Guest post by Deanna Segrave-Daly, RD
I love Melissa’s Do M.O.R.E. With Dinner initiative and was thrilled when she asked me to contribute via a post and future podcast.
Now true confession: Despite the fact that I’m a registered dietitian, a food blogger and that I love to cook, my family of 3 isn’t always stellar about eating meals together. Most of the time I’m cooking for just my 9-year old and me as the hubs is a fairly limited eater and food doesn’t interest him all that much (I so CAN’T relate.) And my daughter has been going through some food jags of late despite her cooking with me often.
I share all of this to show that even the so-called “experts” aren’t perfect so you don’t have to beat yourself up if you think you’re failing in the family meal department. And the meal patterns that work for my family might not necessarily work for yours. So, that’s why I love to share tips and tricks on how to help with meal preparation, which in turn, may help your overall family’s eating routine.
Healthy Kitchen Hacks is a bi-weekly series on my blog Teaspoon of Spice. My business colleague, Serena Ball, and I share fellow bloggers’ and our own favorite cooking shortcuts, kitchen tricks and “aha” ideas for making healthy meals a snap. Here are my favorite meal-related tips and tricks that can help you do more with dinner!
DIY Taco Shells or Bowls
Tacos are definitely a family favorite in my house – and if you have 10 minutes and soft corn tortillas you can make your own taco shells in your oven. Or serve taco salad instead with these easy-to-make mini homemade taco bowls.
Easy Trick to Make Ground Meat Healthier
Add a can of beans that have been drained, rinsed and mashed to your next batch of ground beef or ground turkey. Not only does this add extra nutrients, but it also gets you more servings out of that batch of meat – it’s a great hack when making taco meat, sloppy joes or meat lasagna.
No-Rise Pizza Dough
You can make homemade pizza dough in 5 minutes with flour, baking powder, salt and a can of beer! No yeast or time for rising needed.
Easy Bean Dish
Add orange zest and a few spices to a can of black beans (rinsed and drained) and you have an instant side dish or flavorful ingredient for tacos, rice, pasta and salads.
Healthier Frozen French Fries
While this does take some time up front prep wise, the result is you’ll have several bags of ready-to-cook veggies in your freezer. Cut up a bunch of potato and sweet potato fries on a weekend and freeze in batches for those busy weekday dinners when you need a veggie to serve.
Speed Up Your Slow Cooker
If you ever need to slash a few hours off of a Crockpot recipe, this chart will help you convert slow cooker cooking times from using low heat to high heat.
How To Jazz Up Canned Tomato Soup
There are so many delicious and nutritious ways to turn tomato soup from a can into a semi-homemade meal. Here are some easy ideas on how to dress up that canned soup.
How to Get Kids to Eat Soup
Speaking of soup, a sure fire way to get kids (and adults) to ask for seconds to that vegetable soup is to top their bowls with grilled cheese croutons!
Ironed Grilled Cheese
And speaking of grilled cheese – this hack is admittedly a bit nutty but your kids will think it’s the coolest thing! You can make grilled cheese sandwiches with your iron in 2 – 3 minutes and no pan to clean afterwards. And if you are like me, now your iron will have a purpose in the house.
If you liked these tips and tricks, visit Deanna’s blog, Teaspoon of Spice, and sign up to receive an email any time a new recipe or Healthy Kitchen Hacks article is posted.
You can hear all about these hacks and MORE in my Sound Bites podcast interview with Deanna!
Based in Philadelphia, Deanna Segrave-Daly, RD, is a food-loving dietitian who co-owns Teaspoon Communications, a food–focused nutrition communications group that consults with a variety of health and food organizations. She blogs at Teaspoon of Spice, with her business partner, Serena Ball, sharing healthy recipes, delicious photography, kitchen hacks and even mishaps in the kitchen.
She is the co-owner of The Recipe ReDux, a healthy food blogger community that inspires monthly recipe challenges as well as the co-founder of Blog Brûlée, an exclusive, intimate weekend workshop for registered dietitians and healthy living bloggers to enhance their online presence. She is also a Features Editor at Healthy Aperture, contributing monthly recipes and posts to the Sweet Splurges column.
Her 9-year old daughter and tricky eater husband keep her inspired to create appealing, good-for-you family cuisine.