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Quick and Easy Holiday Recipes

quick-and-easy-holiday-recipesDon’t let holiday party planning stress you out: try these quick and easy make-ahead recipes for your next holiday gathering, and enjoy this wonderful time of the year.


As the holidays become a fast approaching reality, the feeling of panic can quickly take over the sparkle…Will I be able to get everything done in time? Will it be just the way I want it? Can I make entertaining extra special without spending too much time or money on the details? Are there things we can do to entertain and prepare for the holidays without making ourselves crazy in the process?  

I cater on the weekends and in my spare time, I have come across some simple ways to make the holidays extra special. What can I do to have homemade rolls, a lovely platter of savory bites that can be taken to the next party or maybe a simple dessert that will appeal to even the pickiest foodie? Just by having a few simple ingredients on hand you can make the holidays sparkle.  Try out some of these tips and recipes to make your holidays merry and bright.

Chris’s Make Ahead Refrigerator Dinner Rolls

Homemade dinner rolls make any holiday meal extra special. With just a few inexpensive key ingredients, your house will smell like you have been baking all day and your guests will feel extra special when you are pulling these rolls out of your oven right before the event. Try these easy, foolproof dinner rolls for your next gathering.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups warm water (105 to 115 degrees)
  • 2 packages (1/4 ounce each) active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted, plus more for pan and brushing
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 6 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for shaping dough

Directions

  1. Pour warm water into a large bowl or stand mixer bowl; sprinkle with yeast, and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add sugar, butter, eggs, and salt; whisk to combine. Change out whisk attachment to a dough hook. Add flour; mix until incorporated and a sticky dough forms. Move dough to a buttered bowl.  Brush top of dough with butter; cover bowl with plastic wrap, and set aside in a warm place until dough has doubled in size, about 1 hour.
  3. Turn dough out onto a well-floured work surface. With floured hands, roll dough into a thick log. Cut into 18 equal pieces (halve log, cut each half in thirds, then cut each piece into thirds again).
  4. Brush a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with butter. One at a time, flatten each piece of dough, then fold edges toward the center, pressing to secure, until a smooth ball forms. Place dough balls in prepared baking pan, smooth side up (you should have 3 rows of 6). Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate (at least 4 hours and up to 1 day.), OR you can cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, 30 to 40 minutes.
  5. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Remove plastic wrap; brush rolls with butter. Bake until golden and rolls sound hollow when tapped on bottom, 35 to 40 minutes (tent with aluminum foil if browning too quickly). Pull rolls apart, and serve warm.

Green Onion Cheese Ball

For that special get together, sometimes it is fun to have an easy-to-make alternative to the traditional holiday sweet treat. Here is a simple recipe that, for next to nothing, can be whipped up in a matter of minutes and will look like you spent hours preparing it. Even if you do not like onion, you will be amazed at the flavor. This cheese ball is mild enough that you get just a hint of onion along with the other seasonings. This could be the next neighborhood favorite.

Ingredients

  • 3 – 8 oz pkgs. cream cheese (room temperature)
  • 1 pkg. dry onion soup mix (I prefer Lipton)
  • 6 green onions finely diced (Whole onion – white and green parts)
  • Chopped nuts

Directions

Mix first three ingredients thoroughly, shape into a ball, and roll in chopped nuts.

If desired, use this recipe to make two or three small cheese balls out of one batch for a great addition to a cheese and cracker platter for a smaller group. As another option, shape the cream cheese mixture into a teardrop so it looks like a festive Christmas pine cone when sliced or whole almonds are added in a layered pattern, starting at the point and working back. Then place sprigs of green onions, rosemary, or parsley at the round end.

Easy Sugar Cookies

These quick and easy recipes will give your holiday the sparkle and shine that shows you care, with a minimum of effort allowing you to enjoy the holidays with your friends and family.

