If you’re reading this, give yourself a pat on the back!! Because, that means that you are already making the effort to cook at home. Hopefully that’s the reason you come to my blog…looking for simple, fun recipes that you can make at home. Be proud of yourself because we are learning more and more about how much healthier it is to do just that.
When we are cooking at home, we control what and how much we’re serving. Restaurant meals tend to be higher in fat, sugar and sodium. Not to mention the portion sizes! At home, people are more likely to serve themselves only what they think they can eat.
Mark Bittman, famous food writer and chef, says every time we eat a meal at home we are saving 200 calories.
Today I’m hoping to inspire those that eat out, much of the time, to cook more at home. And for those that already make the efforts to cook at home, I want to support those efforts by adding to your repertoire of ideas. I want to share with all of you my thoughts on making it fun, keeping it simple, using healthy ingredients and having balance. Hopefully as you browse my recipes, you’ll find each of those themes throughout.
Many times, merely coming up with WHAT to cook is the biggest challenge. I like to have a general theme to help in my planning. For example, Tuesdays have become “Taco Tuesdays.” (Thanks Nicki for that great idea years ago!) Then when I search for recipes, it narrows my choices. Having a theme also helps keep it simple and fun. It would be boring if we had tacos every Tuesday. So, each week I take the theme to create something different. Here are a few Taco Tuesday meals to get you started:
For more Taco Tuesday ideas, you can search “Taco Tuesday” in my search menu. Items to have on hand for Taco Tuesdays include: a variety of canned beans (pinto, black, refried, kidney); frozen corn, lettuce, tomatoes, avocadoes, rice, flour tortillas, taco shells, shredded cheddar cheese, salsas or hot sauces, diced green chilies and homemade taco seasoning (chili powder, onion powder, garlic powder, salt and paprika.) I make many of my Taco Tuesday meals meatless (it’s about balance, read more here…) However, it is easy to add meat to any of these recipes.
On many Fridays, I go with a pizza theme. For awhile, we were having homemade pizza night every week. My kids would don aprons and flour their hands to roll out the dough. We would change up their topping choices and let them create masterpieces.
Now we mix it up a bit more with some of the following ideas:
Search “pizza” in my menu bar for more ideas. Whipping up a pizza is faster than you think, especially if it is a french bread pizza. Douse on some sauce, mozzarella and toppings and bake. A simple dinner is served! Items to keep on hand for pizza night on the fly include: flour, olive oil, yeast, pizza or marinara sauce, meat and/or veggies for toppings and shredded mozzarella. I keep a loaf of healthy french bread (read the label! 🙂 some breads have way too many ingredients…find one with a short, healthy list and keep it in the freezer for a night that you need a fast meal.)
There are lots of ways to make cooking fun as well! Whether, shaping your pancakes into numbers or making your tacos into “cupcakes,” keeping it interesting helps add to your enjoyment of the whole process and makes it fun for your kids too!
One more help, when cooking at home, is to keep it fast and simple. I’ll be adding more crock pot ideas and other ways to help you be efficient.
I hope this post has given you a few ideas to inspire some more cooking at home!