Monday, August 22, 2011

You Can Do It Better Yourself!

I am working on a series of "You Can Do It Better Yourself..." recipes in response to those boxed meals that......offer assistance in preparing dinner--you know, the ones with the little packets of "cheese", and seasonings in powder form and tiny pouches of pasta or rice to which you add browned meat. I'm not going to preach to you regarding what I believe are the evils of such meals, which believe me, are many in my opinion, I will however try to sell you on making similar dishes with simple, fresh ingredients (that you can pronounce) that are just as quick and easy. They may not be the most healthful recipes in my repertoire, but I do my best to make them as healthful as possible, and they are nice to enjoy every once in awhile when I need something for supper I don't have to think too much about. It also keeps my family happily eating my healthful meals when they feel like they get a taste of familiar dishes. Served with fresh veggies and fruit, they really are meals I still feel good about eating and serving to my family!

One thing that baffles me about those boxed meals is the large amount of meat they call for in comparison to the small pouches of pasta/rice. I prefer mine with equal parts of meat and pasta, and it's a bonus that cutting down on the meat happens to keep the cost a bit lower as well. Whole wheat pasta and brown rice are good sources of protein on their own, and any of the recipes in this series could easily be made with no meat at all. And if you have gluten/wheat issues, you can of course substitute the gluten free pasta of your choice in the pasta dishes.

I prepare the pasta/rice, brown the meat and prepare the rest of the ingredients for these recipes all at the same time, and that is a huge time saver. When you really need to prepare dinner in record time, here are a couple time saving tips that can make these meals even quicker:

-Cook a large amount of pasta and/or rice to within a few minutes of the recommended cooking time, cool, place in zip-top freezer bags and freeze in stacks. To thaw, either throw a bag in the fridge, remove pasta/rice from bag and defrost in a glass bowl in the microwave for a minute or two or place the bag in a bowl of hot water.

-Brown batches of meats such as ground beef/chicken/turkey or diced chicken breast and follow directions for freezing and thawing pasta above.

Look for tomorrow's recipe, "You Can Do It Better Yourself" Chicken and Broccoli Alfredo!

1 comment:

  1. Great post. I always cook with fresh ingredients, I'm happy to say.