Food for Thought: Tips to get started meal planning – News – LA Junta Tribune – La Junta, CO

Food for Thought: Tips to get started meal planning – News – LA Junta Tribune – La Junta, CO

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TIP OF THE WEEK

No matter if you are cooking for a large group of people, one or two people or even just yourself, meal planning is a good way to start improving your food choices.

Planning our your meals a week in advance can improve your nutrition, allow you to make healthier choices, eat more high quality foods, save you money, save you time and can help decrease your stress.

Although planning out an entire week’s worth of meals might seem intimidating, here are some tips to help you schedule your meals and saving food, according to SavetheFood.com.

1. Don’t start from scratch: Start with your go-to meals. Repeat them every week or two. Eventually you can toss something new every once in a while.

2. Check the refrigerator: See what needs to be used up. Then think of a meal to make with those items. Check the pantry for the rest of the ingredients and add missing pieces to the shopping list.

3. Use portion planners: Portion calculators can help you feed a big group.

4. Have kitchen essentials handy: Stock up on two or three grains, cooking fundamentals, key spices and sauces like barbecue and peanut sauce.

5. Use building blocks: Pick two types of protein, one or two grains, and a vegetable medley to incorporate into different meals.

6. Think double duty: Ingredients sometimes come in larger portions than needed. Try to plan a second meal around those extra ingredients.

7. Schedule a lazy night: If you don’t have the time or energy to cook every night, plan a few lazy nights that don’t require cooking.

8. Go fresh fruit: To preserve freshness and nutrition, use perishables like seafood and meat ealrier in the week and save staples (pasta, dairy, omelets) for later tin the week.

9. Lean on frozen ingredients: Frozen foods have nearly all of the nutrients than their fresh counterparts. Frozen vegetables can fill in gaps.

10. Cook and freeze: Soups, stews, casseroles and lasagna can all be made in large batches and then frozen and defrosted when you need a quick dinner.

EASY RECIPE

Chicken Tinga Tacos

Serves: 6-8

Ingredients

2 tablespoons canola oil

1 large sweet onion, thinly sliced

12 ounces Mexican chorizo, casings removed

1 (3- to 4-pound) cooked rotisserie chicken, skin removed

12 cloves garlic, minced

3 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, very finely minced

2 cups water

1 cup balsamic vinegar

Kosher salt

Flour or corn tortillas, for serving

Crema, for serving

Queso fresco, crumbled, for serving

Cilantro leaves, picked, for serving

Steps

In a large Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat. When the oil is shimmering, add the onions and cook, stirring constantly, until the onions are sweet and caramelized. Add the chorizo, and stir, breaking up any large pieces with a wooden spoon, until the sausage is completely cooked through.

Add the chicken, garlic and chipotles in adobo, and cook until garlic is fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the water and vinegar and bring to a simmer. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until almost all of the liquid has evaporated. Season to taste with salt.

To assemble, spoon some of the tinga mixture on top of the tortillas. Drizzle with a spoonful of the crema and sprinkle with some of the queso fresco and cilantro leaves. Serve.

– SouthernKitchen.com

DRINK

Coca-Cola jumps into coffee craze, again

Coca-Cola will enter the coffee-infused market next year with its “Coke with Coffee” drink. The drink will combine regular Coke with Brazilian coffee and will be featured with three flavors – dark blend, vanilla and caramel. Coke with Coffee will also have double the caffeine or a regular Coke. Coca-Cola previously launched “Coca-Cola Blak” in 2006, but was quickly discontinued.

FUN FACT

Broccoli

Calorie for calorie, there is more protein in broccoli than steak.

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