Keeping everyone happy with the meal options you serve up can be a real challenge if you’re a busy working mom with hungry mouths to feed, especially on top of all of the other chores on your to-do list. So how do you keep meals healthy and nutritious without spending hours trapped in the kitchen? Here are a few tips.
Be Healthy and hasty
Quick cooking methods and appliances are often given a bad reputation for unhealthy cuisine, associated with high-fat and high-sodium prepared dishes. But don’t be too hasty to dismiss cooking with convenience. If you think outside the (ready-meal) box and get creative in the kitchen, microwaves can be transformed into healthy meal-making machines. And besides having your kids’ meal ready in minutes, there are a few other great health benefits.
For instance, steaming fruit and vegetables in the microwave tends to help them retain more of their vitamins and minerals than boiling. What’s more, because there’s no heat-the-oil-in-the-pan step when cooking with microwaves, there’s often less fat involved in things like stir fries.
Use Recipe Shortcuts
A great way to save time AND create meals from scratch is to take recipe shortcuts whenever possible. For instance, this amazing Vegan Gourmet Pizza Bianca Grilled Flatbread Recipe (Thanks Carolyn at HealthyVoyager.com) gives instructions for making the flatbread from scratch which would normally be REALLY time consuming. You can save hours and get similar results by buying pre-made flatbread!
- Flatbread Dough
- 1 1/2c warm water (105 to 110 degrees F)
- 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
- 4c all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tbs olive, plus more for bowl
- Roasted Garlic Oil
- 1/2c olive oil
- 6 cloves roasted garlic
- Gourmet Pizza Bianca Grilled Flatbread
- Vegan ricotta cheese
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 3 plum tomatoes, very thinly sliced
- 2 tbs chopped fresh basil
- In large bowl mix together the water and yeast. Allow to stand 5min to proof.
- Slowly pour in 2 cups flour. Mix and then stir for an additional minute to form a sponge.
- Let stand, covered, for at least an hour.
- Place sponge in a stand mixer with dough hook.
- Add the salt and oil.
- Add the flour, 1/2 cup at a time, to form a dough.
- Remove from bowl and knead.
- Place in a clean oiled bowl and let rise, slowly, about 2 1/2 hours.
- Divide dough into 4 balls, if desired, let rise again for 1/2 hour, and then roll out as desired.
- Blend oil and garlic in a blender until smooth then strain.
- Press flatbread dough into a large rectangle.
- Brush liberally with garlic oil and throw on grill.
- Grill on both sides until golden brown.
- Spread ricotta on one side.
- Salt and Pepper to taste.
- Add tomatoes over.
- Drizzle with Roasted Garlic Oil
- Garnish with Basil.
- Serve Immediately.
Low-calorie cooking in the microwave
For a low-GI start to the day, oatmeal can be ready in just a few minutes (with the added benefit of less washing up) if you make it in the microwave. Jacket potatoes are a healthy microwaveable lunch option that can also be ready at the touch of a button. Add a side salad and some low-fat cream cheese for a delicious midday meal.
Microwaves can also work to your advantage when it comes to dinner time. Vegetables like corn, spinach and green beans cook perfectly well. Team them with some steamed fish and couscous for a healthy meal that’s made for microwaves. And if you’ve still got room for dessert, try heating some fruit pieces and waiting for the ping to add a crunchy topping of granola with a dollop of low-fat greek yoghurt.
In fact, there are a whole host of recipes you can perfect in the microwave; from speedy one-bowl baking to homemade potato chips, this kitchen appliance can do a lot more than it’s given credit for. So ditch the fryer and the casserole dish and take a fresh look at healthy eating with the microwave.