I don’t know about you but I’m always looking for ways to cut my time in the kitchen and still maintain a healthy diet. These are some of the things that work for me:
- If I want a slice of onion for a sandwich, or if I’m chopping up a few tablespoons for tuna salad, I go ahead and cut up the whole onion and store it in a glass container in the fridge. I find myself using it up every time because it’s so easy. I’ll put onions with scrambled eggs, brown rice or pasta, or add it to a sandwich, just because it’s already cut up.
- I cook once and eat several times. I’ll make a double batch of spaghetti, cook an entire bag of pasta and freeze it individually for easy dinners. I do this with casseroles, soup and side dishes.
- Having great knives and glass cutting boards is a must for easy prep. Even if I cut only once, I want it to be fast and efficient. With glass cutting boards I don’t have to worry about how sanitary it is. When I’m finished, I pop it in the dishwasher.
- A Foreman Grill is a big deal in my kitchen. I use it primarily for fish. I love the salmon burgers and mahi burgers from Trader Joe’s. From frozen they take about four minutes. Add in a side salad from the salad bar and a bit of rice pilaf and I’m good to go in under 15 minutes!
- I would have a hard time eating healthy if I didn’t have my slow cooker. In the summer it keeps the house cool and in the winter it makes soups so easy to prepare! This is where I cook my Vegan Spaghetti, Split Pea Soup, Sweet Potatoes, Chili … Actually, most things! My favorite is the Hamilton Beach; It’s reasonably priced and works simply.
- Sweet Potatoes & Butternut Squash are a big deal for me and I almost always have one of them on hand. I cook them in my slow cooker without any added liquid, for 3-4 hours on high or 8 hours on low. They are the best tasting sweet potatoes I’ve ever eaten. When I make Butternut Squash Soup, I don’t bother with cubing or peeling. I throw the whole, washed squash into the slow cooker until cooked, remove it, scrape the meat into the blender, and add the rest of the ingredients, then puree. I put it back in the slow cooker for about an hour to let the ingredients meld together. Delish!
- Then there’s my Ninja Professional. It’s a blender, food processor combined. Knowing what to use when took me a bit, but it was worth the investment. I can make GF breadcrumbs with the end pieces of the Udi’s bread I buy. I crush the chickpeas I add to my Vegan Spaghetti. I make my hummus, refried beans and black bean dip.
- NutriBullet makes my smoothies a breeze. I have a really small kitchen, so I keep most of my appliances in a closet. The NutriBullet caught my eye because of its small size. It sits on my counter and I whip up my morning smoothie easily. It also comes with three cups and a milling blade which makes grinding the fennel for my Vegan Spaghetti a snap!
- A toaster oven is great for reheating things that require crispness. One of my guilty pleasures is a dish called Crispy Tofu from Blue Koi, a restaurant in KC. I bring home leftovers and the next day I put them in the toaster oven, on toast, and they come out crispy and delicious! Toaster ovens are good for when you don’t need the large size of a regular oven. Oh yeah … they make toast!
- Salad in a Jar is one way to easily make a healthy lunch. Using large jars (I use Trader Joe’s Organic Spaghetti Sauce jars), fill about half way with your choice of lettuce. I use a mix of romaine and spring greens from the salad bar. Then toss in some premade Cole slaw mix or broccoli slaw mix, and veggies that you like on a salad. I use cucumbers, peppers and a little red onion. You can add beans (I like chickpeas) and dried cranberries. Then top it with a few grape tomatoes. On the day of, I add nuts and seeds. I take along a little container of salad dressing and at lunchtime I add the dressing, re-close the jar, and shake like a bartender to mix. The only caveat: Make sure you’ve got a fork that fits to the bottom of the jar you choose.
These last three days in my refrigerator. It seems the bagged lettuce lasts longer in the jar than it does in the bag … weird.
- Just toss stuff together! You probably have some regular flavor profiles that you depend on. Try something with what you’ve got on hand. I tossed some edamame, onions and pasta together with some tamari, garlic, salt and coconut oil for a fabulous stir fry! Here are the pics:
I hope these make your life a bit healthier and easier. I am all about helping people fit healthy choices into their busy lives. I love for you to ‘like’ my Facebook page. It can be found at www.facebook.com/healthworkskc
Nancy Oglesby, The Practical Health Coach
Just a quick disclaimer: I make a small amount if you purchase from the links I provide. I do like it that you know exactly what model I’m talking about when I identify brands that I like and use.