Friday, April 8, 2016

Foodie Friday

Before I get started with today's post, I want to apologize to those of you who get my blog through email. Some of you may have received an old blog post yesterday by mistake. I'm making some changes in my blog and I must have, somehow, sent that out. One of the changes I've made is to add labels. On the lower right sidebar, you will find a box with keyword search topics; just click on a topic you are interested in and it will generate a list of all of the posts that contain that particular subject. Thanks for sticking with me while I make some improvements. Hopefully, there won't be too many more hiccups.

One of the changes I'll be making is to post every Friday. Foodie Friday's will be about simple, healthy meal and snack ideas. I know how hard it is to put a healthy meal on the table. Afternoons and evenings are the worst time of day for me.  By then, I'm usually very fatigued and in a lot of pain. So, the last thing I feel like doing is cooking an elaborate meal. I'll share some meal planning and grocery shopping tips, along with recipes for every meal.

Today, I want to share some of the items I like to keep on hand for quick meals. These suggestions are for those days when you feel too bad to cook. To be honest, some of these may not be the healthiest, but they do have some nutritional value. Paired with some fruit or a vegetable, they can be a part of a healthy or at least a semi-healthy meal. You probably wouldn't want to serve some of these things every day, but with proper planning, you shouldn't have to.

1. Eggs- Eggs are versatile, healthy and not that expensive. You can boil a half a dozen, or more if you'd use them, at the beginning of the week. You can eat them for a quick breakfast, or put them on a salad. Also, you can scramble a big batch and throw in some bell peppers, cheese, onions, etc. for quick burritos for meals or snacks for the week.

2. Canned beans-I love the fat-free canned refried beans. I'll heat them up and add some cheese and
salsa for a quick bean burrito. Black beans especially can be added to a salad for a tasty meal. Beans are inexpensive and an excellent source of protein. We like what I call "the Dave Ramsey special"-beans and rice.

3. Nut butter-I can no longer eat peanut butter as I developed an allergy to it a while back. But, I discovered Sunbutter, and I love it! There are other kinds of nut butters out there, if you are unable to eat one kind, you can probably find one that you can eat. I eat Sunbutter on whole wheat bread for breakfast almost every morning. Nut butters are good on fruits and vegetables making them a great snack, or an addition to any meal.

4. Pasta- Pasta is good plain or with sauce, you can add cheese or meat; the possibilities are endless. If you eat gluten free, there are gluten free kinds of pasta available. There are also whole wheat types, too. I like the quick cooking versions that are available.

5. Cheese- I'm not much of a cheese eater. My kids make fun of me because I won't eat a piece of cheese by itself. I'll eat it on a burger, not on a cold sandwich, though. I'll eat cheese if it's in a casserole, too. Regardless of my lack of love for cheese, I do realize it has some nutritional value. It's a quick source of protein that, with some heat, a little butter, and some bread, can be turned into the magical grilled cheese sandwich of your childhood.

6. Turkey Crumbles-No, I'm not getting paid to mention Jimmy Dean's Turkey Crumbles. But, I like them enough that I wanted to include them here. They aren't cheap, but I can usually find them on sale for about $3.50 a bag. That's when I stock up. If you're not familiar with them, they are fully cooked turkey sausage crumbled up. I am trying to incorporate turkey into our diet more, and this is an easy way to do that. To be honest, I wasn't sure if I'd like them, but I do. I can't tell the difference between the turkey and the pork kind of sausage. I add them to scrambled eggs or use them in casseroles or on a pizza.

7. Potatoes-We keep baking potatoes around for an easy potato bar.
While they are easily microwavable, I prefer them prepared in the oven. At the beginning of the week, I'll sometimes bake five or six, so they'll be ready to eat at any time. You can eat them with a variety of toppings, broccoli and cheese, other veggies like tomatoes, green peppers, and onions, chili, beans, and leftover taco meat are all some of our favorites.

8. Freezer meals-This will be a future blog post. If you aren't familiar with the concept, freezer meals are complete meals that you prepare ahead of time. When mealtime comes, all you need to do is thaw them out and cook according to directions. Because you have to take the time to thaw them out, they may not seem that quick; but, if you use your microwave, they are as easy as any other quick meal.

I hope I've given you some ideas. I'm sure you have some go-to meals that you enjoy. Please feel free to share them in the comments. I look forward to getting some new ideas.

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