Simple dinner, great dinner

Cooking healthy meals for your family can be very easy and it does not have to be time consuming if you play your cards right. The most important thing is to think the meals thru and be prepared. I usually think 3 days ahead when it comes to our family meals, my husband’s work food (we do meal preps for him) and kids lunch boxes. 

I love reading cookbooks and different magazines so I get a lot of ideas from there. Any time I come across a great recipe I take a picture of it and plan to make it in the next few days. I also use cookbooks and magazines as a resource if, lets say, I know that we would like to have fish that night and I already have some vegetables in the fridge but do not really know what to make with them.

Internet is also a great resource when it comes to dinner planning. Sometimes when I have random food items in the fridge and pantry I open up google and type in the list of the ingredients that I want to use in my dinner. I have found some really great recipes this way. I usualy pick recipes from trusted sources such as Food Network, AllRecepies.com and such (ratings are usually a good tool to decide whether the recipe is good).

Once you have a plan and grocerries ready, putting it together does not always need to be a lot of work. Sometimes the simplest prepared dish is the best.

When I think about dinner I always start with identifying which protein we would like to have that night. Do we feel like having chicken, fish or red meat? Once I determine that, I move onto the vegetables followed by the starches. This is the easiest way for me to plan dinner. 

 My favorite way to prepare the protein part of dinner is grilling or baking in the oven. I rarely pan fry anything. If I make chicken cutlets for the kids or fish fillets, I do pan fry them (grape oil) very quickly but then I finish cooking them in the oven. They come out just as moist! Grilled meats do not need much seasonings, just some salt/pepper and olive oil.

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As far as the fish, I usually make salmon or tuna. I like to grill tuna steaks and use sesame oil. It gives it a really nice flavor.

Salmon, I like to bake in the oven. My favorite marinade is mix of soy sauce, rice vinegar, honey, olive oil and little minced garlic. I marinate the salmon for couple hours before I bake it and then just drizzle little olive oil on top. 12-15 min on 425F and comes out perfectly moist! 

Vegetables are really easy and can be done many different ways. From sautéing and roasting to grilling and steaming. Lately I have been having fun with the Inspiralizer so we have been eating a lot of raw vegetables. It is quite delicious! 

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Sometimes our only vegetable is the salad. I love using baby arugula, spring mix and baby kale. I also toss in some tomatoes and cucumbers. Olive oil and balsamic on top and done! Greek salad (tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, onions and feta cheese) is also one of my go-to salads especially during the summer when tomatoes are in season. 

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There are so many options when it comes to cooking or preparing starches. I love using the rice cooker and it is a life saver if you eat a lot of rice. We sure do! Potatoes I love to roast. Simple seasonings, salt/pepper and some garlic poweder.  Sometimes I throw in some onions on top as well (adds a little flavor). Baked potato is always great as well. I have been preparing quinoa more and more just because it is so rich in fiber and protein. I will post my recipe for the quinoa tabouleh salad in one of the next blogs. Its a great side dish!

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Healthy dinners do not need to be elaborate and take hours to prepare. With little thought and organization they are just at arms reach!

Until next time,

SP

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