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I’m a busy mom. I get it. There are days I would just rather answer the age old question “What do you want on your Tombstone” than try to conjure up a time consuming meal from scratch (in the event you were wondering about my Tombstone, pepperoni, of course. Gold star if you got my commercial reference). Unfortunately, or fortunately enough, depending on whether you not you think ignorance is truly bliss, I got into this
annoying odd habit of reading nutritional labels. Check out the Mayo Clinic’s interactive Guide to nutrition labels.
The sodium! The fat! The sugar! THE HORROR!
I know what you’re thinking. Ditching processed foods is going to be time consuming and expensive. How are you going to find the time to cook from scratch and keep your grocery bill in check?
I’m not going to lie to you, you’re going to spend a little more time in the kitchen. But not much. You may feel like you’re not saving money at first, but I promise, once you build your pantry, you will. Plus, the more you’re cooking at home, the less you’re eating out. And I’ll do you one better, when you’re controlling how much salt, how much sugar, and how much fat you and your family are consuming, it’ll save you money by keeping your body running at optimal performance. Put junk in, get junk out. Right? Ditching processed foods is the ultimate investment in you and your family’s health. Bar none.
Save money and make your hummus, guacamole, pizza, and chicken tenders at home! Here’s my personal recipe stash for 5 processed foods you can give up cheap, easy, and in a hurry. You don’t have to be a gourmet chef to churn these favorites out.
La Chica’s Cilantro Hummus
2-15oz cans garbanzo (chick peas) beans (drained, liquid reserved)
1-2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 lemon, juiced
1-1.5 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 c. cilantro, chopped
2 Tbsp Tahini or Creamy Peanut Butter
3 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil, divided
Salt and cracked black pepper to taste
Put drained garbanzo beans, chopped garlic, lemon juice, cumin (to taste), cilantro, tahini or peanut butter, black pepper, and 1.5 Tbsp of olive oil in food processor. Pulse to blend to desired consistency. Use reserved garbanzo bean liquid to thin hummus to your liking; I typically use about 1/4 c. of reserved liquid as I process the hummus. The liquid is already briny, so don’t add salt until you’ve reached the hummus texture you prefer. Add salt to taste. Transfer to storage container and top with remaining EVOO.
Uses: Snacks, lunches (w/ fresh veg), as a substitute for mayo. Leave out the tahini/pb for baby friendly food!
La Chica’s Tomato, Basil, Garlic Pasta Fresca Sauce
1 28oz can chopped, diced, or crushed tomatoes (liquids and all)
5-6 Roma Tomatoes, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Fresh cracked black pepper and salt, to taste
Optional: Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
Pour olive oil skillet over moderate high heat. Add garlic and saute until fragrant. If you’d like a spicy version of the sauce, use a couple pinches of crushed red pepper flakes to taste. Once you can smell the garlic, add your preferred tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Cook over moderate heat for 10-15 minutes, allowing some of the liquid to evaporate.
If serving with pasta, transfer al dente pasta into skillet with the sauce. Turn off the heat and toss the pasta in the sauce. Plate and garnish with torn basil leaves and parmigiano reggiano.
Cool bonus: If you make this sauce with crushed or pureed tomatoes, it doubles as a pizza sauce! SCORE! And it makes enough for two pizzas or more! DOUBLE SCORE!
Uses: Any pasta, any pizza, dipping sauce, toss with veggies, incorporate into a sub salad, double the recipe for lasagne, a great base sauce for you to tweak and experiment with. Add a splash of white wine to the garlic saute, throw in some meatballs or italian sausage…be creative!
La Chica’s Mostly Unprocessed Pizza
Pizza Dough (frozen, tube, pre-made, or fresh from the bakery section of your favorite grocery store, just ask, or make your own. Check out this recipe from Giada de Laurentis)
Pizza Sauce (see recipe above)
Olive Oil w/ 2 cloves garlic, minced, and salt & pepper to taste
Shredded Mozzerella Cheese, or cheese blend of choice
Toppings of your choice, sky’s the limit
Pre-heat the oven (should be in dough directions). Do it. It matters.
Prepare your dough. If you’re using fresh dough, don’t worry if it isn’t perfect. Uneven? Oval-esque? No problem. Call it rustic.
Assemble your pizza, starting with the sauce, then cheese, then toppings, and another light sprinkling of cheese. Not a fan of tomato sauce? Go Bianca (white pizza)! Brush your dough with the olive oil and garlic mixture and then continue with the cheese and toppings.
Brush the edges of your dough with olive oil and lightly salt with sea salt (super yummy). Follow dough directions for bake time.
Break out of the usual: We love marinated artichokes, left over chicken, olives, spinach, and sun-dried tomatoes…mix it up!
La Chica’s Baked Chicken Tenders and Yogurt Curry Dipping Sauce
1 lb. pre-cut/trimmed chicken breast tenders, or chicken breasts split and sliced into 1 inch wide strips
1 egg, whisked + 2 Tbsp water
Old Bay Seasoning or favorite seasoning blend/combination
1 c. Flour
1-2 c. Panko Bread Crumbs
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Line baking sheet with aluminum foil and lightly coat with cooking spray.
Prepare your three stage breading station using shallow containers: 1) flour, 2) egg wash, 3) panko with seasoning blend.
Lightly dredge tenders in flour, then coat in egg wash, bread in seasoned panko breadcrumbs, and transfer to lined baking sheet. Once all tenders are on the sheet, lightly coat with cooking spray. If you prefer to avoid cooking sprays, you can toss your seasoned panko crumbs with 1 tablespoon of olive oil or butter before coating your tenders, or you can skip that stage altogether (your tenders will be a little pale, rather than golden).
Bake 15-18 minutes, until done.
Curry Yogurt Dipping Sauce:
1/2 c. Plain Yogurt (we use 2% greek)
1-2 tsp. Curry Powder
Pinch of sugar
Combine all ingredients together in a bowl. Adjust to taste. Chill until tenders are finished.
Uses: La Grande loves this yogurt sauce with sweet potato oven fries or breaded baked green bean fries.
3-4 Haas Avocados
1 lime, juiced, divided
1/2 c. cilantro, chopped
Minced Red onion to taste
1/2 tsp. garlic powder, or to taste
Salt and Fresh Cracked Black Pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mash like crazy with a fork. Transfer to storage container and top with remaining lime juice.
Trick o’ the trade? Take cling wrap and press it on top of your guac to create a protective barrier to keep the air out and your guac green.
Uses: Chips and dips, use instead of mayo for a killer BLT, dip veggies, or feed to baby (La Rubia ate this like it was going out of style).
For more information about nutrition, fitness, safety tips, and more, visit TriWest’s Health and Wellness Guide. TriWest is working hard to continue to serve military families. Learn more about TriWest’s mission to serve military families.
This is a sponsored post for SargesList.com – Trusted Military Classifieds. All research and content is my own.
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