is super convenient! What one action step can you take this week to prepare more meals at home?
By cooking healthy delicious meals in under 20 minutes you will learn to expertly create menus that are simple and that both you and your family will enjoy! Since we’re going to eat hundreds of thousands of meals in this lifetime, we might as well get good at it, right?
It takes a relatively small investment of your time to get used to cooking. Once you make it a priority, it becomes a quick routine with huge rewards. When you cook for yourself and your family, you put love into the food and love into you. You start feeling better after a single meal. After a day, you will feel happier and healthier. From there, it just gets better – because when you cook simple food, cooking becomes simpler and your life becomes simpler too!
BATCH COOKING MEAL IDEAS
Batch cooking makes the most of the cooking time you do have in order to create a large portion of a particular dish and be able to enjoy the food in the coming weeks too. It goes hand in hand with make-and-freeze recipes as you portion out the batches and freeze them so you can just pull them out of the freezer, heat, and eat, any time you need to.
For batch cooking, you will need a range of plastic containers, freezer-proof labels, and a pen. Zippered food storage bags are also very useful.
Here are some foods that work well in batches.
Tomato sauce can be made Italian style for pizza and pasta, or Mexican style for tacos, enchiladas and more. It is just a question of what seasonings to use. Note: tomato sauce will stain your plastic containers, so oil them first and don’t reheat the sauce all the way in them. Use a bowl in the microwave or a saucepan. You can also use a small zippered storage bag.
Each time you make rice, make more than you need and save it in 1- or 2-cup portions as side dishes, stir-fries and so on. Just reheat in the microwave and serve.
Muffins, Cupcakes, and Cookies
If your family is on the go all the time, this is a great way to keep them well fed. You can make different styles of muffins for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. Get a muffin cookbook and you and the whole family can go on a tasty journey of exploration.
Cookies can be made in large batches and frozen to keep them at the peak of freshness. For muffins and cookies, freeze them in zippered food storage bags. Then unzip, take out what you need, re-close the bag, and get on with your busy day. Defrost in the microwave or take on the go. The food should defrost by the time you wish to eat it.
Make it on the stove or in a crockpot. Freeze into individual portions. Just add bread or a sandwich for a full meal. Heat in the microwave and add to a Thermos for a hot lunch on a cold day.
Stew works well in batches too. Portion into individual servings. Make the dumplings on the side and add one or two to the bowl.
Chili with or without meat is always a hearty meal. Add rice for a complete dinner in one bowl. Take it to work or school and heat it up in the microwave as a hot alternative to the usual sandwiches.
Casseroles can be made in large portions, then portioned up and frozen. Eat fresh while the meal is still warm. Then allow the casserole to cool completely before putting it in the plastic containers. Add cooked vegetables for a really filling lunch or dinner.
Cook up a big pot at the start of the week and use as snacks, protein in a salad, egg salad sandwiches and so on.
Meatballs go well with pasta, in a hero, and so on. Fry up a couple of pounds of your favorite recipe, cool, and freeze. Place in a zippered storage bag and take them out as needed.
Always make extra and freeze. This makes a tasty dinner with a side salad and some Italian bread.
Get a jump on all of your holiday cooking by roasting your pumpkins in the oven and scooping out the flesh. It is a lot cheaper than buying in the can. Use a 1- or 2-cup measure, place in a zippered storage bag, and flatten. Stack them up ready for all your holiday pies, cakes, muffins and more.
USING A TIMER
By using a timer, you get to know how long things take to cook. When you know how long something takes, you can
multitask in the kitchen or around the house and prepare a large amount of food in a small amount of time.
I believe that cooking doesn’t need to be complicated to be amazing.