BY CAROL HARRISON, RD
Since the pandemic began, many Canadians have been preparing more meals at home. While this is a positive change, cooking fatigue is beginning to set in – and when that happens, convenience foods and takeout meals start to look awfully tempting. Help your clients stay on track with these three easy ways to refresh a kitchen routine.
- Save time with big-batch cooking.
Cooking and freezing a big batch of a versatile dish is one of my favourite life hacks – it’s like a gift to our future selves. Not only does batch cooking save time, but you can take advantage of lower pricing on bulk-packaged fresh ingredients. Big Batch Mexicali Beef is a great example: cook once and you’ll have several portions of tasty, protein-rich lean meat ready to add to pasta sauce, chili, quesadillas, soups, and casseroles.
Find the recipe in the Cook Smart Strategies resource below.
Good to know: By law, lean ground meats – whether ground beef, chicken or turkey – all have the same maximum fat content. Lean is lean, regardless of the type of meat.
Get more easy dinner ideas from Cook Smart Strategies.
- Add new flavours.
We all have our go-to dishes, but nearly nine months into the pandemic, they might be getting a little tired. Cooking with what’s in season is one easy way to add variety. Other ideas to liven things up: try a new recipe each week (main course or side dish), give familiar dishes a flavour twist with different herbs and spices.
Good to know: Remind your clients that frozen produce is just as nutritious as fresh, and it’s often more budget friendly.
Read tips on meal planning from Dietitians of Canada.
- Lean on your slow cooker
The slow cooker has made a big comeback in the past few years, as more home cooks discover the benefits: it’s convenient (you don’t need to tend to it constantly), budget-friendly (longer cooking tenderizes cheaper cuts of meat, such as roasts and pork shoulders), energy-efficient and easy to clean. Slow cookers are also terrific for big-batch cooking, from applesauce and pasta sauce to chili and beef pot roast.
Get tips on freezing foods safely.