Quick, Easy Recipes: More 'Halfway Homemade' Dishes
Healthy 15-minute dishes that taste great, too.
All I'm asking for is about 15 minutes. That's all the time it takes to put
recipes together when they're what I like to call
"halfway homemade." Basically, this means you're using products from
your supermarket that make home cooking faster and easier -- like canned broth,
bottled marinara, roasted chicken, pre-shredded reduced-fat cheese, and bags of
salad mix. Get the picture? Although I call them halfway homemade
"recipes," you aren't really cooking so much as assembling these quick
and easy recipes. You throw some things together and voila! It's dinner or
What's the benefit of making things at home instead of buying them already
made from a restaurant, fast-food outlet, or supermarket? You get to
make choices about the foods and the amounts you use, so that the dish can end
up being more healthful.
The way I see it, there are at least five health reasons to choose
"halfway homemade" instead of store-bought:
1. You can have your favorite comfort foods and eat light, too!
I feel so strongly about the importance of having comfort foods that I wrote
a whole cookbook about it (Comfort Food Makeovers). These days, there
seems to be a renewed interest in comfort foods -- those mood-lifting dishes
associated with pleasure, consolation, and/or childhood. I believe both
psychological and physiological forces are at work when we're attracted to
certain foods, and that our love for them tends not to diminish even as we
become more health minded. But with a few smart cooking tricks, you can put a
new healthy twist on beloved classic dishes.
2. You can cut down on fat while adding more fruits and vegetables.
Even when people do this without setting specific goals for fat grams or
servings of fruits and vegetables, it leads to significant weight loss with less hunger, according to research from Pennsylvania State
3. You can eat out at restaurants and fast-food chains less often.
Increasing evidence links restaurant food with overweight. A recent study with families in San Diego
Country in California found that children in families who ate at fast-food
chains most often were at most at risk of overweight. And there's also no
surprise here: eating at American restaurants, primarily buffets, seemed to put
parents most at risk for obesity.