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Cooking Hacks for the New Year 2018

By Margaret Martin, RD, MS, LDN, CDCES January 29, 2018Pearls of Wisdom Blog

Baby, it’s cold outside! Winter is here, and a chill is in the air. The last thing you may want to do is to brave the weather for a grocery run. Plus, the cold and flu season is in full swing so may want to protect yourself by avoiding the outside elements. As a person with cancer or a caregiver, you do have food prep options in bad weather.

Here are some cooking hacks you can use to make a meal with the food you may already have in the kitchen.

Expand recipe options with your digital devices.

Search websites and apps that suggest recipes with the ingredients you have in your kitchen.

  • All Recipes: You can search their database of recipes by ingredients online or through their mobile app.
  • SuperCook: Just add your ingredients and SuperCook instantly finds matching recipes from the most popular cooking websites.
  • Epicurious: The app lets you enter a main ingredient on hand and points you to a recipe.

Use kitchen appliances to make food prep easier.

Did you get the latest kitchen gadget over the holidays? Are small appliances still hiding in your cabinets ready to be used? These tools can save time and energy which helps you prepare a meal with less effort. Examples include rice steamers, instant cooking pots, slow-cookers, and blenders (even better with a heating function). Look at the appliance manual or online for recipes.

Bake up a bread bowl.

If you have more bread than appetite for sandwiches, consider using the bread as a serving vessel. Think more than steaming soups here. Use the bread bowl for breakfast, brunch, lunch, a new twist on pizza, with leftover curries or stews, or even for appetizers like veggie dips or deviled eggs. Use the hollowed out bread to make croutons the next day for soup or salads.

Spread the love.

Do you have cheese, nuts, fresh or dried fruits, olives, vegetables, or yogurt? You may have all you need for a fun spread of veggie sticks, crackers, toasted wraps, or whole-grain pita wedges. Get protein with a burst of fruit or veggie flavors.

Sip on a steaming cup.

Hot hearty beverages and soups can be a snack, a standalone meal, or side dish. Use your pantry to guide you in your recipe selection.

Feast on a frittata.

A frittata is a versatile entrée which can be served any time of day. A go-to recipe for those last minute meals. Plus, you can stir in leftover cooked vegetables, chopped meat or chicken, or of course, any cheese you may have for variety.

Explore food delivery services.

Some groceries and specialty stores now offer food delivery to your home for a fee. Another option is to use their shopping service where the store gathers the items on your grocery list and you pick-up your order curbside without getting out of your car. Search online for this service in your area and any fees. Often the convenience fee may be waived for your initial grocery order.

Don’t let the weather get in the way of eating healthfully this winter. Think about recipes to use that include the ingredients you have in your kitchen. Or ask nearby neighbors to share ingredients. Use resources to help you save time and energy. Skype with family and friends to get more food ideas.

Have fun tasting new dishes and flavors. New flavors and spices can also help enhance your appetite which can decline during and after treatment. Use this cold weather to energize your kitchen and cooking skills. Your body will thank you for it!


More recipe ideas:

Pumpkin Spice “Latte”

Cream of Spinach Soup

Winter Squash Raisin Bread

Herbed Chicken Cutlets with Roasted Winter Vegetables

Old Fashioned Tomato Soup

Okra Soup for Painful Swallowing

Thai Pork and Noodle Soup

Beef Noodle Bowl

Coconut and Crispy Chickpea Trail Mix

Quinoa Kale Cakes

Chocolate Pudding Poke Cake

  • Tip: Add a cup of grated vegetables like carrots, squash, and zucchini to add extra fiber and nutrients! No chocolate pudding available? Use the pudding you have in the pantry—such as vanilla or pistachio.
Margaret Martin, RD, MS, LDN, CDCES

Author Margaret Martin, RD, MS, LDN, CDCES

Nutrition Educator Margaret Martin is a Licensed Dietitian and Nutritionist in the State of Tennessee as well as a Certified Diabetes Educator. Margaret graduated from the University of Alabama with a Bachelor of Science in Dietetics and received her Master’s Degree in Nutrition Science & Public Health from the University of Tennessee. With more than 10 years of experience in Clinical Nutrition, Margaret has also worked in the insurance industry with WellPoint Inc. and Blue Cross Blue Shield providing telephonic nutrition consultations, service assistance, and web-based nutrition education. In her free time Margaret volunteers with the American Lung Association’s annual “Lung Force Walk" in Middle Tennessee. She belongs to the Oncology Nutrition & Diabetes Care and Education Dietetic Practice Groups of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

More posts by Margaret Martin, RD, MS, LDN, CDCES

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