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De-Stress Dinnertime with This Time-Saver!

Last week, we provided a delicious way to simplify and healthify your mornings with baked oatmeal cups.  Did you have a chance to give them a try?  We would love to know how you liked them and your favorite flavor combinations!

This week, we want to give you another idea to bring convenience into your kitchen...this time to help simplify and healthify your evenings!  As we all know, this time of year can be insanely busy with work obligations, school events, sporting events, church gatherings and the list goes on and on.

So, what can help with this craziness?


Encore meals or 2-for-1 meals!

One of our favorite ways to make it easier to cook at home and get the best "bang for our buck (and our time)" is 2-for-1 meals!  Also known as "planned-over meals" or "cook once, eat twice"...these meals can be lifesavers on busy weeknights.  The key is just a few minutes in the morning to get the ingredients into the slow cooker…you can even get them ready the night before.  This is also something others in the house can easily help with.

You will come home in the evening and dinner can be on the table in a matter of minutes!  Plus, you will have leftovers that can be transformed into super easy and delicious meals the following evenings.  Now, we are not talking about boring leftovers.  These ideas make the second (and even third) meal seem brand new -- and your family will completely forget they are eating leftovers, because they are not, they are PLANNED-OVERS!


Now we know it takes a little planning, such as making a list and picking up ingredients at the store, but just imagine the feeling of knowing dinner is planned and underway, so you can come home after a long day and get a great-tasting, nutritious meal on the table with little effort – and little cleanup!  What a stress reliever!  So, go ahead and pick one to make THIS WEEK!





Why prepare meals at home?


  • You will all be eating healthier!  When you cook at home, you can control what is going into your food (such as how much oil and salt) and where your food comes from.  This is also an ideal opportunity to get those picky eaters to try new things and actually begin to like them!
  • Save some money and savor the flavor!  It can be very expensive to eat out!  Plus, once you enjoy homemade meals using fresh ingredients, you will notice that many of the fast food and typical restaurant meals just aren't near as flavorful (not to mention they are not as nutritious!).
  • Confidence builder!  Like most things, your skills will improve with experience...the more you cook, the more confident you will be in the kitchen!  Don't worry about messing it up -- you will have flops, as we frequently do (remember, not all the recipes we try make it onto Eat REAL America!)...but you will also have delicious experiences that will make the time and effort all worth it!
  • Time together as a family!  You may not be able to sit down together every night, but even just a few nights a week is a great time to re-connect.  Remember, this is when you can hear some of the best stories from each other’s day!  Even just being together in the kitchen to make a meal with REAL ingredients is a memorable experience that can't compare to cooking a frozen processed meal in the microwave!

Recently, I was talking to a friend and she was telling me how she doesn't have time to cook anything for dinner during the week.  I asked what her morning routine involved.  She said that she gets up, grabs a cup of coffee and checks Facebook for about 30 minutes.  Trying to contain my excitement, I burst out with "That's perfect -- you only need 15 minutes to throw something in the slow cooker and dinner will be ready when you walk through the door!  Plus, you will have leftovers for super-easy meals the rest of the week!"  As you can imagine...she looked at me like I was a little crazy (you know, that raised-eyebrow look!), but I KNOW it got her thinking.  Just one small change to a current habit like this is all it would take to make a huge difference!

It IS possible to find time to cook at home and enjoy incredibly delicious and healthy meals…even when your schedule is jam-packed!  If we can do it, anyone can do it!  Eat REAL America will continue to provide ideas to help make it easy and convenient…all you have to do is make it a priority!


Your health and your family's health are worth it!




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