Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The Family Dinner: Quick and Easy

Everyone enjoys homemade meals, but few of us have the time to devote to home-cooking. Preparing your own food allows you better control over the quality of ingredients that go into each meal. Cooking at home gives you the option of selecting high-quality fresh organic ingredients for you and your family. Takeout and pre-package meals are generally much higher in fat, salt, and calories than their distant-relative: the old-fashioned home-cooked meal.

So, put on a little music, do a little planning, and get in the habit of cooking at home! Here are few tips to get you started:

  • Invest in a slow cooker. This is fabulous piece of equipment for busy families. You can prepare your main dish in the morning and come home to a delicious, ready-to-eat meal.

  • Buy a few cookbooks that focus on simpler cooking techniques, such as 30-minute meals, slow cooker recipes, or five ingredients or less. These types of books are geared toward getting meals on the table quickly and easily. Look for books that offer shortcuts, prewritten shipping lists, and menu ideas.

  • Plan your menus and make a grocery list. These two steps require finding spare time, but they will save it in the long run.

  • Buy prewashed veggies in the produce section of stores. The clean and prep is often the most time-consuming part of cooking.

  • Buy “no cook” items like apples, pears, avocadoes, tomatoes. A fruit plate or veggie salad makes a terrific side dish.

  • Make extra for leftovers—leftovers make great lunches and snacks. If you’re making a family favorite, double the recipe and freeze a portion for next week.

  • Set aside time on the weekends to make foods in advance and freeze them. Connect with a friend, double the recipes, and split up the meals for both families.

  • Share the burden. Team up with a friend and have a family dinner at their house one night and switch to your house on another. For a different twist on the same concept, divide up the menu between families and share the work.

  • Don’t schedule your kids’ day out so heavily that it intrudes on time to prepare dinner. Instead invite the kids into the kitchen and teach them a few things about cooking — it’s a life skill that they will certainly thank you for some day!

  • Keep it simple. There is no need to strive for gourmet every day. It is often the simpler dishes that have the best flavors too.

Aside from having the benefit of knowing that fresh, organic ingredients are going into your meals, you will spend valuable time in the kitchen and around the table with your family—even if it is quick and easy!

Cheryl Tallman and Joan Ahlers are sisters, the mothers of five children and founders of Fresh Baby. Visit them at www.FreshBaby.com and subscribe to their Fresh Ideas newsletter. Fresh Baby Baby Food Kits and other products are available at many fine specialty stores and national chains including Target, Wild Oats, and Whole Foods Markets.


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all that matters said...

nice mouthwatering recipe here. yuuummmm.... yumm... thanks and hope you keep it up. pls.

here may you find my share useful.
Organic food for baby

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mkdude said...

I see pomegranate is included in your recipes. There's a great article on the benefits of pomegranate at Organic Connections magazine: http://bit.ly/zRKoz

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Organic-Made-Easy.Com said...

Great Tips! Here's a few more..

1. You can take leftover vegetables etc. and combine them into quick soups the day after the meal. This is a fast recipe that ensures no expensive organic produce is going to waste.

2. Frozen leftover can be turned into soup as well.

3. Leftover veggies can be dehydrated with seasonings overnight or go into the broiler for a faster snack.. Saves money.

4. Raw food recipes can be used to turn extra vegetable matter into quick snacks that are extremely low in calories.

..Examples are eggplant chips, zucchini sushi rolls and raw crackers. Some of the simplest recipes (with fewer ingredients) can be found on living-foods.com

5. Add a salsa made of fresh veggies to any of the above options and you have a great appetizer from yesterday's kitchen scraps.

6. It's good to plan well ahead. But, a lot of people save more money by going to the market, seeing what's in season (aka affordable), and then doing their planning after purchase.

..This way you're not stuck to a list which may have items marked extremely high in price. And, you can still make a meal plan that saves prep time. You'll just make your plan after you buy.

Hope that Helps

healthtec said...

Nice and healthy dinner,and easy to make it too.Good sharing here...it is very good to live healthy and help others live in the similar lifestyle.


organic55 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
organic55 said...

Thanks for sharing. I especially like your thought on “keeping it simple” we all like a big dinner from time to time, but a simple dish that does not take too long to prepare can be enjoyed just as much. We need more time with each other and not as much with the kitchen. Thanks! www.organicnaturalchoice.com