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I don’t know about you but when I cook every cabinet door is open, every pot and pan gets used and I end up with a huge mess. All of that work for a meal that lasts ten minutes and takes twice as long to clean up if you’re lucky! Food preparation doesn’t have to be a mystery, you can still eat a varied menu and be satisfied.
Since I know I’m a tornado, I do everything in my power to avoid multiple clean ups. We have all heard of one pot meals, but how about cooking up a larger quantity of a basic staple to assist you throughout the week?
Two pounds of a particular food can be turned into different meals without the hassle of recreating the wheel (and mess) every night.
When you cook your staples add flavor to your base. In this case your base is going to be the protein or the starch. You can create delicious, nutritious meals for your family by freezing and making a little extra! Keep reading to find out how!
The ultimate staple right? Chicken doesn’t have to be boring, it doesn’t have to be dry and it doesn’t have to be fried.
Use the covered chicken method for velvety soft chicken every time. Once I discovered this recipe, I never turned back!
- Prepare the chicken by shaking it in a bag of flour, salt and pepper to lightly cover the chicken.
- Place 1-2 tablespoons of oil in a pan, warm oil to high heat.
- Once oil is hot, place 2-3 chicken breasts in the pan.
- Cook for 3-4 minutes or until 1st side is golden brown.
- Flip chicken and turn heat to Medium High
- Cover the pan with a piece of tin foil
- DO NOT PEEK FOR 10 MINUTES
- Voila, perfect chicken every time.
- Slice into chicken to ensure it’s cooked all the way through.
- If you want to stuff the chicken, slice it through the middle after it has been cooked and cooled to keep all your juices in the breast. Store the breasts in a fridge or freezer. If you freeze it, thaw and stuff the chicken, then warm it in the oven.
Easy Stuffed Chicken Options:
- Grilled Pineapple and Jalapenos
- Pesto, Mozzarella, Spinach
- Peppers, Onions and Cheddar
- Ham and Swiss
- Buffalo Sauce, Cream Cheese, Cheddar and Ranch
- Sun dried Tomatoes, Goat Cheese
- Broccoli, Cheddar
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Make sure to sprinkle cheese or excess sauce over your breasts before baking to keep it moist or make it gooey.
If you don’t want to stuff your chicken there are some great options for pre-cooked chicken too. Simply chop or pull chicken after is cooked.
- Chicken Fajitas
- Chicken and Dumplings
- Pulled Chicken Sandwich
- Chicken Tacos
- Chicken Salad Sandwiches
Ground Beef / Chicken / Pork
The next staple to explore is the ground meat option. There’s so many flavors to explore here! Most meats can be interchanged, just account and consider the fat content of the meat altering your recipe slightly.
Add flavor to your ground meat by chopping an onion and ½ a head of garlic. Sauté veggies first, then together with the protein and add salt and pepper to taste. Cook until your meat is golden in color.
For Asian inspired ground meat, add 2 tablespoons of fresh chopped ginger and 1 tablespoon of teriyaki or soy.
Add bouillon to richen your flavors. Beef bouillon is my favorite, I add it whenever possible for extra flavor depth. This is especially great for Spaghetti Bolognese.
Cumin and cayenne are an excellent sources of flavor for any chili.
Egg Roll Bowl Recipe:
- Spray pan with cooking oil
- Brown and drain ground meat of choice. Set meat aside.
- Sautee 1 small onion, 1 can of water chestnuts, 1-2 tablespoons of ginger with 1 tablespoon of garlic
- Combine meat and ginger mixture with teriyaki and soy sauce for depth
- Add cole slaw mixture by the handful and cook down
- Serve on top of rice, garnish with wonton noodles, sesame seeds or almond slivers.
Our family makes the egg roll recipes at least once per week. It’s so good, and keeps well. Grab some wonton wrappers and bake these little guys up for a special treat.
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Ground Meat Suggestions:
- Lettuce Wraps
- Stuffed Peppers (could also stuff with grains to make vegetarian)
- Salisbury Steak
- Roadkill (hamburger smothered in mushrooms, onions and cheese)
I always strain my ground meat after it’s brown. You can easily cut out extra calories and fat in less than a minute. Your body will thank you!
Rice isn’t always thought of as a staple main course in the United States, but it’s worldwide importance makes it undeniable as a key ingredient.
I could eat rice any day of the week. I love to throw some almonds slivers and soy sauce on mine. It’s a great snack or meal on the go.
Brown rice takes longer to cook than white rice but cooking either or are time-consuming! Next time you make rice, cook a triple batch. Rice will even freeze well.
- Fried Rice
- Black Beans and Rice
- Dolmas (stuffed grape leaves)
- Cinnamon Fried Rice
- Red Beans and Rice (add sausage or ground pork for extra flavor)
*Fried rice is actually made with rice that is a day old. Enough moisture escapes the rice over-night which allows the egg mixture to not re-absorb back into the rice to not get mushy.
Virtually any flavor can be added to rice. Get a little adventurous!
I know what you’re thinking… vegetarian options that last longer than a day? What am I going to freeze… a salad? No, not exactly. You’re going to need to think outside your normal box a bit but you can make and store different vegetarian options for your family quite easily.
1 can of garbanzo beans rinsed and drained
Corn rinsed and drained – 1 can
1 can of kidney beans or black beans
1 frozen bag of mirepoix veggies (onions, celery and carrots)
3 can of crushed tomatoes
1 green pepper
Carrots, corn, beans and other starchy vegetables freeze exceedingly well as do soups and sauces. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with combining all of it and calling it a meal. Dump everything into your crock pot and let mellow for 4-6 hours on medium.
I hope that this post inspired you to think outside the literal box when it comes to quick and healthy homemade meals.
Simplify your life as much as possible. Freezing your own food is infinitely healthier, cheaper and better for you than anything you buy frozen in the store.
There’s going to be considerably less waste in your house if you take a bit more time to plan your meals.
Do you multi-purpose meals for your family? What’s your favorite creation? I would love to hear about it and share it!
Food is so important to our families and our own well-being. Have a little fun, introduce some new tastes and flavors and expand your options when it comes to eating healthfully.
Would you like some lifestyle tips before you go? You’ll love these!
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Thanks for reading, be sure and pin this article if you found it inspirational you never know who you could be helping. Much love till next time!