For me real food for supper has been the easiest change to make. When I was first adjusting our meals I simply cooked a meat and veggie and added fruit and called it supper. Unlike breakfast I was already accustomed to cooking at this time of day and meal planning so I just had to adjust my planning goals and recipes. Families and tastes are different. Some families resist any change to their favorite foods; they need all new meals. Others have success making slight alterations to a family recipes and keeping food familiar. If you are looking for all new recipes 100 Days of Real Food, Once a Month Mom or Heavenly Homemakers meal plans are great places to start. If you are looking to alter your own recipes I have a few ideas.
1. Pasta-What mother doesn’t love the easy of boiling noodles at 5:30 when life has fallen apart? We all have heard that we should be eating whole wheat pasta, but admittedly the texture is a little different. Experiment with different noodles. My family loves angel hair pasta. (I use a kitchen scissors to cut it up into almost rice size pieces so my littles can scoop it with a spoon instead of twisting with a fork!) Find a good red sauce without MSG or high fructose corn syrup. It really isn’t hard; I have even found low sugar ones that do not use artificial sweeteners. Win! I am looking forward to attempting to make my own once the tomatoes in my garden ripen!
2. Rice-Another mantra we have all heard is “Switch out the white rice.” My husband is not a big fan of brown rice. I have gotten creative. We like Basmati rice, and to my surprise quinoa is a family favorite. I make both rice and quinoa with homemade broth to increase the nutrition of our meal. I use rice to turn leftovers into a second meal. Add veggies and rice to leftover grilled chicken, roast or taco meat and you’ve got a very inexpensive, quick and healthy meal.
3. The grill-Marinades are easy to make and both healthier and cheaper than the ones you can buy in a bottle. I try to double and freeze marinades that our family likes and freeze them. I am not a “grill master” so I have found it handy to think “low and slow” on the heat and keep a meat thermometer with me. Grilled veggies are so tasty. We toss ours in olive oil and add salt, pepper and garlic. (Grilling is seasonal for us, but in the cooler months the crock pot is my friend.)
4. Cream of Soup and Broth-If these are a staple to your cooking (i.e. if most of your meals come from a church cook book, or Campbells.com) take the time to make the soup or broth yourself. Yes, I admit it will take time, but if you want a healthy trade to the meals that you already make this is the way to go. Save your glass jars (salsa or pizza sauce jars are a great size) take an evening or a Saturday and make up enough to use in several meals and freeze. You will have to remember to take the soup or broth out of the freezer when you get your meat out of the freezer. Write it on the meat package if you need a reminder! Here are some of the things that you will not be eating: Monosodium glutamate, modified food starch, soy protein isolate, partially hydrogenated oil. Bone broth is one of the healthiest things to feed a family when it is homemade. It is a process, but my husband can taste the difference.
5. Boxed Food: Hamburger Helper, chicken nuggets, frozen pizza, Hot Pockets…they are not a temptation to make for supper if they never make it in the door. They will not make it through the door if they never get put into the cart. A mealplan and self restraint goes a long way! I have found that I am more resourceful than I thought. The meals may not be gourmet and it may not look traditional, but we have never gone hungry. Find the real food equivalent, double and freeze it. Here are a few of our favorites…
§ Pop Corn Chicken (Freezes so well for a quick meal!)
§ Corn Muffins (I have done these d-free too, and they work!)
§ French Fries (I have not tried to freeze these, but when I make these my husband says “Oh good!” He has never said this about Ore Ida!)
§ Ranch dip (Make up a batch or two and keep in a sealed container. Add it to sour cream for veggie dip. Sprinkle on cubed potatoes and oven roast!)
§ Cheese Beef Pasta Skillet (I just freeze the beef not the whole meal.)
Start slow; when you are making a meal read the ingredients. If they are real…smile, if they are full of preservatives and artificial products look for a replacement at the store or make one yourself. Relax, experiment, have fun.
Any real food recipes to link up today? It is time to link up any changes you are making at your home. I love reading the comments so be sure to leave one!