Clear the Clutter, Hope's Healthy Kitchen

How to Stock Your Kitchen

We are off on another road trip starting today as an early celebration of our wedding anniversary……I can’t believe it has been 11 years since we got married and in October, we will be together 20 years!  Where does the time go?

No, this is NOT a picture of our kitchen in our forever home But we do have lots of space.  As a result, I am always on the hunt to find ways to keep things well-stocked and organized.  What about you… do you have an organized kitchen and pantry?  Are you ready with plenty of items on-hand to whip up a healthy meal anytime – without having to leave the comfort of your home?  Keep these tips in mind while you’re shopping and putting groceries away to be a prep pro!

PANTRY PERFECTION

Your pantry may not be this big (not mine BUT ours is about this big!).  Organize your pantry or cupboard in sections:

  • Baking ingredients: flour, baking powder, baking soda.  Mine also includes chips, brown sugar and anything else I may need when baking.

  • Oils & vinegar (mine are actually over my stove in a cabinet so they are easy to reach)

  • Herb & Spice blends (a totally separate cabinet close to the stove so I don’t have to go to far)

  • Canned goods: beans, lentils, fish, tomatoes, vegetables

  • Dry goods; pasta, rice, quinoa

TIP: Put veggies like onions and potatoes in bins and store in a cool, well-ventilated place.  Mine are in Tupperware bins in yet another cabinet in the kitchen.  LOL.

STOCK YOUR FREEZER

Is meal prep a thing at your house?  The closest I get to meal prep in the freezer is having lots of frozen vegetables, and meats on had.  Extra portions of meals (aka leftovers) are also frozen for those quick easy lunches or dinners when I’m not feeling well.  For many, meal prep means making big batches and then lay soups, broths, and chili flat in resealable bags for use during the week. Always keep frozen veggies and fruit in your freezer, along with your favorite protein.

TIP: Freeze leftovers in family-or-individual-sized containers for a quick “heat-and-eat meal” for the nights when you’re too busy to cook.

FIND IT FAST IN YOUR FRIDGE

Divide your fridge into sections:

  • Dairy/eggs, condiments (in the side door)

  • Veggies/fruit, meat/fish/poultry on a tray or plate to avoid leaks or in drawers if you have them.

  • Beverages

TIP: Keep prepped veggies and fruit near the front for quick access

SHOP WISELY 

The foods you choose to fuel your body directly impact your health. Whether you’re shopping online or stocking up on groceries to avoid the grocery line, here are some kitchen staples to keep you going:

Greek yogurt | Buy: 2%, plain, non-sweetened | Why: Fat-free can mean added sugar, and flavored yogurts can greatly increase your sugar intake.  Plain greek yogurt adds extra protein and can be “sweetened” with fruit or granola or a little Stevia.

Canned tomatoes | Buy: Low sodium | Why: We want to live well and feel great. For some people, too much sodium can make them retain water.

Olive oil | Buy: Cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil – this is the healthiest because it comes from the first pressing and no chemicals were used in extraction | Why: Light olive oils do not mean light in calories, often, it means light in flavor.

Canned beans | Hack: Rinse your beans before use and reduce sodium by almost 30%

Pasta | Buy: Look for the first words to be “whole grain” on the ingredient list | Why: You want to avoid overly processed refined grains

Nuts & seeds | Buy: Natural, unsalted | Why: Sometimes nuts and seeds are coated with partially hydrogenated oil and added salt

Canned tuna & salmon | Buy: Packed in water, low sodium | Why: It will have less sodium and added fat

Crackers | Buy: Look for “whole grain” to be the first words on the ingredient list. They should have at least 3 g of fibre per serving and be low in sodium Why: Crackers can be overly processed and made with refined grains | Hack: Make your own healthy crackers with Everything Bagel Crackers.

 

 

Finally, remember to keep the following tips in mind:

  • Buy real food. Use wholesome ingredients.

  • Avoid shopping when you’re hungry (in-store or online).

  • Always have a list and stick to it.

For kitchen tips & tricks, recipes and more, check out Hope’s Healthy Kitchen on Facebook or my website at www.HopesHealthyKitchen.com

Have an Epic Day!

Tasty Tuesday Recipes

Tasty Tuesday: All-American Beefy Mac


Thank you Hungry Girl for today’s recipe….

Do you remember Hamburger Helper?  When life was crazy busy – full-time job, active kid and not a lot of time to plan meals, this and macaroni and cheese was a go to meal.  I kind of miss those days so this is a great way to enjoy the same yummy taste in a healthier way.

