“That looks like it is work!” Homemade Mac and Cheese and Homemade meatballs

Jun 9th

Last week as I brought a few of my meals to swim team practice as proof that it can be done. I got a lot of comments like “That still looks like a lot of work”.
To eat healthy there is going to be a little work. Even Hermione could not magically conjure a meal out of thin air for Harry Potter. So without a personal chef or live-in help, we all do have to cook to some degree most nights if we want to eat healthy.
Don’t give up now or stop reading! You can do it!!
Here are some basic concepts that we all need to start with:
1. Get back in the Kitchen; you need to get cooking to eat clean
2. Become a planner! As the scouts say “Always Be Prepared”; it takes a plan to eat healthy
3. Start with comfort foods
Healthy food is not always going to be the quickest option. Fast food got its name because it is indeed fast. To make things fast and easy to make quick companies had to add chemicals and preservatives and lots of added things to make them taste appealing and fast.
BUT, if you prepare some things in advance and have a well-stocked fridge and pantry you can decrease the prep time. Everyone has different schedule and different activities that dictate their schedule. What works for me is not going to be exactly what works for you. Looking at your own family’s structure is what is important. A working mom is different than a part time mom is different than a stay at home mom. A swim team family is different than a football family. We all have unique needs. For some people cooking a batch of things on Sunday might be the way to go to be prepared for the week. For others doubling a certain recipe on any given night might work. For others there is no time for advanced cooking. I can help you identify what issues you have surrounding your own family and we can come up with things that work for you together. This is what works for me based on our ever-changing schedule at this busy end of the school year.

Ditch the Kraft Mac and Cheese.  Homemade Mac and Cheese with steamed broccoli poolside.

Ditch the Kraft Mac and Cheese. Homemade Mac and Cheese with steamed broccoli poolside.

I started with comfort foods because you can always rely on comfort foods being a crowd pleaser. Last week I finished off the week by making homemade macaroni and cheese and homemade meatballs and sauce.
Meatballs are a favorite in our house. Meatballs are also one thing that my husband can make. So I can make the sauce and he can make the meatballs and we now have tag teamed a meal. I store the meatballs in Mason jars. I put some in the refrigerator and some in the freezer. I can pull them out for school lunches, put them with past, put them on a roll for a meatball sandwich. They can be served plain for those who limit their carbs yet still be satisfying.
Italian Meatballs in mason jars for easy portions for quick meals

Italian Meatballs in mason jars for easy portions for quick meals

So even though it took me a little bit of upfront time one night, I now have several other nights where I can quickly pull out a meal in 20 minutes or at 9pm when homework and bed are pressing in on us.
And then sometimes you just need to be even quicker and you can’t cook. I decided to run to the big Whole Foods near us in between a lesson and the next sporting event. I grabbed some fresh Carolina BBQ pork and some fresh buns that had less than 5 ingredients. I cut up some quick raw veggies. It was a quick meal. The BBQ could have been assembled in the car if needed. Wrapping up some of the sandwiches to go would be great for kids in long practices. The key here was getting freshly made items. I can rely on Whole foods to have fresh baked items that are not loaded with additives and preservatives. Even my beloved Wegmans fails me in the fresh bread department. Look at your local stores and find which stores work for you that have fresh made foods. Contact me if you want to learn more about why we need to eat products with 5 ingredients or less.

So as I start another week of busy nights I already have meatballs, homemade macaroni and cheese, and some left over BBQ. I can now mix those in on the nights where I really have no time to cook. This week I think we are moving to the grill.

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