Ingredients

  • White cake mix (dry)
  • ¼ cup butter or margarine (melted)
  • 2 eggs

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pour all ingredients into mixing bowl. Mix with a hand mixer until everything is incorporated and looks like moist crumbles. Press into the shape of a disk. Roll out and cut shapes with cookie cutter or scoop dough into balls. Place on cookie sheet, and bake for about 7-10 minutes until lightly golden brown. Place cookies on cooling rack, let cookies cool. Ice cookies according to preference.


This article was written by Chris Jensen, Piute County Extension Educator.




Winter Bucket List

winter-bucket-list-graphic

What’s on your list of must-do winter activities? Get some inspiration from our winter bucket list. 


Each season has its own excitement and beauty to enjoy. Here is a list of fun things to do this winter to get you started. These are great for family, friends or date nights!

Outdoors

  • Go sledding.
  • Build a snowman.
  • Drive or walk around to see local Christmas lights at night, visit Holiday Lights at Thanksgiving Point November 21 to December 31 (closed Sundays) or Ogden’s Christmas Village (Saturday after Thanksgiving through January 1).
  • Go caroling.
  • Go for a sleigh ride.
  • Have a fun and safe snowball fight.
  • Try cross country skiing or snowshoeing at such places as  Soldier Hollow, Millcreek, Donut Falls, or a place near you!
  • Go tubing at Soldier Hollow.
  • Go skiing or snowboarding. Local resorts include Alta, Brighton, Deer Valley, Snowbird and more.
  • Visit the Macy’s 2016 Holiday-themed Candy Window Display at City Creek Center November 17 to January 1.
  • Go window shopping at the Shops at Riverwoods in Provo.  Enjoy shopping, lights, music, entertainment and outdoor firepits to warm you up. From 6 to 9 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays in November and December. The lighting of Riverwoods is November 18 from 6 to 9 p.m.

Entertainment

  • Go ice skating. The Gallivan Center rink’s opening day is November 13 at 6 p.m.
  • Plan a weekend away at the Snowbird Cliff Lodge and Spa.
  • Visit the Festival of Trees located at the Sandy South Towne Expo Center from November 30 to December 3  from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
  • Have a Candlelight Christmas at This is the Place Heritage Park December 9-23, Monday through Saturday evenings from 5 to 9 p.m.
  • Spend Christmas at the Grand America Hotel. They host Santa and Mrs. Claus with photo opportunities.  A great buffet is provided to complete the experience. There are select days throughout December with seating between 7 a.m. and 2 p.m. Visit their website to make a reservation.
  • Take a stroll through the Annual Holiday Window display at the Grand America Hotel from November 22 to December 31.
  • Go see the Hogle Zoo lights December 1 to 31 from 5:30 to 8 or 9 p.m., depending on the day.  Closed Christmas Day.
  • Attend the Messiah sing-in with the Utah Symphony at Abravanel Hall on Saturday, November 26, and Sunday, the 27, at 7:30 p.m.   
  • Attend the Nutcracker with Ballet West at the Capitol Theatre on December 2 to 26, times vary.
  • Visit the lights at Temple Square. They are first lit the day after Thanksgiving and stay on through December 31. Free concerts and performances daily at six venues November 25 to December 23.
  • Eve Winter Fest December 29 to 31. Salt Lake City’s three-day celebration with concerts, DJs, grown-up drinks and engaging activities for kids and families. Discover everything that downtown has to offer with one all-access pass. 
  • Watch sporting events  – cheer for your favorite basketball, wrestling, ice hockey or gymnastics teams.
  • Attend a local play.
  • Visit a museum, local landmarks and local art galleries.

