The holidays may look a lot different for most of us this year: holiday parties, school concerts, family gatherings, shopping, and vacations may not be happening quite the same way. However, we will still be VERY busy. How about taking some shortcuts and holiday hacks to take some of the pressure off so you can relax and be merry!
- Make it Semi-Homemade
I am all for cooking around here, but sometimes taking shortcuts can turn a potential take-out night into a total kitchen win. For example:
- Grab a rotisserie chicken and incorporate it into soups or chilis so you can reap the benefits of high-quality protein without spending extra time cooking it. Try this One Pot Chicken Chili that your whole family will love!
You can also shred the chicken and stuff lettuce leaves with a squeeze of lime for lunch.Start with your favorite frozen pizza dough, then add your favorite jarred sauce and vegetable toppings plus a sprinkle of flavorful cheese to make it a meal!
- The family loves pizza? Get the frozen pizza dough, then add your favorite jarred spaghetti or marinara sauce and vegetable toppings plus a sprinkle of flavorful cheese to make it a meal!
- Buy the pre-chopped produce, especially those hard-to-manage vegetables that are more time-intensive to prepare like butternut squash. You can toss the veggies with a tablespoon of olive oil and roast for a side dish or add to salads during the week. Keep in mind, if you get the already chopped produce, the cost is a bit higher than chopping it yourself. You will just need to decide if it’s convenience or budget that you are concerned with.
2. Try to Cook Once, But Eat Twice
Batch cooking is an efficient way to keep up with your healthy eating goals no matter what time of year. It basically means cooking more than what you need at the moment so you can use your cooking tools and gadgets at one time. This is not to be confused with leftovers. Batch cooking usually refers to one component so you can repurpose it later. For instance:
- Make a large batch of rice or quinoa so you can easily include it in salads all week long.
- Boil more eggs than you need. It takes the same amount of time to make six as it does to make two. Enjoy as a snack, crumble into salads, or mash with some avocado. Try out this great recipe for a twist on deviled eggs!
- Bake a few more sweet potatoes than you need and you’ll have the base for an easy, customizable lunch ready to go. You can also purée or mash the flesh for baked goods and use it in place of pumpkin in a recipe.
3. Make Sheet Pan and One Pot Meals
I honestly don’t like the cleanup part of being in the kitchen! Anytime I can make it easier on myself, I will! You can search for one-dish meals to seriously cut down on time spent doing the dishes. Here are a few to get you started:
- Roast fish in a pouch. Create baking pouches by lining foil with parchment then crimp for perfectly roasted fish that stays juicy, never dry.
- Roasting your favorite protein with seasonal produce is a tasty way to incorporate a few servings of vegetables into a meal. Try this awesome one-pan chicken stir fry meal!
- Have an Instant Pot? Now would be a good time to start using it! Get frozen proteins to the table fast with this safe and simple pressure cooker. A simple 12-minute recipe: frozen protein (I love using chicken thighs) + favorite jarred tomato sauce (marinara or spaghetti) + a jar of olives = yummy cacciatore that will have everyone running to the table for dinner.
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