Those who know me, know I have two great loves, fitness and cooking. I’d spend my days working out and cooking if I could. I love cooking for my family, but I also love cooking for friends. I think there is no better way to say I love you then with a warm meal made with love. My mother in law lives alone and eats out way more often then I think she should. Therefore, whenever I have a chance I like to cook her up a good meal that will last throughout the week. It makes me feel good to know that she is eating healthful for the week. And the best part, she loves my cooking so she’s always excited to get a home cooked meal from me.
Knowing that my husband was going over to her house to take down her Christmas lights, I got up early to make her a nice ham and bean soup with Banana Bread on the side. I had a ham hock in my freezer from Christmas and always make banana bread when my bananas go bad. I don’t believe in wasting anything! So today I’m spreading the love and health at the same time because we all know someone that could use a hot meal made with love!
I recently got back to playing tennis and joined a women’s league to up the challenge. Little did I know that a big part of tennis is social, meaning eating and drinking. The host team brings a meal to treat the visiting team. It’s great fun, but can wreak havoc on your waistline. In an attempt to lighten things up while still bringing something that travels well and can sit until our games are complete I found a casserole that fit the bill. I originally pinned it from pinterest, but decided to tweak it a bit to make it quicker and easier. Everyone loved it and asked me to share so here it is!
The first date that I ever had with my husband over 24 years ago was a homemade meal at his house. I remember it clearly. He plopped a big steak and some canned corn on my plate and asked if I wanted some ketchup. Romantic right? Well, I thought it was. That is about the most cooking he has done over the passed 24 plus years with the exception of his one and only signature meal, spaghetti. It is a family recipe passed down from his mom who isn’t much of a cook herself although she makes some tasty dishes.
However, in fairness my husband never really needed to cook because I love to and his mom always made sure he had something to eat. He’s a simple man with “meat and potato” taste who happened to marry a women who loves to cook. In fact, if you ask him why he married me, he’d probably say “because she’s a great cook!”
While I love to cook and do the majority of cooking, that doesn’t mean that I don’t think that a husband shouldn’t be able and willing to cook. Due to my hectic schedule I often have “fend for yourself nights.” Those are nights when I simply have prepared nothing and everyone is expected to eat leftovers (we always have good leftovers) or prepare something on their own. And then from time to time, I tell my husband he is in charge of making dinner. His Spaghetti is his “go to meal” and for good reason. On this one night only, I promise myself to step back, bite my tongue and let him have at it.
With an Italian husband, we eat a lot of “Italian inspired food.” However, as a FitChick, I stay clear of the pasta so I can stay free of unwanted calories. I love any and all chicken dishes because they are cheap, high in nutrients and family friendly. This recipe is a family favorite due to it’s easy preparation, “One Pot Wonder” power and awesome leftovers. I of course serve it with pasta because my hubby and kids can handle the pasta.
If you were to ask me what my favorite small appliance is, I’d have to say a crock pot. In fact, I’ve had my crock pot for almost 21 year (got it as a wedding present) and it has been used and abused and is still the best thing I own. Stained and splattered with a funky old “country” design that matches nothing I now own, I love it and use it all winter long.
With long work hours and endless obligations, there is nothing better than coming home to a house bursting with the smell of food that has been cooking all day long. It’s like a friendly welcome home from a good friend. While I have some of my tried and true crock pot favorites, I’m always looking for new recipes.
Because I’m a fugal cook, I base a lot of my menu on what is on sale to get my “biggest bang for my buck.” And since I’m a protein “junkie,” I’m especially excited when I find chicken and other lean meats on sale. When it comes to chicken, breast are my favorite due to their leanness and simplicity (no cutting etc.) However, I will not turn my nose up to a whole chicken if the price is right. I recently found beautiful whole chickens for .79 cents a pound so of course threw one in my basket.
The problem with whole chickens is if you roast them in the oven, a lot goes to waste unless you plan on using the carcass for soup (If you have that kind of time, power to you!) It is just so hard to get all that yummy meat off the bones. When you place a whole chicken in a crock pot, nothing goes to waste! Plus, it is moist (unlike the oven often) and falls off the bones so nothing goes to waste. My husband calls it “Road Kill” Chicken because when you take it out of the crock pot it collapses into a pile because it’s so moist.
So winter to me means comfort food and there is nothing more comforting than a big pot of homemade soup. So put down those 100 calorie per servings cans of soup and fire up the stove! This is my favorite soup recipe because it stays true to my desire to be fit and healthy. It’s packed with protein and veggies, is hearty and one pot last me all week long.
So this sudden and welcome rain has me craving some comfort food. While Pizza comes to mind, I know that I’ll thank myself later if I can come up with a saucy alternative that is a lot more healthy. Therefore, I’ve decided to throw on a family favorite, Turkey meatballs with red sauce. They are super easy, low maintenance and are perfect in cold weather. I eat them with veggies on the side, but my family likes them over pasta. Way more healthy then spaghetti and meatballs and packed with the protein that I love. You can do a quick stove top method or pop into a crock pot for the day so you have a meal waiting for you after a long day.