Healthy Cooking 2/14: What is it you can't do without?

Oct 12, 2000
In your cupboard or pantry, that is.

For me, I can't live without canned or fresh tomatoes, pasta, fresh basil, fresh ginger, oregano, olive oil, maple syrup, lemons, garlic or oranges. Now most of these are pretty common but maple syrup? Well, I like to keep real maple syrup around and use it in glazes and in baking. In fact, I don't use sugar in my apple pie recipe only maple syrup. The syrup almost caramelizes the apples, giving them a hint of rich sweetness to counter their natural tang. And the smell is heavenly!

Keeping the basics on hand really helps you to keep cooking healthy and resist the urge to run out for a quick meal vs. fix a quick meal at home in the same amount of time.

For example, in about 15 minutes I can make angel hair pasta in a lemon/garlic sauce which then becomes the basis for a meal. Start your water to boil for the pasta and mince a clove of garlic. Get a fresh lemon and squeeze the juice from it and put aside. At the same time you put your pasta in (angel hair takes about 3-4 minutes to cook), heat a little olive oil (about 1 tbsp) in a skillet, add your garlic and cook until you get that garlic aroma and remove from heat. Drain your pasta, place in a bowl and cover with the garlic oil combination. Toss. Pour lemon juice to your taste and toss again.

This dish can be served hot or cold. Dress it up with a little chopped parsley if you like. Serve it with a nice green salad and you have a quick and healthy meal.

You can use any kind of pasta with this or even add left over chicken or veggies to make it even more satisfying. I've cooked up broccoli with the garlic to warm it up and give it that garlic flavor, added some left over chicken breast cut into chunks and made a low fat alternative to the popular pasta and broccoli dishes you find at most restaurants. Experiment with different styles of pasta and other ingredients to make this dish your own.

And, in honor of Valentine's Day, here's another quick recipe you can make with things you have in your fridge and cabinets...a little sweet entree that takes less than 30 minutes to whip up and your family will love it!

Maple Glazed Chicken (from Weight Watchers Make it in Minutes)

Makes 4 servings

1 tsp paprika
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cummin
1/2 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
4 bone-in chicken breast halves, skinned (appr. 2 1/2 lbs)
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp dijon mustard

1. Preheat oven to 500 degrees F. Coat a baking sheet with nonstick spray
2. Combine the first 5 ingredients in a bowl. Rub the mixture over the chicken breasts and place them on the baking sheet. Position the sheet in the upper 1/3 of the oven and bake for 15 minutes.
3. While the chicken is baking, combine the maple syrup, butter and mustard in a small saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring until the butter melts and the mixture is completely combined.
4. Take the chicken out and brush it with the maple syrup glaze. Bake for 5 more minutes. Brush again and bake until cooked through (approximately 5 more minutes).

You can grill the chicken as well. Just glaze the chicken once during the last 5 minutes of grilling to prevent burning.

WW points = 5
249 calories
8g total fat (3g saturated)
105mg cholesterol
719mg sodium
8mg total carbohydrates
1g dietary fiber
36g protein
38mg calcium

So....what do you have in your cabinets that you can't live without? Tell us about it!

Happy Valentine's Day and happy cooking everyone!
To be perfectly honest, right now I just cannot do without a meal out! Anything that I don't have to work for. Unfortunately I haven't been making very good choices right now ---- and 'our' WISH board seems to be very low on inspiration too --- so I don't think that I am the only one currently in this situation.

I do appreciate all of your 'ideas' and I am printing them for future reference! Please don't get discouraged and stop to post....... I would miss them!
Sorry to hear you are feeling not so inspired but glad to see you are planning for when you do :).

And to tell you the truth...I am dying for a lunch out but have been trying to be good packing and bringing my lunch each day! If it wasn't for DD who has been "helping" me -- did you write that down mommy, can I measure that mommy, you need to pack your lunch mommy -- I'd be back at the start myself.

Start out with something small but convenient. Instead of going out for pizza, pick up a frozen cheese pizza at the store and just add your own toppings. It's easy and almost like being out.

And I'll tell you a secret...I am still working on perfecting the Kraft mac&cheese so I can eat it with my DD and have her not notice that it's different than what the box says to make! Because it's a pain in the butt to make separate stuff. So when I get it right I'll let you know. Shhhh...don't tell :D
I can't live without spray butter in my kitchen. I love to fry things in it and it adds no points for those on ww. It is 0 calories and 0 fat and i really do not want to know what is in it..LOL I also love to keep popcorn in the cupboard for a filling snack. Usually there is a good selection of "Quick" meal makings...lettuce, spaghetti, frozen ravioli, soups, as well as sandwich makings. I also love the different flavors of vinegar such as raspberry and balsamic. It adds a whole different taste to things than regular vinegar does.


Our Dreams Unlimited Travel Agents will assist you in booking the perfect Disney getaway, all at no extra cost to you. Get the most out of your vacation by letting us assist you with dining and park reservations, provide expert advice, answer any questions, and continuously search for discounts to ensure you get the best deal possible.


facebook twitter