We’ve made it through another summer. School is back in session and so are busy mornings. It is easy to feel overwhelmed in the morning; making sure everyone is ready, out the door, and fed. Figuring out a quick, nutritious, and tasty breakfast can be the most challenging part of the school routine. Luckily, the Spend Smart. Eat Smart. website and app have a lot of good recipes that you can either make ahead or make quickly.
These recipes can be made ahead of time and frozen. Just microwave and send them on their way!
Our February recipe of the month is Honey Mustard Dressing. This is a super easy homemade dressing that can be used for more than just salads.
To make this dressing, combine ¼ cup each of only four ingredients – Dijon mustard, honey, cider vinegar, and oil – in a container with a tight fitting lid. Shake well and serve. This dressing has many uses:
Soup is a great comfort food for winter meals, and so good for you too. Our featured recipe for January is Mexican Chicken Soup. Making this soup takes less time than getting in the car and driving through your favorite takeout place. You don’t have to cook the chicken ahead of time. Just place raw boneless chicken in the pot with the other ingredients. After cooking for about 20 minutes, take the chicken out and shred it into bite-size pieces. Serve it with tortilla chips or bread, apple/orange slices and you have a meal with something from each food group plus plenty of fiber. For extra instruction, check out the preparation video under the recipe instructions.
This recipe would be super economical if you made your own chicken broth and cooked dry beans instead of buying them canned; click on the hot links above to see the directions. Another advantage of doing it yourself is that you can control the amount of sodium.
If this soup scores points with your family, check out the other soup recipes in the Cook section of the SpendSmart.EatSmart web page. All our recipes are healthy, low-cost and easy.
Last week after a program, I offered to leave some of the sandwich samples for the staff. One of them commented that they had a bunch of other snacks and that the sandwiches might not get eaten. I said, “Well, you can take these home and freeze them for another day.” The look I received was that of total shock. “You can freeze sandwiches?” was the reply. The individual was just sure the bread would be all soggy and the overall quality so bad that you would never want to consider it. But, the quality isn’t diminished. It’s time to use the freezer and save a few dollars…
Sandwiches you make ahead and freeze can save money and time. Just about any sandwich—other than those with a mayonnaise base (such as chopped meat or egg salad)—can be frozen. It’s best to apply condiments such as mayonnaise when ready to use. Some great filling choices include: peanut butter and jelly; deli meat; plain canned tuna; cheese; or cheese along with a meat. Or, you might consider buying a whole roast or chicken, cook it in the slow cooker or oven the day before, and use the meat from that for sandwiches. It will be cheaper than the deli meat and definitely lower in sodium. Dicing these larger meat cuts will make them stretch further. Make the sandwiches and wrap them in plastic wrap or a sandwich bag, put them in a larger freezer-weight plastic bag (being sure to mark the bag with the contents), then pop in the freezer. For more on freezing sandwiches, Nebraska Extension has a great tip sheet.
When you are ready to pack your lunch, just grab one of the sandwiches from the freezer and place in an insulated bag with an ice block. It should be thawed in time for lunch. You could add to this lunch a bag of vegetable sticks (prep several bags and have ready for grabbing from the fridge), fruit, string cheese, and cookie. Fast! Easy! And easily less than $2.00 for lunch.