25 ingredients, 15 meals

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p1020435We started our video, How to Stock Your Kitchen for Fast and Easy Meals, by showing what to buy and keep on hand for each MyPyramid food group - and then realized - we are going to lose our audience because it is too overwhelming to show so many foods - although we had a lot of fun listing the best items from each food group and we are probably going to make a fun handout using our list.

So after watching our first take, my assistant and I decided that we have to come up with a master list of around 20 foods to buy and then show  at least 12 different fast meals you can make from these ingredients! That is a challenge!! I do admit to stretching the list to 25 items, but then I did come up with 15 different items you can make with those that everyone will like that are easy to prepare - we make them over and over here and my son can even make some of them.

Here is our list of foods starting with whole grains, lean protein, fruits and vegetables and dairy (mostly fat-free except for Parmesan cheese which is used sparingly):

  1. Pasta, whole grain penne
  2. Brown rice
  3. Tortillas, whole wheat
  4. Lentils
  5. Chicken, whole
  6. Fish
  7. Walnuts
  8. Salad mix
  9. Fresh spinach
  10. Tomatoes, plum
  11. Baby carrots
  12. Broccoli
  13. Butternut squash
  14. Zucchini
  15. Onions
  16. Canned diced tomatoes, no added salt
  17. Strawberries
  18. Blueberries
  19. Celery
  20. Apples
  21. Potatoes
  22. No Salt Added Tomato Sauce
  23. Fat-free sour cream
  24. Yogurt – light vanilla
  25. Parmesan cheese

The cost for all of those ingredients was just $63!! (This assumes you have staple cooking items like oregano, black pepper, cumin, coriander, ginger, garlic, bay leaves, thyme, vinegar, oil, soy sauce and sesame oil on hand. )

And our list of meals - including 1 snack and 2 desserts:

  1. Lentils and rice – plain, winter squash, onions
  2. Lentils and rice – burrito or wrap
  3. Whole chicken - Roasted with potatoes/onions, carrots, salad
  4. Chicken salad – with chicken, potatoes, salad
  5. Chicken - pasta, broth, veggies
  6. Chicken with rice – arroz con pollo
  7. Chicken stir fry – spinach, celery, broccoli, onions, carrots
  8. Chicken rice veggie soup
  9. Fish – microwave with zucchini and rice
  10. Tortilla Pizza
  11. Potato Pizza – potatoes with plum tomatoes, spinach, onions, parmesan cheese
  12. Baked stuffed potato – potato with broccoli, ff sour cream, parmesan
  13. Snack platter with apples, carrots, celery
  14. Dessert with berries and yogurt
  15. Apple sauce with vanilla yogurt

We feel this teaches many lessons -

  • Making balanced low-fat, high-fiber meals that are based on grains, fruits and vegetables with minimal amounts of animal protein and fat - helps you get to requirements of MyPyramid and the Dietary Guidelines
  • Buying more fruits and veggies is a great idea to add variety and color for all of your meals - note how we just have a few grains and lean protein items on our list
  • You can save money, time and calories by cooking yourself versus going out to eat.
  • You save a lot of money by buying less-processed food and it really doesn't take that much more time or effort to cook yourself - with our easy ways of course!
  • Stocking your kitchen for fast healthy meals that save significant time, money and calories from eating out
  • How to use planned overs
  • Meal planning and list making
  • Time saving tips
  • Cooking tips

Stay tuned!

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