We’ve begun our fall series of classes and are switching into high gear here at Cooking Matters. This means less time in the office and more time out in the field. It also means work days that last longer than the normal 9-5. I do get to eat during our classes that last from 6-8 but it’s often not enough to constitute as dinner. When I get home after a class, I want something filling, quick and nutritious. Quick and healthy meals are emphasized in our classes because we want to show that home cooking can indeed be as quick as going to a fast food restaurant. Not to mention, cooking at home also saves money as we saw in the analysis I posted a few weeks ago. This is a topic of great interest to our students as many have families, jobs and other responsibilities that take up much of their time. Many of the recipes that we have in our cook book take less than 30 minutes to make or have a longer cooking time during which other responsibilities can be attended to. My favorite meal to make is a quick stir fry- I can add whatever vegetables I have in my fridge, a quick cooking protein, and heat up some of the cooked whole grain I have. Toss it all together and you have a well balanced, delicious and quick meal. Though stir fry is a great meal, it’s not the only thing that can be made in a pinch. Here are a few suggestions to help you make quick and healthy meals for you and your family:
- Make a large batch of a recipe when you have extra time and freeze half for a busy day later in the week
- Keep essentials like cooked brown rice, beans, and proteins in your fridge. Pre cut vegetables that can be easily thrown into a salad, stir fry or frittata.
- Think of eating breakfast for dinner- a quick egg scramble or omelet with some vegetables makes a well balanced meal in just a few minutes
- Use pre cut, frozen vegetables for a variety of meals
- Top whole wheat/ whole grain pasta with a tomato sauce that’s been pumped up with extra vegetables and a lean protein
- Make sure to keep kitchen staples on hand- whole grains, canned beans, canned tuna, milk, eggs, peanut butter, etc.
Here is a quick recipe from our Cooking Matters curriculum:
Tex- Mex Skillet
Serves 6, ¾ cup filling and 1 tortilla per serving
2 cloves garlic
1 (12 oz.) can corn kernels, no salt added
1 (15.5 oz.) can black beans
2 ounces low-fat cheddar cheese
1 pound lean ground beef
1 (12 oz.) jar salsa
½ cup water
2 tsp. Reduced sodium taco seasoning mix
6 (6 inch) whole wheat flour tortillas
- Peel and mince the garlic.
- Drain and rinse canned corn and beans in a colander.
- Grate cheddar cheese.
- In a large skillet, cook meat and garlic over medium-high heat until meat is lightly browned. Drain to remove fat.
- Stir in corn, beans, salsa, water and taco seasoning mix.
- Bring mixture to a boil.
- Lower heat, cover and simmer fro 10 minutes or until most of the liquid is gone.
- Divide the mixture evenly between 6 tortillas, top with grated cheese, roll up and serve.
- Substitute any type of cooked beans for black beans.
- Substitute ground pork, chicken or turkey for the ground beef.
- Make your own taco seasoning to decrease the sodium in this recipe. Combine 1 teaspoon chili powder, ½ teaspoon, ¼ teaspoon salt and pepper.
- Recipe can be made, depending on the heat level of the salsa that’s used.
- Top with rinsed and chopped tomatoes, lettuce, green onions or low fat sour cream, if desired.