- 1 cup (200 grams) farro
- 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus a drizzle more for serving
- 1 small onion, diced
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 250 grams (8.8 oz) mushrooms, sliced (I used baby portobello but any kind will do)
- 1 cup (100 grams) cooked white beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 ½ teaspoons of fresh thyme (or your favourite herb)
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Bring a pot of water to boil over high heat and add the farro. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for the length of time indicated on the package. If you’re not sure which type of farro you have, start checking it after 15 minutes. It may take as long as 40 minutes. The farro is ready when it’s tender yet chewy.
- Meanwhile heat a large pan over medium heat and add the oil and onion. Fry until softened then add the garlic and give it another minute or two. Add the mushrooms and fry until browned. If you’ve got some sticky bits on the bottom of your pan, add a splash of vegetable stock, water or white wine and scrape them up (extra flavour!).
- When the farro is cooked toss the beans into the pot for a minute to heat them through then drain the pot. Add the farro and beans to the pan with the mushrooms and mix well. Sprinkle over the thyme, season with salt and pepper to taste and drizzle over a touch of olive oil.
- 1/2 cup diced onion
- 2 tsp minced garlic
- 2 TBSP butter
- 2 cups diced potatoes
- 2 cups diced carrots
- 1 14-oz can chicken broth
- 1 medium zucchini, diced
- 2 large tomatoes, peeled and diced (or you can use 1 14-oz can diced tomatoes, not drained)
- 1 14-oz can corn (not drained)
- 1/2 tsp rubbed sage
- 1/2 tsp all-purpose seasoning
- 1 can evaporated milk
- 2 TBSP cornstarch
- 1 cup diced chicken or ham, optional
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, to top bowls of stew with
- In a large stockpot, heat butter over medium heat. Add in onions, garlic, potatoes and carrots. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring often, until onions are translucent.
- Add in chicken broth. Cover and cook for 15 minutes, until potatoes and carrots are soft.
- Add in zucchini, tomatoes, corn, chicken or ham (if desired) and seasonings (except cornstarch.) Heat for another 10-15 minutes or so, until mixture is hot and beginning to boil.
- Reduce heat and add all but 2-3 TBSP of the evaporated milk. Mix remaining evaporated milk with the cornstarch and stir until combined. Stir it into the stew. Simmer for an additional 10 minutes. Salt & pepper to taste. Top with fresh diced cherry tomatoes & a little shredded Parmesan cheese once stew is ladled into each bowl.
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 lb. portobello or cremini mushrooms, stemmed and coarsely chopped
- 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- 2 carrots, sliced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 cup dry red wine
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 2 tbsp. tomato paste
- 2 lb. red potatoes, chopped into 1-2 inch chunks
- 3 tbsp. fresh thyme leaves
- 2 tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 tsp. liquid smoke
- 1-2 tsp. Marmite (optional, but highly recommended for savory flavor)
- salt and pepper to taste
- Coat the bottom of a large pot with oil and place over medium heat. Add mushrooms and cook until softened, 5 minutes. Add onion, celery, carrots and garlic. Cook until veggies begin to tenderize, about 5 minutes more, flipping occasionally with a spatula. Add red wine and bring to a simmer. Allow to simmer until wine is reduced by about half, about 5 minutes. Stir in flour, a bit at a time, until fully incorporated.
- Add broth, tomato paste, potatoes, thyme and rosemary. Stir to fully incorporate ingredients. Raise heat and bring to a simmer. Lower heat and allow to simmer, uncovered, until potatoes and veggies are soft, about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add a bit more water to the pot if mixture becomes too thick and starts to sputter.
- Season with liquid smoke, Marmite if using, salt and pepper. Serve.
- 7 ounces ground pork (Feel free to sub ground chicken like I did or 93% lean ground turkey.)
- 3 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
- ½ small onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- ½-1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger (depending on your ginger love)
- 2½ cups finely sliced napa or green cabbage
- 2 cups finely sliced baby bok choy
- ½ cup shredded carrots
- 2½ ounces sliced shiitake mushrooms
- 1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
- ½ teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- 1-2 medium scallions, sliced, for garnish
- 2 tablespoons chopped peanuts (optional)
- Set a large nonstick skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add the pork and 1 tablespoon of the soy sauce and cook, using a wooden spoon to break the meat into small pieces as it browns, about 3 minutes.
- Add the onion, garlic, and ginger and cook stirring, until the vegetables are soft, 2 to 3 minutes.
- Add the cabbage, bok choy, carrots, and mushrooms. Pour in the remaining 2 tablespoons soy sauce, the rice wine, and sesame oil. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the cabbage and bok choy are wilted but still crunchy, 3 to 4 minutes. Serve hot, garnished with scallions and peanuts (if using).
Living with multiple chronic illnesses can made daily tasks difficult to accomplish. One thing that is challenging is having to cook after a long day at work. Due to my illnesses it is best to cook from scratch because whole foods are better than processed foods since they can help decrease inflammation in the body. Preparing whole foods can be time consuming and tiresome. I have discovered some kitchen hacks that make cooking more manageable.
There are three factors in creating a nutritious meal: time, effort and cost. Cooking from scratch normally takes more time and effort since everything needs to be chopped and prepped. On the other hand, buying pre-cut items save time and effort but cost more. So it is a matter of what do you want to save more of, energy or money. Usually for me it depends on how I am feeling on that particular day. When I have more energy I enjoy taking time to prepare the meal. On other days, I just want to get something half way healthy on the table. Here are some strategies I use to handle the cooking task:
- Make a bulk meal: I will cook a soup, stew or chili that will last a couple of days. Add a bagged salad and some bread to complete the meal. This is more time consuming but I don’t have to cook the next day.
- Make a skillet meal: Add vegetables, meat and quinoa or rice to a skillet and cook.
- Wrap it in a tortilla: Brown the meat and add your favorite veggies for tacos; spread with hummus, add cucumbers, tomato, olives and feta cheese for a wrap; or fill with tuna fish, celery, onion, and lettuce.
- Use the broiler: Fish cooks quickly under a broiler. Steam veggies in the microwave and add a packet of microwavable precooked rice (I like Seeds Of Change Quinoa with Brown Rice) to finish the meal. Another idea is broiling portabella mushrooms and put it in a bun topped with tomato, basil and mozzarella cheese.
- Use the freezer: I try to always keep some healthy freezer options on hand like salmon burgers and chopped microwavable vegetables. Use frozen fruit to make quick smoothies.
- Buy part of the meal precooked: Stop at the grocery store deli to pick up a rotisserie chicken. Add some steamed vegetables, salad and a roll.
- Have breakfast: A quick meal is an English muffin with peanut butter and a banana. Or, make an omelet filled with your favorite veggies such as spinach and mushrooms. Have a side of roasted potatoes and a yogurt parfait for dessert.
- Eat salad: Make a chef salad with hard-boiled eggs, deli turkey, cheese and tomatoes. Another option, add shrimp or salmon instead of turkey. Make your own dressing with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Pair it with a bowl of low-sodium prepared soup.
There are many ways to make healthy quick dinners. Happy cooking to you!