One key to getting your family on a healthy eating habits track is variety. No one wants to eat the same foods day in and day out. As you get back into the swing of cooking each day, you will start to see how you can alter certain recipes to add a kick or a twist to many simple meals.
Variety in your side dishes is just as important as variety in your main course. Run the gambit of veggies and fruits as sides. Try different combinations of salad greens and toppings to change things up. Pick or make different healthy salad dressings to try. Try new items. If you are not familiar with parsnips or arugala, look up a recipe and try it out.
When planning out your meals, keep in mind old favorites that you and your family enjoy. Many of these have been on the shelf, taking a backseat to a burger for a long time. Now is the time to break them out again. If you can’t figure out how to cook them in the slow cooker, don’t be afraid to take a few minutes and look it up.
Here’s a few quick treats and old favorites from my recipe file. Yes, they really are this easy! All take less preparation or cooking time than sitting in line at the drive through.
Slow Cooker Beef Stew
1 lb Stew Meat
Small bag of small potatoes
Small bag of baby carrots
Salt, pepper, garlic powder and paprika
- Barely cover the bottom of the slow cooker crock with water
- Wash small potatoes and line the bottom of the crock.
- Cover the potatoes with baby carrots
- Place 1 lb of stew meat on top of the carrots.
- Chop a small onion into quarters and place on top.
- Add a tablespoon of garlic powder and a tablespoon of paprika.
- Sprinkle salt and pepper to taste.
- Put on the lid and set to low.
- When you get home, stir it all together… it’s ready.
1 lb Ground Beef or Turkey
1 can low sodium cream of mushroom soup
1/2 can skim milk
4 ounces of Sour Cream (one small container)
Salt, pepper, paprika
- In a large pan, start 6 cups of water to boil.
- When the water boils, add egg noodles and boil for 10 minutes.
- In a large skillet with a lid, brown the ground beef or turkey. Drain off the fat
- Sprinkle the meat with salt, pepper and a healthy shake of paprika
- Add a can of low sodium cream of mushroom soup. Fill the can 1/2 full of skim milk and add. Stir well.
- Add the sour cream and stir.
- Put on the lid and simmer 10 minutes.
- Serve over the noodles.
Slow Cooker Italian Chicken (Super Simple)
Family pack of chicken
- Spray the bottom of the slow cooker crock with cooking spray. (preferable olive oil spray)
- Arrange the chicken in the slow cooker crock.
- Cover the tops of the pieces with Italian dressing. (pick a robust for more flavor)
- Put on the lid and set to low.
- Serve with a green salad.
Italian bread, cut in half, in 12-inch lengths
Spaghetti sauce (see previous recipe in part 3)
Shredded Italian cheese blend
- Turn on the oven to 350 degrees
- Cut a loaf of Italian bread in half long ways (as if for sandwiches) and then in half so you have 4 pieces.
- Spread a thin covering of butter on the tops and sprinkle on garlic powder.
- Add a layer of spaghetti sauce. (warm in the microwave first)
- Sprinkle on cheese.
- Add favorite toppings
- Bake on a flat pan until the cheese is melted
- Why haven’t you made this before?
Check back for more hints, tips and easy recipes.