It happens to everyone- you come home and there is nothing to make for dinner. Never fear - KHQ-MD Dietician Sandy Zobell gives us some ideas for what she calls "Grab and Go Meals."
1) How can you be prepared for dinner after a long day at work?
Planning is helpful! 1) Keep a well-stocked pantry and freezer 2) Pre-cook on days when you have the time. Double or more the recipes of your favorite foods you are preparing and freeze them in individual containers – in other words, make your own convenience meals for those rushed days. 3) Use your leftovers – be creative and re-purpose them into stir-fry, soups, salads or a "personalized concoction"! 4) Try a "no-cooked" meal like a hearty salad and bread or cold sandwiches 5) Keep your meals simple! 6) Cook once for everyone – there is no need to make individual meals for each member of the family. If your child likes "plain" foods, then set that aside before you add other ingredients to the food item. 7) Ask your family or friends to help w/setting the table, pouring beverages or other simple tasks.
2) How important is it to have a well-stocked pantry and freezer?
It is the base for those quick "whip-them-up meals" for our families. A few ideas for the pantry or cupboard: pasta, rice, beans and lentils, canned fruits (in 100% juice), canned vegetables (without added salt), canned tuna or salmon, cooking oil and non-stick vegetable spray, condiments, dried onion, garlic and parsley, other seasonings. A few ideas for the refrigerator and freezer: fresh or frozen vegetables to include salad greens and baby carrots, minced garlic in a jar, frozen chopped onion and green pepper, eggs, shredded cheese, yogurt, milk, butter/margarine, whole grain breads, English muffins and bagels, tortillas, skinless boneless chicken breasts, ground meats and those personalized homemade convenience meals.
3) What about a slow cooker – how can that help get dinner on the table?
The slow cooker is one of the best kitchen appliances – it provides a good healthy home-cooked meal for the entire family while you work. Prep the ingredients the night before, plug in the slow cooker in the morning, "throw" in your ingredients and cover before you leave the house and ….voila…dinner near ready when you come home. It takes a little experience to learn how to modify your favorite recipe into a slow-cooker recipe, but the internet is a great source for information and great new recipes.