I know, I know. I sound like a broken record but seriously, cooking at home is arguably the best thing you can do for you and your family’s health. And, it doesn’t need to be fancy shmancy meals that take an hour to prepare. It can be as simple as adding your own toppings to a pre-made pizza dough or flat bread, scrambling some eggs or building your own burritos. (Just don’t forget to serve some veggies or fruit on the side.) If you choose to go out to eat more often than not, you are without-a-doubt getting far more calories, fat, and salt than you’d get in a homemade version of the same thing. Not to mention, you are spending a lot more money.
Here are some easy, quick meal ideas, beyond pasta, to remind you that cooking at home doesn’t have to be complicated:
Burritos or burrito bowls: Canned beans, cheese, seasoned brown rice, salsa (or fresh tomatoes and onions), avocado or guacamole. Feel free to add roasted veggies, chicken or steak. Or, go breakfast and make eggs, uncured bacon or sausage, potatoes, cheese, avocado and salsa. Serve with fresh fruit or raw veggies.
Build your own pizzas: Top pre-made pizza dough, English muffins, bagels or baguettes with your favorite toppings. I recommend upgrading your pizza base to a whole grain version. Serve with a green salad or veggies and dip.
Burgers (turkey, veggie, chicken, or beef): Throw your patties (if you’re making beef, opt for 93% lean) on the grill or in a skillet. Put them on a whole grain bun, top with red onion, lettuce, and tomatoes. Serve a salad, corn on the cob, grilled veggies or baked sweet potato fries on the side.
Breakfast for dinner: Scramble some eggs with veggies, mix up some whole grain pancake batter (I like this Kodiak Cakes variety), or make your own french toast with whole wheat bread. Serve a bowl of fresh fruit alongside.
Soup and grilled cheese: Make your own soup, get some fresh from your local grocery store, or check out the lower sodium varieties in a box. Serve it alongside grilled cheese made with whole grain bread and raw veggies (with dip, if desired).
Chicken and veggies on the barbie: Before you head off for the day, put boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs in a large Ziploc bag and let ‘er marinade all day. When you’re ready to cook, toss some chopped veggies with a little olive oil, salt and fresh pepper, put both the chicken and veggies on a BBQ-safe grill pan and dinner is ready in less than 20 minutes. Not grill season? Roast it in the oven or use an indoor grill pan.
Fish or shellfish (stove-top or oven): Fish and shellfish cook super fast and if you get a fresh piece of fish, it doesn’t need much in the way of seasoning. And shrimp is awesome because you buy it frozen, it defrosts in about 10 minutes and cooks in less time than that (an average fish fillet cooks in about 6-10 minutes). This Teriyaki Salmon from the Skinnytaste blog is one of my favorite fish recipes. And if you are craving sushi, you MUST try this Spicy California Shrimp Stack.
Don’t fret. I will continually post my recipes or recipes I love that fall into these “quick meal” categories. So stay tuned and come back often!