Party planners: Check out the recipe for Ellie Krieger’s Asian Shrimp Cakes with Avocado Wasabi Sauce with freezer instructions to make it ahead of time.
Find yourself short on time when it comes to cooking at home? We all have moments when we just don’t have the time to cook, whether hurrying out the door in the morning or scrambling for ideas on what to throw together for dinner.
You know the healthiest meals are those you make at home. For starters, when you do the cooking, you know exactly what is going into your food. Even healthy-seeming prepared foods can contain a lot of added salt, sugar, and unhealthy fats that you wouldn’t add in your own kitchen. Cooking at home also helps you feel more connected to food and where it comes from, so you can make more educated food choices overall. And when people eat at home, they tend to eat much more sensible portions than are typically served in a restaurant.
On my new TV show, Ellie’s Real Good Food, I help people address real-life food challenges when it comes to eating healthy, and lack of time always seems to top the list. But it is a myth that you need a lot of time to cook delicious, healthy meals. I have many recipes that can be whipped up in no time, as well as make-ahead meals that can be created when more time permits and then frozen for nights when you need something in a pinch.
Where does the home chef begin? Start with a base of three go-to meals that are easy to make and that you and your family enjoy. From there, incorporate a new recipe each week. Adding one new recipe a week is less overwhelming, and over time you will build an arsenal of wholesome do-ahead meals.
The key is having a pantry and freezer that are well-stocked with all the essential ingredients you need to make a healthy meal in minutes. I keep whole grains, canned diced tomatoes, beans, low-sodium broth, and a variety of nuts in my pantry, along with dried herbs and spices. I stock my freezer with leftovers, frozen fruit and veggies, shrimp, fish fillets, and lean meats.
As for time-saving strategies, one is to cook once and eat twice by doubling a recipe and refrigerating or freezing half to eat later. Another is to take advantage of prewashed greens and precut vegetables, healthy convenience items that can make a difference between a home-cooked dinner and takeout.