One Pot Dishes or Casseroles

Some of my favorite dishes to make are one pot wonders and casseroles.  Every ingredient is in one spot – protein, starch, vegetable.  You could still make a side dish or large salad, but every component of a meal is in one pot!  One of the best parts is there’s only one dish to clean up!  Aside from the cutting board, knife, and utensils.  Plus these dishes make for great leftovers and to take for quick lunches.  Be sure to pack a lot of flavors, herbs, spices, protein, fat, and carbs into the dishes to keep you full and going!  One pot dishes and meals are so homey and warm, making you feel good while still loading up on healthy ingredients.  

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Shred Chicken Easily

Two ways: stand mixer or two forks

The quickest and most efficient way to shred chicken is in a stand mixer, such as a Kitchen Aid.  First, bake chicken or poach/simmer in a pot for about 20-25 minutes, then while hot, add to a stand mixer with the paddle attachment.  Turn on and let the machine do the work for you!  (Cook chicken until internal temperature 165 F.)  You will have beautiful shredded chicken you can use for many meals – like in my post Batch Cook Proteins For More Meals

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Flavor Up Your Water

Infused water – add flavor to your water to enhance and look fancy!  This also can add vitamins and minerals, while making for yummy snacks after the water is gone.  Refrigerate your flavored water overnight or the morning of.  One of my favorite things to do is freeze ice cubes with a berry and/or mint in each cube compartment.  Also freeze straight lemon or orange juice to add to water or sparkling beverages.  Have fun with it!!  

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Batch Cook Proteins for More Meals

Cook a larger batch of a main protein, such as chicken or beef, to make multiple meals with.  Keep the seasonings neutral or simple  salt and pepper.  A super easy meal that can be made in batches and kept in the refrigerator or freezer are soups – use almost any protein cut up or sliced.

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Swap Proteins to Try Healthier Dishes

Many different types of proteins can be substituted whether it be for health, flavor, or availability.  Trying new proteins, especially lean proteins can decrease your intake of fats and salt while still achieving great flavors.  Explore new options and recipes; I know I’m always researching how I can change a recipe or create a new one with ingredients I have!  Many recipes you can easily change the main protein while still using the same seasonings and marinades.  Also, changing the form of cooking such as using the grill, smoker, oven, stovetop, or braising pot can alter the flavors and textures.

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First In, First Out Rule

The First In, First Out (FIFO) system is used for old and new foods that need to be rotated in the fridge.  Specifically when food and box cartons are labeled with an “opened” date or simply the expiration date.  Now in a home fridge (versus restaurant) you probably aren’t going to date your food since it’s your fridge, but you can watch for expiration dates.  FIFO for a home fridge is more to be aware of food that is opened, old, or needs to be used up.  FIFO = food that goes in first, needs to be out first.

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Portion seasoned meats into individual bags

This falls into the category of make-ahead meals, which has many options!  Prep and marinate fresh meats like chicken or beef, then place into ziploc sandwich bags, gallon bags, or storage containers.  

For example, I like to add my marinade to chicken, place into sandwich bags, let marinate all day or overnight in the refrigerator, then if I’m not going to use it all, I’ll place the extra bags in the freezer.  Flatten the meat and stack them (as much as possible) so you can utilize the best freezer space.

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Freeze cooking stock and broth

Do you ever have leftover stock or broth in the back of your fridge?  Don’t know what to do with it?  Now you can freeze it!  Place into ice cube trays, muffin tins (preferably silicone), or even small zip lock bags.  The silicone makes ingredients come out much easier.  Label the bags or trays so you know which kind of broth(s) there is.  Once the broth or stock is frozen, pop them out of the trays or tins and keep in a gallon bag.   

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