Home

  • Play a favorite board game or try a new one.
  • Make warm hot cider or cocoa and watch a holiday movie.
  • Build a fort with all the blankets and pillows you can find in the house.
  • Snuggle up to a fire or a sofa and read a holiday classic with someone.
  • Put together a giant puzzle.
  • Have a gingerbread house construction party where everyone brings their old candy, boxes, glue guns, crackers and more. This is fun for the little ones up to the hard-core construction engineer designers.
  • Make indoor s’mores in the oven. Lay the crackers on a cookie sheet, and then place your desired chocolate on the cracker along with marshmallows. Place in the oven at 350 degrees for  3 to 5 minutes until the marshmallows and chocolate are soft and gooey.  
  • Plan a progressive dinner with your friends when January gets boring. Pick your favorite theme and have everyone prepare a different course.
  • Host a murder mystery dinner.
  • Have a cookie exchange party where everyone brings their favorite cookies to trade, then everyone has a variety to take home.

Books

  • Winter themed books for youth:
    • The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder
    • Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu
    • Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Richard and Florence Atwater
    • The Winter Room by Gary Paulsen
    • The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
    • Icefall by Matthew J. Kirby
    • Because of Mr. Terupt by Rob Buyea
    • Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
    • Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow by Jessica Day George
  • Christmas-themed books for all:
    • A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
    • How the Grinch Stole Christmas! by Dr. Seuss
    • The Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore
    • The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg
    • The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry
    • Little Women by Louisa May Alcot

Crafts

  • Make a memory book with pictures taken throughout the year.
  • Make snow paint to paint the snow and add some color to winter.
  • Make someone you love a homemade gift for the season.
  • Create homemade ornaments with your children or friends.
  • Cut out paper snowflakes and decorate the house.
  • Make a holiday wreath for the season.
  • Make your own Valentine’s Day cards and decorations.

Food

Here are some foods to warm you up during those cold winter days.


This article was written by Marilyn Albertson, Utah State University Extension Associate Professor, Salt Lake County, and Kirsten Lamplugh, Utah State University Extension Intern, Salt Lake County




Using Herbs and Spices // Keep the Flavor, Lose the Calories

Herbs and Spices.jpg

Charlemagne, Emperor of Rome, known for his good health, said, “An herb is the friend of physicians and the praise of cooks.” Try these tips for using herbs as a healthy and flavorful alternative to fats, sugar and salt.


 

If you are trying to find ways to lower the amount of sugar, fat, and salt in your diet, you may find that herbs and spices are a good solution.

Using Herbs to Reduce Fat, Sugar and Salt

Fat, sugar and salt all add flavor to the foods we eat and enjoy.  They also add calories and cholesterol.  We can add flavor to many foods and decrease the fat, sugar and salt by using herbs and spices in many recipes.

One tablespoon of fat can equal 100 calories. A great substitute is to purchase fat-free salad dressing, margarine, yogurt, sour cream and cream cheese, then add flavorings of your choice with herbs such as thyme, rosemary or tarragon.  You will be surprised at the great flavor they provide without adding calories.

Herbs and spices can also reduce the amount of sugar you may need in foods.  Ginger, whether fresh or dried, is an excellent sweetener.  Keep a little ginger root in your freezer and grate off the desired amount when cooking.  Carrots, sweet potatoes and other foods combined with a little ginger root are sweet and tasty.

Herbs and spices can complement nearly all cooking.  Using them will help reduce the amount of salt your recipe may need.  You will find that you can flavor with the herb, then leave out some of the salt.

Experiment with spices and herbs in your sauces, vegetables, drinks or desserts.  Keep in mind that the amount you use and when you add it to your ingredients will depend on if you are using fresh or dried herbs.  If using fresh herbs, you will add three times the amount of dried.  Dried herbs are added at the beginning of cooking, and fresh herbs are added at the end of the cooking time.  Store fresh herbs in the refrigerator and dried herbs in the cupboard out of direct sunlight.  If you add a little too much seasoning when cooking, throw in a piece of potato and let it absorb the extra flavor.  Remove before serving.

