Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Tips for Quick Dinners

Way too many nites out of the week we are forced to do quick meals.  (Slow cooker meals that fit into my nutritional needs are very hard to find.)  If you remember, last spring the kids and I ate sandwiches 2 nites a week because of Kaylee's soccer practice.  It go old pretty quick. 

Since then I have expanded my list of quick meals.  Before I thought that  cold sandwiches were the only way to get dinner on the tables before 8.  Now I have learned some tricks to get dinner on the table quicker.

1) Premake things.
        You can make a week's worth of rice or any other grain and reheat it throughout the week when you need it. Or, make things early in the day.  On most Thursdays you will find me in the kitchen cooking 90% of my dinner at around 1 in the afternoon.  After Mantha's practice I just come home and reheat things in the microwave and finish everything up.

2)  Think simple.
          A healthy meal is a simple equation.  Protein + veggies + a grain.  It doesn't have to be elaborate, or fancy.  It just needs to be nutritious.

3)  Small pieces
          A chicken breast cooks faster than a whole chicken, right? The same is true for everything you cook.  

4)  Make the slow cooker your best friend.
         You can cook a whole variety of things in the slow cooker.  Beans, soups, meat, bread, even dessert.  Juts throw it in, turn it on and walk away for 3-8 hours. 

5)  Leftovers, they are what's for dinner.
          If you have a microwave then you are even luckier when it comes to leftovers.  I reheat leftovers for dinner a few times a week.  {They are also good for school lunches}

6)  Meal in a day 
          This follows along with tip #1.  If you have time on a Sunday you can do 1 of 2 things.  
     A)  Do all your prepping (chopping, sauteing, etc), put them in zip top bags, label and freeze.  Pull them out the night before you need them so that they can thaw in the fridge.  
     B)  Make the whole entree, put it in a labeled container or zip top bag, and freeze.

The other night I was testing out a recipe and decided to make some sweetpotato biscuits to go along with it.  These are the most amazing biscuits you've ever tasted.  Soft, fluffy, yummy, and bright orange!

Yet again, I need to let you know this stuff:  {You can view my other recipe for the contest HERE}
Recipe Redux members are among the first to be introduced to California sweetpotatoes! Sweetpotatoes are not in fact a “sweet potato”- they are a different vegetable entirely. Sweetpotatoes will now be known as one word to emphasize to consumers that they are quite different from the white potato and other sweet potatoes out there.

What’s unique about California sweetpotatoes is that they are grown in soft sand and are hand sorted during harvest to minimize scarring and scratching. The result is a visually, higher quality (i.e., more attractive) sweetpotato. California sweetpotatoes are a “nutrition bang for the calorie buck” with 4 grams of fiber, 2 grams of protein, a good source of vitamin C and more than a day’s worth of vitamin A, all for 105 calories per serving (1 medium size, cooked). Plus, they are available year-round.

Consumers often mistakenly think that sweetpotatoes are yams. The California Sweetpotato Council also wants to set the record straight to clear up this confusion and shift the vernacular. Sweetpotatoes are sweet and moist, while yams are dry and starchy and not readily available in the U.S. Part of the confusion comes from the fact that there are varieties of sweetpotatoes called yams. Sweetpotatoes with orange interiors have a higher beta-carotene content than true yams. Sweetpotatoes are grown in the United States, while yams are imported from the Caribbean. (The scientific name of sweetpotato is Ipomoea batatas and it's a member of the morning glory family. A yam on the other hand belongs to the Yam plant family.)

and....  I received free samples of California sweetpotatoes mentioned in this post. By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by the California Sweetpotato Council and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.

Sweetpotato Biscuits
Makes 6 biscuits 

.5 cup mashed California Sweetpotato
.75 cup skim milk
1 t apple cider vinegar
1.25 cup all purpose flour
.75 cup whole wheat flour
1.5 t baking soda

  1. Heat oven to 400
  2. Mix together milk and vinegar, set aside
  3. Mix together dry ingredients
  4. Mix milk and sweetpotatoes together
  5. Add sweetpotatoes to dry ingredients
  6. Knead 
  7. On a floured cutting board roll out dough to 3/4" thick
  8. Cut with biscuit cutter
  9. Place biscuits on a greased cookie sheet
  10. Bake 12-15 minutes

1 comment:

  1. O my goodness. I could make these like RIGHT now...they looks so simple and so delish! Love all your tips on getting dinner on the table in a practical!