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Cooking Ahead

Posted Oct 10 2008 2:12pm

COOKING TIP #1

Cooking ahead is one of the mainstays of Hasty Tasty Meals. This weekend, I caught a buy-one-get-one-free sale at my local supermarket on London broil-cut roasts and boneless, skinless chicken breasts. I stuck both roasts in my gourmet slo-cooker and let them roast while I “fried” the chicken breasts in my electric skillet (It took two batches for the quantity of chicken breasts) for 25 minutes. In addition, I cooked up a bag of brown rice, which can be reheated and used in a number of meals .

I sliced half of the roast and froze in meal-size portions using my Food Saver (those are handy, but you can also use Ziploc® Freezer bags). I also packaged and froze meal-portions of the chicken breasts. Then I shredded some of the beef for burritos, cubed some for a beef pot pie, and ate sliced roast for dinner warmed with my broth-cornstarch fat-free gravy.

Some of the chicken will be used for chicken salad, some shredded for burritos (we love burritos), and some will be warmed in gravy and served for dinner as with the beef. I’m finished cooking for the week, I’m serving us healthful meals, and I’ve saved money!

COOKING TIP #2

A Vita-Mix is expensive, but I can’t imagine giving mine up. Here’s a yummy way to have a serving of dairy and a serving of fruit:

To the Vita-mix, add:

1 cup skim milk
2 oranges, peeled
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract

¼ cup Splenda® granular
¼ cup powdered milk
2 cups ice cubes

Blend on high for one minute until smooth and frothy. Makes two 16-oz shakes. It rivals the fast food orange cream shakes in taste, and is a lot more healthful.

RECIPE

With summer coming up, we’re faced with the cookout season. Don’t let get-togethers derail your healthful eating. If there’s an opportunity to contribute to the meal, offer to bring a dish or two. Then you’ll control the ingredients! Are you a sucker for the ever-popular green bean casserole? (I’m not, and only God knows why that dish’s popularity endures, :? but that’s just my opinion) If so, here’s my lightened version.

GREEN BEAN CASSEROLE

Serves 8

Ingredients:

½ small onion, thinly sliced

1 Tablespoon butter

2 regular size cans of reduced sodium green beans, drained

1 can Campbell’s Healthy Recipe Cream of Mushroom Condensed Soup

½ cup skim milk (add more if needed)

1 8-oz can mushrooms stems and pieces, drained

½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese

½ cup crushed corn flakes

Directions:

Melt the butter in a medium skillet then add onion slices. Cook until onions caramelize. (This is when the sugars in the onions turn them a nice brown color) Remove from heat and set aside. Meanwhile, in a large measuring pitcher, combine the soup and milk then blend. Stir in the mushrooms.

In a three-quart baking dish, combine the soup mixture with the green beans. Spread the cooked onion slices on top, then sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and crushed corn flakes.

Bake, uncovered, for thirty minutes. It’s not the French-fried-onion-rings-on-top version, but it’ll still have crunch and taste good, too. Eliminating the onion rings saves a ton of empty calories, but keep that to yourself.

Happy Summer!:)

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