These herbs are some that I wouldn’t want to be without.  They add flavor to many foods:

  • Basil is absolutely essential for Italian cooking. I can’t imagine a summer without fresh pesto.
  • Chives are prized for both their extensive cooking applications and their gorgeous silhouette in the garden.
  • Cilantro is used liberally in Latin American cooking, and its cool flavor is one of my year-round favorites. I love pomegranate and cilantro salsa.
  • Tall dill plants waving in the breeze are a welcome sight in any garden. The seeds and herb are used in all sorts of vegetable recipes and bottled pickles.
  • Although mint has the tendency to take over wherever it is planted, the aromatic herb adds pizzazz to summertime lemonade, smoothies and is refreshing in teas and many recipes.
  • Oregano is another Italian food staple, and it’s also wonderful in egg recipes such as omelets.
  • Don’t just use the little sprigs of parsley as plate garnish: toss it into salads, soups and vegetable recipes.
  • Rosemary grows wonderfully in St. George.  On the patio, it is sheltered from the winter cold and the summer heat. Once your taste buds have experienced fresh rosemary, they will go on strike if you serve the dried variety.
  • Thyme, growing in a garden, has an enticing aroma. It’s also a favorite in fish recipes.

Try growing your favorite herbs in the yard, garden boxes, flower pots or even in the house.  They add beauty, flavor, aroma and are a wonderful conversation piece.

Minted Cucumber Salad

  • 4 cucumbers, peeled, halved, seeded and sliced
  • ½ cup fresh mint, chopped
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 orange rind, grated
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 cup red wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup sugar substitute

Toss cucumbers in bowl with mint, rind and parsley.  Whisk oil, vinegar and sugar substitute.  Pour over cucumbers and chill for 4 hours.


This article was written by Carolyn Washburn, Utah State University Extension associate professor, carolyn.washburn@usu.edu.

 




Family Mealtime on Studio 5

family-mealtime-studio-5

Join Live Well Utah blog editor Marta Nielsen as she talks with Brooke Walker of Studio 5 about Family Mealtime, and demonstrates some breakfast recipes from the Live Well Utah Cookbook, Family Mealtime Edition.


Did you see us on Studio 5? If you missed the show, you can watch the clip here. We have also posted the full recipes for the veggie frittata, granola, and overnight oats with all the variations.

studio-5-family-mealtime




Dutch Oven 101

dutch-oven-101


Cooking in a Dutch oven can be fun, but you can’t just load your dirty Dutch oven into the dishwasher when the cooking is done. Follow these directions to properly clean and store your Dutch oven.


Dutch Oven 101: Cleaning

Clean  out food residue using cooking oil and paper towels. Add warm soapy water, and wash using a dish cloth or sponge with an abrasive back. Rinse and dry  Dutch oven thoroughly, and wipe off all surfaces with a paper towel to remove any remaining dirt, ash or water (including the bottom and the lid). Coat all surfaces of the oven with cooking oil, starting with the inside. Wipe off any excess oil, replace lid on Dutch oven, and store for the next use. If oil inside oven becomes rancid, wash it with warm soapy water and repeat directions above before using.

Dutch Oven Hummingbird Cake

This Southern cake is traditionally topped with cream cheese frosting and chopped pecans. Try this dutch oven version alongside vanilla or butter pecan ice cream.

3 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 eggs, beaten
1 1/4 cups water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 8-oz. can crushed pineapple
1 cup pecans, chopped
1 cup banana, mashed

Combine dry ingredients in large mixing bowl. Add eggs and oil, and mix until just moistened. Stir in remaining ingredients. Spread batter evenly in 12″ dutch oven that has been greased and coated with flour. Bake at 350 degrees fro 50-60 minutes (8-10 coals on bottom, 14-20 on top).

Farm to Table Dinner

Is your mouth watering for Dutch oven flavors? Come to the Farm to Table Dinner at the USU Botanical Center on September 15. Renowned Dutch oven chef Blaine Scott will prepare a delicious dinner of roast beef, cheesy potatoes and Mexican-style street corn. A seasonal fruit cobbler will be served to complete the meal. Save your place at the table and buy tickets here.

FarmtoTableFlyer-OY-Aug201622

 


Read more on Dutch oven cooking and find recipes here.




