Growing up in Las Vegas, us kids would look for any way to cool down in the summertime. One of our favorite spots to frequent was the local smoothie bar for 32 glorious ounces of frozen fruity goodness. We slurped down every drop of those […]
Month: August 2017
Without a doubt, meal planning is one of the most important habits acquired by individuals with good nutrition. Meal planning eliminates room for excuses and poor food choices by ensuring that nutritious meals and snacks are always within reach. Additional benefits of planning meals ahead […]
I’m all about simplifying the way we cook and eat. Growing up, I would spend hours watching chefs on the cooking channels and pour over my favorite cookbooks but when it came to recreating these meals at home, I either lacked the laundry list of ingredients or the fancy gadgets needed to make them. One of my biggest goals as a dietitian was to teach clients that no matter how “skilled” you were in the kitchen or where you shopped for groceries, you could put together nutritious, delicious, colorful meals with simple ingredients – no frills required.
One of the best ways we can simplify our work in the kitchen is through batch cooking. Batch cooking involves preparing a large quantity of a single meal to be split up and eaten throughout the week or frozen. Some meal examples include soups or stews, casseroles, and pasta salads.
Benefits of batch cooking are:
- Saves time – less time spent preparing and cooking throughout the week
- Saves money – spend less by purchasing fewer ingredients each week and anticipate future food costs
- Food for the future – weekday meals at your fingertips or freeze for later
- Decreases food waste – decreases your chances of “overbuying” food (esp. produce) and not consuming it before it goes bad
One of my favorite things about batch cooking is that once you establish a base recipe that you enjoy, you can alter the spices, seasonings, and other components each time you prepare it to give it a whole new look! This way you don’t get stuck in a rut and grow tired of the same meal. Get creative and share with us your favorite add-ins!
Our go-to meal to batch cook is our take on Spanish Rice. This hearty, flavorful meal is perfect for those busy weeks when you don’t have a lot of time to spare. In fact, the most work spent prepping this recipe is chopping the veggies. No kidding.
Nutrition Notes: This recipe is loaded with lean protein, flavorful spices, and filling fiber from whole grains and veggies to keep you full and satisfied for hours. Garlic and onions are part of a special family of vegetables known as Allium, which in laboratory studies have been shown to promote anti-cancer effects. For best benefit, researchers recommend chopping your garlic and onions 10-15 minutes prior to cooking to allow the helpful compounds to do their work! For more information, visit their website.
1 lb ground lean turkey breast or beef
1 yellow onion, diced
2-3 bell peppers (any color), diced
2 ½ cups veggie, chicken, or beef broth
1 cup brown rice, dry
1-16 oz. can fire roasted tomatoes
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp white vinegar
¼ tsp pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1 ½ tbsp chili powder or more to taste
Heat olive oil in a large soup pot over medium. Brown turkey until fully cooked. Add all other ingredients and stir well. Bring mixture up to a boil, then cover and simmer for roughly 40-50 minutes (or until liquid is absorbed and rice is soft).
Optional garnishes: fresh cilantro, plain Greek yogurt, or cheddar cheese (or all 3!)
Nutrition Facts (per 1 cup serving)
Calories – 186 Fat – 4g Carbohydrates -13g Protein – 24g
- Replace turkey with 1 can beans of choice, rinsed and drained
- Cut brown rice down to 1/2 cup
- Add 1/2 cup tricolor quinoa
- Replace turkey breast with nitrite-free andouille sausage (rec. brand Aidells )
- Add 1 cup white mushrooms, washed and diced
- Add 1/2 cup chopped okra (fresh or frozen)
- Cut chili powder down to 2 tsp
- Add 1/8 tsp chipotle chili powder or smoked paprika
- Optional: add pinch of cayenne powder
With school back in session, folks around here are already gearing up for Fall. Never mind the weather here in the desert is still in the 90s, people are itching for their fuzzy boots, scarves, and pumpkin-spiced froufrou drinks. Don’t get me wrong, we at […]
Granola bars truly are a perfect little snack. Not too big, not too small, chewy, chocolatey, with just the right bit of crunch. They fit the bill for that afternoon sweet tooth and are a portable, on-the-go snack for kids of all ages 🙂
Here in the SOC Kitchen we like to keep a steady supply of our “Grown Up Granola Bars” on hand at all times. I initially began making these for Stephen back when we were dating. I don’t want to say it’s what sealed the deal for him, but…. 😉 Different from store bought bars, we’ve upgraded our bars to be chock full of nutritious ingredients designed to promote good health and help keep you satisfied longer. Basically, a win-win.
This recipe allows you to mix and match your favorite “add ins” depending on your preference week to week or, let’s be honest, based on what you already have on hand. This is a simple recipe that your kiddos will love to make with you!
Nutrition Notes: Walnuts, walnut oil, and flaxseeds are rich in omega 3 fatty acids, which can help reduce arterial inflammation and promote healthy cholesterol levels. In infants, omega 3s are important in the development of brain and nerve function. These bars also include good sources of iron, vitamin E, B vitamins including folate, and soluble fiber.
Be sure to grab one before they’re all gone!
Grown Up Granola Bars
2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour (rec. Bob’s Red Mill brand)
1/3 cup ground flaxseeds (rec. Bob’s Red Mill brand)
1/3 cup wheat germ
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup walnut or canola oil
Add Ins (Your pick adding up to 1 cup TOTAL). Here are some of our favorite combos:
Walnuts and chocolate chips
Cashews and dried apricot pieces
Dried cherries, pistachios, and chocolate chips
Unsweetened coconut flakes and dried cranberries
Pecans and dried blueberries
- In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients, including add ins. Mix until well combined.
- Next, add in your oil, honey, vanilla, and egg and gently fold until fully incorporated. If mixture looks too dry, add additional oil and honey, 1 tsp each at a time.
- Pour mixture into an oiled 8×8 baking pan. Using a spatula (or your hands), gently press the mixture down evenly into the pan.
- Bake in a 350 degree oven for approx. 22 minutes. Edges should be turning slightly golden. Place pan on a cooling rack for 10-12 minutes prior to slicing.
- Slice into 16 2″x2″ bars. Store in the fridge.
Nutrition Facts (per 2″x2″ bar):
Calories – 215 Fat – 9g Carbohydrates -30g Fiber -3g Protein – 4g