As a working mom, I know that home cooked meals are so much healthier than any option that I can pick up at a restaurant or a store, so I work to make homemade meals 4-5 nights per week.
It’s not easy.
But I do have a few strategies I’ve come up with over the years to make it more possible.
1.) Start with simple menu planning. Keep a list of your family’s favorite meals (and new ones you’d like to try) handy. Planning for 4-5 homecooked meals per week requires just a short list of 16-20 recipes per month. Instead of planning to make specific meals each day, I make a list of 5 meals that I plan for the week. One meal will usually fall on the weekend when I have more time, but otherwise, I stick with simple meals that can be made in 30 minutes.
Once I’m armed with my short list of meals for the week, I make my shopping list.
2.) Stick with simple, healthy recipes that use ingredients that are easy to keep on hand. As I mentioned above, I reserve one meal per week for trying new things or more extensive prep, but otherwise I stick with simple, tasty, healthy recipes that have a short list of ingredients. It simplifies shopping and preparation time when I’m busy.
3.) Make a list of “staples” to keep on hand. Include ingredients for one “emergency meal”. Part of keeping you and your family on track for eating healthy means that you plan for days when things go awry. My emergency meals include organic whole wheat pasta + marinara + frozen broccoli, or ingredients for our favorite salad.
I wanted to share these tips today as we’re moving into the busiest months of the year, so you’d understand why I choose the recipes that I do for our family! Hopefully these are recipes that you can use to help you accomplish your goals for healthy eating for your family as well!
Today I wanted to share the recipe for a favorite of mine – I’ve modified it from what my mom used to make us when we were growing up, and now our family enjoys it, too.
Spanish Style Rice
2-1/2 c. long grain brown rice
2 c. fresh tomato, chopped (you can also substitute canned in the winter when tomatoes aren’t as tasty, but fresh is best)
2 c. organic chicken or vegetable stock
1/2 medium green pepper, diced
1 medium sweet onion, diced
3 stalks celery, diced
1-2 T. chili powder (according to your family’s taste)
1/2 tsp. cumin
Combine all ingredients in a medium to large heavy bottomed pot. Bring to a boil on medium/high heat. Reduce heat, cover with the lid slightly open, and simmer for about 30 minutes, or until the liquid is absorbed and the rice grains are tender.
While the rice is cooking, heat
1 c. tender frozen corn
1-1/2 c. black beans
If you’re using canned beans, be sure to drain a rinse them. I cook a full bag of dried beans every few weeks and then freeze off individual portions. I’ve found that they taste better and are way lower in sodium.
Once the rice is cooked, add the corn and room temperature beans, and 1 tsp. of salt. Note: if you’re using dried beans, you may need to add more salt.
This is great as a side, or main portion of your meal. We always serve it along with salad.