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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Not-quite-homecookin'

Recently, I did a post about using prepared meals and their place in a busy family's healthy diet.
Naturally, this prompted a guilt-trip that I wasn't doing enough cooking. I've since been trying to plan easily-cooked meals.


Some staples of this meal prep style:

  • Pre-cut, steam-in-the-bag fresh veggies
    •  I usually take these out of the bag, so that I can season them.
    • These generally have fairly long fridge lives, but if you need even longer, there are plenty of freezer versions.
  • Speaking of seasoning, I've come to rely heavily on pre-mixed seasonings, bottled salad dressings, etc
    • I used to insist on mixing my own spices, marinades, dressings.
    • Now I use lemon-pepper mix almost daily! I'm a big fan also of light salad dressings (Ken's and Newman's Own) - I use these for marinades and pasta toppings as well as for salads.
  • And speaking of salads, how about bagged salad?
    • I love it; I love it, and also I love it. 
    • They make some fancy everything included varieties if you're not even feeling like topping your own greens. 
  • What about meat? 
    • Lean cuts of steak grill up easily inside or out, same for pork chops. 
    • Fish can bake or broil in minutes. Add a little Parm and bread crumbs and top with cooking spray - wa-la! 
    • Dirty secret: I don't watch sodium much, so I use things like turkey kielbasa and prepped pork tenderloins.
Really the biggest lesson is that home-cooked meals don't have to be complicated, as long as you keep a loose definition of "home-cooked." Sure it might not tickle your Gourmet bone, but there's a unique creativity to making yummy meals in minutes.


Oh, and by the way, I stand by my occasional use of frozen meals. They just haven't been on sale lately!

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