Whether you call it beefy mac, beefaroni, or American chop suey, a hearty pasta meal full of ground beef and rich tomato sauce rocks. Indulge in our AMAZING recipe without a lick of guilt…

Prep: 20 minutes     Cook: 30 minutes     Makes: 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups frozen cauliflower florets
  • 4 1/2 oz. (about 1 1/4 cups) high-fiber elbow macaroni
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped onion
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped green bell pepper
  • 1 lb. raw extra-lean ground beef (4% fat or less)
  • 1 tbsp. chopped garlic
  • 1/2 tsp. each salt and black pepper
  • 2 cups canned crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup diced tomato
  • 2 tbsp. canned tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
  • Optional seasoning: crushed red pepper

Directions:

  1. Place cauliflower in a large microwave-safe bowl; cover and microwave for 3 minutes. Uncover and stir. Re-cover and microwave for 2 minutes, or until hot. Drain excess liquid.
  2. Roughly chop cauliflower, return to the bowl, and cover to keep warm.
  3. In a large pot, cook pasta per package instructions, about 7 minutes. Drain pasta, and stir into cauliflower. Re-cover to keep warm.
  4. Spray the pot with nonstick spray, and bring to medium-high heat. Add onion and bell pepper, and cook and stir until browned, about 4 minutes.
  5. To the pot, add ground beef, garlic, salt, and black pepper. Cook, stir, and crumble until beef is fully cooked and veggies are soft, about 6 minutes.
  6. Add all remaining ingredients to the pot, and stir well. Bring to a boil.
  7. Reduce heat to low, and stir in cauliflower-pasta mixture. Cook until hot and well mixed, about 2 minutes.

Serving Size: 1/4th of recipe (about 2 1/2 cups):  Calories: 375; Fat: 6g; Sodium: 690mg; Carbs: 50g; Fiber: 10g; Sugars: 13.5g; Protein: 33g     PointsPlus® value 9*

Be sure to pack your leftovers for lunch the next day in Thirty One’s Around the Clock Thermal.  This is one of our most versatile totes.  It is great for lunch or snacks anytime, anywhere—work, school, festivals, road trips, pool, beach, golf course, boating or sporting events. The water-resistant thermal lining keeps contents cool and makes cleanup easier. A removable shoulder strap means you can carry it any number of ways, including crossbody for hands-free movement. An interior mesh pocket and exterior front zipper pocket provide separate storage options when needed. Makes a great gift for friends, neighbors, kids, teachers and everyone else on the go!

Have a blessed day!

Tasty Tuesday Recipes

Tasty Tuesday: Taco Pasta

 

 

Today’s recipe is from BuzzFeed.  It is the combination of TWO awesome things – tacos and pasta.  A quick and easy meal, the kids will love.

The recipe will serve 10 – 12 people.

 

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 package taco seasoning
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 (15 oz.) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 (15 oz.) can tomato sauce
  • 1 (15 oz.) can whole kernel corn
  • 2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni (I used gluten free)
  • Pepper
  • Salt

DIRECTIONS

1. Brown beef in a large quart pot over medium/high heat. Drain fat and return beef to pot.

2. Add taco seasoning, water, tomatoes, tomato sauce, and corn. Bring to a boil.

3. Add uncooked macaroni and reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for 10-15

minutes (until pasta is cooked through). Stir occasionally.

4. Remove from heat. Sprinkle cheese on top and cover.

5. Serve once cheese is melted!

Headed to a covered dish party? Place your pan in Thirty One’s Perfect Party Set and head out the door.  It expands to hold two 9” x 13” casserole pans inside 2 interior water-resistant thermal compartments. Handle grips make it easy to carry, while the exterior zipper pocket can keep additional items like utensils, baking instructions and additional ingredients secure during transport. It’s the most convenient way to take your favorite casseroles, desserts, appetizers and more to your next family picnic, neighborhood cookout, celebration or camping trip!

OR if you just want to take some leftovers for lunch….Check out the Lunchbreak Thermal.  It is one of my favorites and it is on the retirement list so it will be gone at the end of February.  Great for school, the pool, sporting events, day trips, flights and dozens of other places. Extended handles allow you to tote this cooler bag over your shoulder so you can stay hands-free. An interior thermal lining keeps your food cool or warm, while an exterior pocket gives you a useful place to put your cell phone, keys or wallet. Makes a great gift for teachers, neighbors, friends and anyone else who loves to lunch!

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Tasty Tuesday Recipes

Tasty Tuesday – Pizza Pasta Recipe 

I haven’t tried this one yet but it is on the list for the upcoming week…

Prep: 15 minutes             Cook: 30 minutes           Calories: 513

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces rotini pasta (can substitute with gluten free)
  • 1 pound lean ground beef (can substitute with ground turkey)
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 (28 ounce) jar spaghetti sauce
  • 4 ounces sliced pepperoni  (or crumbled sausage)
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  • Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain.
  • In a medium skillet over medium-high heat, cook beef with onion until beef is brown.
  • Drain. Combine beef mixture with spaghetti sauce, pepperoni and cooked pasta and pour into a 9×13 inch baking dish. Top with mozzarella.
  • Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes, until cheese is melted and golden.

Yummy goodness with some leftovers….

Why not freeze them to have lunch one day for work? Pack your lunch in one of ThirtyOne’s many thermal lunch totes. My favorite is the LunchBreak Thermal. This s the perfect size to fit standard food storage containers, so it is a great lunch bag for work, school or just a day spent running around town. It also makes a great snack and drink bag for trips to the pool or beach. I love it can be personalized with your favorite icon or just your name. It is approx. 8.5”H x 9″L x 6″D (15″L at top opening)919db78e227f4bdca70c49ec6cb8ab38

Have a recipe you would like to share? Share it with us, everyone always loves a new recipe to try.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

T