Family Mealtime // How to Get Kids Involved

Getting Kids Involved

September is National Family Mealtime month. Each Friday this month we’ll be posting on that topic — specifically from the Live Well Utah Cookbook, Family Mealtime Edition. This publication is available for free at your local Extension office, or available digitally here. It features some great tips on the importance of family mealtime and meal planning, plus 21 quick, inexpensive, and nutritious recipes that are sure to please even the pickiest eaters. 


Getting Kids Involved

Involving children in meal planning and cooking at a young age is a great way to instill a love for delicious, homemade food! Here are some ideas on how to include kids of all ages in the kitchen. Remember to choose age appropriate jobs and keep safety in mind at all times.

Ages 2-5

Meal Planning:

  • Color coordinate fruits and vegetables
  • Circle foods they would like in store advertisements
  • Help cut coupons
  • Choose one meal they would like

Grocery Shopping:

  • Point out fruits and vegetables from the grocery list
  • Choose a new fruit or vegetable to try

Cooking:

  • Pour premeasured items into bowl to mix up
  • Tear up lettuce for a salad
  • Rinse off fruits and vegetables

Ages 6-10

Meal Planning:

  • Help make a list of meals they like
  • Look at USDA’s MyPlate diagram and come up with one meal following the diagram
  • Choose fruits and vegetables to put on the side of the main courses

Grocery Shopping:

  • Read the list to parent and cross items off as they are put in the cart
  • Choose a new fruit or vegetable to try

Cooking:

  • Measure ingredients and put them together with parent’s help
  • Toss a salad
  • Knead dough
  • Put together sandwiches

Ages 11-18

Meal Planning:

  • Look up three new recipes on social media
  • Create a 3-day menu using USDA’s MyPlate as a reference for a complete meal

Grocery Shopping:

  • Take a portion of the list and retrieve those items
  • If old enough to drive, do a small grocery trip on own
  • Keep track of the money saved each week

Cooking:

  • Run the show as head chef! Put together a full meal and recruit family members to help as needed




Ask a Specialist // 15 Ways to Save on Groceries

Save on Groceries

Follow these tips to save some extra money for the holidays!


Being a Frugal Foodie

Money spent on food is probably one of the biggest expenses in a household budget—perhaps even larger than a mortgage, depending on family size. Combine money spent on groceries with money spent eating out, and that number gets even larger.

Here are some tricks to save on food costs. And as a bonus, most money-saving tips will also help you eat healthier.

1. Make a meal plan and detailed shopping list. Together these will help you spend less time in the store, help you buy only what you need and help you avoid more frequent shopping trips. Remember to use foods in your cupboard and food storage as part of your meal plan instead of buying unnecessary duplicates.

2. Reduce the number of trips to the grocery store. Undoubtedly you’ve gone to the store to buy a gallon of milk and spent more than $10. Try to narrow store visits to once a week; if you shop more frequently than that, try twice a month. Buy as much milk, fruit, etc., as you need for that time, or try doing without an ingredient instead of making another trip to the store.

3. Shop when the stores are less crowded and NOT when you are hungry. Food originally not on your list suddenly appears in the cart when you’re hungry, which doesn’t save money. However, it is a good idea to make your meal plan when hungry because it’s easy to bring meal ideas to mind with a grumbling stomach.

4. Make food from scratch, or nearly from scratch. It is generally cheaper than buying pre-packaged foods. Buying a head of lettuce and a package of carrots and chopping it yourself will likely be cheaper and larger than buying a pre-packaged salad mix. But if you won’t chop the lettuce and carrots, it will be a waste of money. It’s almost always cheaper—and healthier—to choose more whole, fresh foods rather than boxed, bottled or frozen ready-to-eat options. Consider your options for saving money and compare that with your time and your family’s preferences. If you have time, options such as making homemade bread, tortillas and other bread products could save a lot of money over the long term.

