Sunday, March 28, 2010

Guest Post from Juicy Fresh Bites


It is with great pleasure to introduce Stephanie from Canada she is a Nutrition student and blogger. I was tweeting with her last week, after I tweeted an article on ready prepared foods and how as a Nation we are lazy in food preparation. She tweeted how she makes chopped veggies and
freezer meals.
I so wish I had one of her meals to come back to on my return to North Carolina today!

How-To Prepare Homemade Convenience Food


Hello Chow and Chatter Readers!

This is Stephanie from Juicy Fresh Bites. I love blogging about my culinary experiments as I try to cook delicious and healthy foods. In addition, I also enjoy sharing my own tips on how to better embrace a healthy, active lifestyle.

Just to tell you a little bit about myself...ever since I was a little girl, I have always been really big on eating. As my passion for food grew stronger, an interest for nutrition also sparked. Hence, I decided to pursue a degree in Dietetics at the University of British Columbia. It is an incredible feeling to be able to breath and talk food and nutrition all day long and share this passion with other like-minded peers. Right now, my focus is to graduate in two years and become an RD. Then, I will like to work as a private consulting dietitian and continue to share my passion with others around me and make a difference in their lives!

And now, let me tell you more about how to prepare your own homemade convenience food and save time in the kitchen!
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More people are relying on store-bought processed foods as their default quick-and-easy meal solutions because they feel preparing their own meals can take too much time and effort. However, putting together a healthy homemade meal doesn’t have to take long at all! In fact, you just allocate some time on the weekends to prepare some fix-and-freeze options, and then you will be able to enjoy home-cooked food even on the busiest weekdays.
 
Grains: Brown Rice, Bread

Making brown rice on the spot when you need it can be quite time-consuming, but reheating pre-cooked brown rice only takes a few minutes. Simply prepare a large batch of brown rice, let it cool to room temperature, then wrap up single portions of rice using plastic wrap to create brown rice balls and stick them into your freezer. Now, whenever you need grains to go with a meal, it will be as easy as grabbing a portion from the freezer and reheating it using the microwave.

Another grain option that freezes well is bread. Tightly wrap bread slices in plastic wrap and they will maintain good quality for up to 6 months (although they never last that long in my house...). To defrost and restore the crisp texture, use a 400F oven or the toaster.

Entree: Meatballs, Frittatas, Soups

With a ready-to-eat supply of grains, all you need is to have make-ahead frozen entrees and you will have all the key components to assembling a fast and easy, hearty meal. It is best to make small-sized entrees because they will be easier to store in the freezer and they will take less time to defrost and reheat. Some great make-ahead entrees include: meatballs, frittatas and soups.


To freeze meatballs, spread them on baking sheets and allow them to freeze solid before transferring to a container. This will prevent the meatballs from clumping together.
Mini frittatas can be the perfect grab-and-go meal option (especially handy for those hectic weekday mornings!). Try baking frittatas in muffin tins for perfect portion control.
Soups are truly the ideal fix-and-forget option since their flavours improve as they sit, so you can make it well in advance. Soups, by itself, may not be enough as a full meal, but you can easily bulk it up by incorporating goodies (for example, add beans for a boost in protein and fiber or a handful of nuts for some heart-healthy fats) and by stirring in brown rice to transform the soup into a hearty and nourishing one-pot meal.

Once you fill your freezer with these different grain and entree options, you can effortlessly treat yourself to a well-balanced and delicious homemade meal at anytime of the day. And when you do have a moment to spare, make an effort to spend a few minutes to dish up some quick vegetables to complement your meal.







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