Straightforward frozen vegetables without added sauces can cut meal prep time (think frozen spinach instead of washing, chopping and cooking freshly bought greens) and bring variety to a meal without excess waste. If you don’t routinely use leftovers, everyone in your family likes different veggies, or you want to provide more than one per meal, it doesn’t get easier than cooking frozen vegetables.
To prepare, take a bowl of veggies, add a small amount of water and microwave for 30 seconds to two minutes depending on the amount you have, and before your 5 minute couscous is done your veggies are on the plate. For a child size portion your can pour steaming hot water on them to defrost them, steam them or boil them.
Two benefits to frozen veggies – they keep longer than fresh ones and may be even more nutritious as they’re frozen soon after harvest. Plus, they don’t have any added salt or calories from a sauce and are a blank slate for the flavors of your meal.
If you’re looking for a fast, all-age friendly way to cook vegetables and proteins, look no further than the funny pot with all of the holes on the bottom that fits in your go-to sauce pan. Until I had kids I rarely steamed foods, but it’s now my default for making soft veggies for young eaters.
The beauty of steaming is that vegetables can be cooked to varying degrees of tenderness in under 10 minutes, which is just enough time to prepare the rest of your meal (especially when you have hungry mouths to feed). Steaming is also a quick way to cook greens such as spinach, kale or Swiss chard. I typically bake my chicken or fish, but both can be steamed, as can shrimp, which means you’re only a few minutes away from making pasta, salad, or your veggies and grains a bit more fancy.
Looking for more ways to eat healthy? Check out the Healthy Cooking category, complete with techniques and recipes.
When there are more tomatoes in your garden or in your CSA box than you know what to do with, it’s time to save some of that summer flavor for the cold months ahead! Roasted tomatoes can be frozen for a few months and it’s worth it to have that deep tomato flavor to brighten up soups and sauces on long winter nights.
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. Wash and slice tomatoes into 4-6 pieces depending on the size
3. Spread evenly on the baking sheets and drizzle liberally with olive oil, basil, salt and pepper
4. Bake for ~1hr until they are a deep red color and are beginning to caramelize
As food allergies become more commonplace it should come as no surprise that one day you may have to prepare a meal or snack for someone who has one. If that allergy is to egg whites the substitution is simple.
Flax Egg Recipe (makes the equivalent of one egg):
1. Start with whole flax seeds and grind them as needed, or buy pre-ground flax meal
2. Whisk 3 Tablespoons of water into 1 Tablespoon of ground flax meal
3. Let the mixture sit until it becomes the consistency of an egg white, usually within 10-15 minutes
Use the flax egg the same way you would use a regular egg in pancakes, meatloaf, meatballs or even muffins and brownies. The flax adds a a slightly nutty flavor and gives your meal an added benefit of fiber and healthy omega-3 fats.
Ground flax seed can be found in most grocery stores, and once opened can be kept tightly sealed in the fridge for up to 3 months.
Whether you’re looking for the perfect chili to please everyone for the big game or warm up during the blizzard, you can’t go wrong with this vegetarian chili. It doesn’t get much easier than putting everything in the slow-cooker, hitting “on” and enjoying the day knowing dinner is on it’s way. We topped our chili with avocado, sour cream, shredded cheddar, scallions and tortilla chips, but I would love to hear about your more creative topping combinations! The recipe is from Real Simple and the only addition was a little dried cilantro.