5. Ditch the myth that healthy foods are more expensive. While some foods considered healthy are more expensive than less healthy foods, this is not always the case. For example, frozen salmon fillets could be considered healthier than sirloin steak, yet salmon is more expensive per pound. However, chicken is a lean meat, generally cheaper than sirloin steak and a healthier choice. Another example: for the price of a box of cereal (or cheaper), you could buy a large container of oatmeal, which has more servings than the box of cereal, provides 100 percent serving of whole grains, is naturally filled with fiber and nutrients and is free of added sugars.

6. Eliminate food waste. Healthy, fresh foods become expensive when they are allowed to spoil or age before they can be eaten. Carefully plan how you’ll use foods while they are fresh. List a few meals that use the same foods and refer to that when you have excess or when certain foods are on sale. Also try the “cook once, eat twice” idea where you make one large meal and repurpose it for a different meal the next day. Be sure to use the freshest foods first, then turn to frozen and canned foods. Another way to eliminate food waste and save on food is to carry leftovers or sack meals when on the go to avoid eating out.

7. Compare prices between generic and store brands. Generally foods higher or lower on the shelves will be cheaper than those at eye level. Also check unit pricing (most stores include this in the price tag on the shelf) and not just the price per container.

8. Use coupons carefully. If it is a product you usually buy and use, and the coupon will make the item cheaper than the generic brand, it is worth using. Check for online coupons that connect to your shopper’s card. Price matching can also be a great way to save money. Some stores require you to bring proof of the item price in another store, so be prepared.

9. Buy produce in season. The price of fresh produce can vary throughout the year, based on harvest season. Save money and vary eating habits by buying fresh produce in season. Watch for labeling of prices—most of the time, fresh produce is priced per pound, not per item. There could be a great difference between heads of cabbage that are .99 per pound versus .99 per head.

10. Don’t forget frozen and canned fruits and veggies. Most fruits and vegetables that are canned or frozen are processed quickly at their peak of ripeness and nutrition. Canned and frozen fruits and veggies without added sugars and salts are healthy options and can be less expensive than fresh options, especially for foods out of season or hard to find in your area. They also add an element of convenience since the chopping and/or peeling has been done, and they store well.

11. Since meat is costly, consider cheaper proteins including milk, eggs, peanut butter, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, edamame and beans. Reduce the amount of meat used in recipes. If a stir-fry recipe calls for 2 pounds of chicken, try the recipe with 1 pound and add more veggies. Save the other pound for later. Or add more whole grains and vegetables to your diet.

12. Shop sales and stock up on foods you use often. Track prices of foods you use most, and when prices go down, buy more. Use food storage to plan your meals and rotate the food. This helps keep costs down and reduces food waste. Many grocery stores in Utah have seasonal case lot sales when prices are lower for many pantry-stable foods, such as canned goods, flour, sugar, rice, beans and oatmeal. There are also baking sales in late fall before the holidays.

13. Buy from the bulk section. Not all bulk items will be cheaper than pre-packaged foods, so compare prices carefully. However, buying bulk, scoop-it-out-yourself foods is an excellent way to get food you use frequently or to get small amounts of foods to try in new recipes, such as quinoa, whole grain pasta noodles, nuts, steel-cut oats and ground spices.

14. Grow a garden and use the produce in your meals and snacks. Visit livewellutah.org and click “recipes” for ideas on using produce easily grown or purchased in most parts of Utah.

15. Consider preserving garden produce for later use. Freezing, dehydrating and canning are all great ways to preserve food and have the potential to save you money and avoid food waste. Canning supplies can be expensive, but can be accumulated over time, and with the exception of canning lids, they can be used repeatedly. For safe, scientifically tested canning and preserving information, go to extension.usu.edu/foodpreservation or contact your local Extension office. For classes near you that will give you more healthy, eating-on-a-budget tips, visit https://extension.usu.edu/foodsense/htm/calendar.


