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We want to eat healthy and save money by cooking meals at home. But oh, the darkness! Everyone wants to eat earlier.
Plan for leftovers - we like to call them “plan overs.” Here’s how. Consider cooking more chicken and use the leftovers for chicken stir-fry or wraps later in the week. Brown extra ground meat when making spaghetti. Use the extra browned ground meat for another meal, like chili or whimpies.
Use cooking equipment that does not heat up the house. Crockpots or electric skillets work well.
Include canned beans, salmon or tuna. They require little or no cooking and are packed with protein for a low cost.
Freeze cooked ingredients for quick put together meals. For example, cook a larger quantity of chicken. Freeze half for a quick stir-fry using frozen vegetables and a few fresh vegetables. Even reconstituted dried beans freeze well.
To reduce stress, plan two or three meals at a time for the weeknights. Use the ideas above to get you started. Next, ask your family for their input. Although we tend to think we “know” our families’ likes and dislikes they can change just like our own. Lastly, write the meals down on paper. A calendar might also work and then everybody gets to see what is for dinner.
Crock Pot Vegetable Lentil Stew
2 tablespoons olive oil (or canola)
2 bay leaves
1 large onion, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup carrot, chopped
2 cups kale, chopped
2 cups chard, chopped
2 cups dried lentils
8 cups vegetable broth (or stock)
1 can chopped tomatoes (16 ounces)
- Sauté onion and garlic with olive oil. Combine sauté mix with the rest of the ingredients in a crock pot.
- Cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours.
- Spoon stew into bowls to serve and top with a dollop of fat-free or low-fat plain yogurt (optional).
Nutritional Information: Calories: 243, Fat 6g, Carbohydrate 34g, Fiber 12g, Protein 18g, Sodium 156 mg, Potassium 915 mg.
Source: USDA Mixing Bowl: What's Cooking: Crock Pot Vegetable Lentil Stew