Now that you’re done with college finals and getting ready to make the big move to an off-campus house or apartment-style dorm, there’s going to be a lot more planning today besides choosing what classes to take. Chances are you’ll have to start cooking a few meals a week for yourself. Though you may have a full kitchen set up, you still need a few more things here or there to make your kitchen functional. Here’s a short list of some essentials to get you ready to whip up a meal:
• Knife – a good knife should feel comfortable or well-balanced in your hand. If you plan on cooking often, purchasing a quality 6-10” chef’s knife is suitable for slicing meats or cutting fruits and vegetables. Using a sharp, sturdy knife can make a big difference when you have a lot of prep work to do.
• Cutting board – having a cutting board is important for any prep work that needs to be done in the kitchen. The right cutting board will protect the blades of your knives, prevent the spread of harmful bacteria, and simplify cleanup. There are many options, ranging from plastic and wood or glass. Features to consider: look for a board with two usable sides, nonslip edges that will keep the board securely in place during prep, and a groove that will catch liquids and prevent spills. Also, flexible boards making transferring items easier, handles allow for easy lifting and carrying, and color-coding helps prevent cross-contamination of ingredients.
• Skillet with lid – a large skillet gives you the flexibility of cooking practically anything. You can poach fish, make sauces, stir fry vegetables, sear meats, cook pastas, and many more with just a single piece of equipment.
• Spatula – a spatula can be used for mixing and blending ingredients and for scraping food from the sides of a bowl. Look for one that is made of heat-resistant materials so it won’t melt or burn your hand.
Now that you have all the tools to put together anything from a fruit salad to beef bourguignon, why not try out these two popular American recipes? They’re altered to be healthier, and they’re perfect to make on one day and to be enjoyed for the rest of the week. If you’re interested in even more recipes, check out the original post on my blog, Lettucespoon: http://lettucespoon.blogspot.com/2014/03/balance-your-lifes-chopped-greek-salad.html
Crispy Cornflake Crusted Chicken Parmigiana (serves 8-10)
2 lb skinless chicken breast, cut into strips
1 cup cornflakes, grinded into crumbs
½ cup parmesan
1 cup low fat milk
Salt, pepper, garlic powder, dried Italian spices (oregano, basil, etc.)
4 oz (½ bag) shredded mozzarella
1 large can (28oz) crushed tomatoes, no salt
6 tbs olive oil
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a shallow bowl, combine the cornflakes, parmesan and 1/4 teaspoon each salt, pepper, garlic powder, and oregano.
3. Place the milk in another shallow bowl. Coat each chicken breast with the cornflake mixture, then the milk, then again with the cornflake mixture.
4. Transfer the coated chicken to an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet.
5. Bake the chicken until cooked through, about 25-30 minutes.
6. In the meantime, prepare the sauce by heating the olive oil with the can of crushed tomatoes.
7. Once the tomato sauce is bubbling, add salt, pepper, and spices to taste. Turn heat to low and set aside.
8. At the twenty minute mark, remove chicken from the oven and ladle on a spoonful of tomato sauce and sprinkle on mozzarella cheese. Bake for another 5-10 minutes.
9. While waiting for the cheese to melt and the chicken to finish, scoop the pasta into the remaining tomato sauce and mix well.
✓ lean protein
✓ low sodium
✓ monounsaturated fats
– Serve with whole wheat penne pasta and/or a vegetable such as olive oil sauteed broccoli or a romaine lettuce salad.
– For a vegetarian option, replace chicken with firm tofu, and coat with egg instead of milk.
– Skip the tomato sauce and mozzarella, and you have delicious crispy chicken fingers.
– When making the sauce, feel free to incorporate vegetables such as fresh tomatoes, mushrooms, zucchini, peppers, or onions. These will add more flavor and nutrients to your meal.
Turkey Black Bean Chili (serves 8-12)
1lb ground turkey
3 large green bell peppers
3 large yellow bell peppers
1 can black beans
1 can sweet corn
1 32oz can diced tomatoes
3 tbs chili powder
1 tbs ground cumin
1 tbs garlic powder
1 tsp salt
shredded low fat cheddar cheese
16oz low fat Greek yogurt
1. Wash and chop onions and bell peppers.
2. In a colander, drain and rinse beans and corn.
3. In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions and peppers and brown.
4. Once browned, add the turkey with spices and cook until browned.
5. Add beans, tomatoes, corn, a cup of water, and seasonings to the pot.
6. Lower heat to medium and cook until all the flavors are blended (15min – 2hr).
7. Add salt to taste. Serve with lime, shredded cheese, and yogurt in place of sour cream.
✓ lean protein
✓ low sodium