Everyone who likes to cook wants to make healthy low-cost dinners. However, what if cooking is not your thing and you do not have time?
There are many recommendations to ease the time crunch in the kitchen. Finding the one that works for you is the key. Here are the top most-used time savers. See if you can adopt one to cut your time down in the kitchen and create healthy low-cost dinners.
Keep a well-stocked kitchen. Ingredients like frozen vegetables and canned beans make easy-to-fix healthy dinners. There are many pantry list available. If you would like a copy, give us a call or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Plan your meals. Even if it is only for two days at a time, planning meals saves time. It also reduces stress. Post it somewhere in the kitchen for others to see. Next week, include them in the planning, as well. Look at sale flyers when planning to save money.
Make and use a shopping list. Many people now put their list on their phones because it’s always with them. Stick to the list and shop the entire store, not just the perimeter. In the center are canned beans, pasta and whole grain rice. All ingredients for low-cost and healthy meals.
Cook in multiple batches or “eat one dish and freeze one. “Making a double batch of “freezable” dishes like sauces and soups saves time. Be sure to label and date the food so it does not get lost in the freezer.
Include planned overs, not leftovers, for your week’s dinner. The key is to set aside some of the food before serving and refrigerate. Use as a key ingredient in another dish. For example, dried beans cooked in a crock-pot can be baked beans one meal and tacos, burritos, or taco pizza another. Cook extra mashed potatoes and add to soups to thicken or to make American Pierogis.
Here is the healthy version of American Pierogi recipe. Serve with two vegetables and low-fat milk to balance the meal.
American Pierogi, low-fat style
5-6 cups of mashed potatoes, made with skim milk and without margarine and salt
1 pound of cooked lasagna noodles, whole wheat is preferred
3/4 pound of shredded yellow American cheese
1/2 cup of diced onion, cooked slightly in microwave in 2 cups of chicken broth
10 oz. frozen thawed and drained chopped spinach
2 cups shredded fresh carrots
Spray 9 x 13 pan with nonfat cooking spray. Ladle in 1-cup chicken broth/onion mixture. Add first layer of lasagna noodles, top with 3 cups of mashed potatoes. Top with spinach and shredded carrots. Add second layer of lasagna noodles and top with remaining mashed potatoes, spinach, carrots and shredded cheese. Pour remaining 1 cup of chicken broth/onion mixture over dish. Cover. Bake for 45 minutes in 325-degree oven.
Mary Ehret is the Penn State Extension Nutrition Links Supervisor in Luzerne, Lackawanna, Monroe, Carbon, Sullivan and Bradford counties. Reach her at 570-825-1701 or at email@example.com.