This article was written by Melanie Jewkes, Utah State University Extension associate professor, Salt Lake County

References

extension.usu.edu




November Menu Planning

November Menu Planning

November is a crazy month. Stay ahead of the game and plan your meals now!


Om Nom November

You might remember that we did a post on menu planning a little while back. Menu planning is an amazing way to save money and time! However, thinking of meals to make week after week can be a challenge.

To help you out with the month of November, bigbiteslittlebudget.com has put together a sample menu plan for you! Feel free to move meals around, swap meals out for ones you like better and completely change it up. The most important thing is that you make a plan and stick with it.

Don’t worry; if you have never tried menu planning, this is a great place start! Plus, bigbiteslittlebudget.com has included all of the dinner recipes you will need this month and every single one is absolutely delicious.

Here is one of the recipes you won’t want to miss!
Pumpkin Pie Bread

To find your handy-dandy November menu plan and all SIX delicious recipes, click here.
Happy planning!


References

Table for One




Menu Planning // The Tips, The Tricks and The Benefits

Weekly Menu Planning

Who knew that saving your time, your money and your health was this easy!


October Menu Planning

Picture this:

The clock strikes 5:00 and you are home free. Everything is wonderful until you remember you don’t have plans for dinner. All of a sudden you’re panicking about ingredients and recipes and if you have enough of everything to make a meal. Instead of dealing with the idea of cooking you decide to just grab takeout.

Sound familiar?

While this option can be convenient, it is expensive and definitely not the most healthy. No matter if you have a big family or live by yourself, taking time to create menu plans each week will save time and money.

Why plan a menu?

Planning a menu will help you avoid:
• Going to the grocery store, loading up your cart, spending $100 or more, returning home to put all the food away, and then realizing you still have nothing to make for dinner. Let’s be honest, we have all done it.
• Spending 30 minutes or more at night trying to figure out what to eat for dinner. Menu planning means you spend 30 minutes or less per week figuring out what to eat. That is quite a time savings.
• Spending $40 on take out because you couldn’t figure out what to make with ingredients in the pantry.
• Throwing out leftovers you forgot about in the back of your refrigerator.

How to plan a menu

The hardest part of planning a menu is making time to do it.
Use these simple and easy tips along with the menu planning template to make a menu in just minutes!

1. Schedule a time when you will have a few minutes to dedicate to the task.
2. Plan your menu around food items you already have on hand. This will not only make your grocery bill less, but also use up products before they spoil.
3. Choose a variety of meals that include family favorites, budget stretchers, and quick-fix meals.
4. Cook once, eat twice. Plan to use your leftovers. Putting leftovers into your menu plan will reduce the amount you have to cook and reduce the amount of food waste.
5. Picture your plate as you plan each meal. Remember to include veggies and fruits in the menu. Ideally half the plate will include vegetables and fruits, a quarter of the plate will have grains, and the other quarter will have protein. With a glass on the side for dairy, you will have all the food groups suggested by MyPlate: choosemyplate.gov.
6. Have the local store circulars available when you are planning. Always take advantage of sales on products you know you will use.
7. Create a thorough shopping list.
Use this handy Grocery Shopping Packet to assure you have a successful trip to the store.

Sample Menu Plan for October PLUS 7 Delicious Recipes.

Big Bites on a Little Budget has put together a sample menu plan for October to help you get started. Feel free to switch things around and get creative.

Here is one of their wholesome and delicious recipes. Click here to find 6 more!

Easy Lite Lasagna

Enjoy!


References

Mayo Clinic
mayoclinic.org

USU Extension
extension.usu.edu





Fresh Eats // Zucchini Salad

Fresh Zucchini Salad

Do Onions Make You Cry? Not With These Harvesting Tips!


Do you love zucchini? Are you still looking for ways to use up the rest of the zucchini you harvested? Well then today is your lucky day!

Here is a recipe from Eat Well Utah to create a yummy, light, refreshing salad with raw zucchini. Do you love any other recipes that use raw zucchini? If so, make sure to comment below!

Click here for tips and the recipe!

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