Calling all middle-class Americans! Put down that Big Mac and get back into the kitchen RIGHT NOW!!!
In a world of fast food and delectable gourmet chain restaurants we Americans have unfortunately lost our touch in the kitchen. We depend on a mystery ‘chef’ to prepare a mystery meal that has been picked, processed, cooked, frozen, thawed, frozen, thawed again, and reheated for a fee of 2$ to 25$. But do we ever once stop to think: “What are the ingredients in this?”, “Where did the ingredients come from” or “How long ago was it prepared?” No. We simply take what we pay for and cross our fingers in hopes that it is going to satisfy us, save us time, and provide at least some nutrients.
Why is this? Do we actually save any money?? Are we helping our bodies to grow stronger?? And is it REALLY saving time and energy to go to the restaurant, wait in line, order, and then wait for your food? Maybe. One of these three factors may come into play but chances are that all three are not a definite yes.
So how can we do things differently?
Get back into the Kitchen! Introduce yourself to your dusty old skillet and dig up your spatula from the back of the kitchen drawer.
What are the benefits you ask??
1. Knowing what you are putting into your body. This means knowing how many calories you are REALLY consuming, knowing what nutrients your body is getting, and being aware of how fresh your food is.
2. Saving money. You are able to buy ingredients that you know you can use for a whole week. You can even make a meal and (heaven forbid) eat it two days later for left overs!
3. Have the opportunity to spend some quality time with your family cooking and eating a meal at your kitchen table in your own home. This is also a concept that has been lost in our fast-paced lives of soccer practices and PTA meetings.
This is a very heavy topic that deserves SO much more attention and discussion but for now all we need to begin to do is cook. We wonder why people in France and Spain are so much thinner than Americans. It’s because they take the time to prepare their own meals and they don’t miss an opportunity to be active or walk.
So for today I have a challenge for you: Get creative and make your own spaghetti sauce. Everyone loves spaghetti and it is so quick to prepare (especially if you buy the canned sauce). When you take something like spaghetti sauce and get creative in the kitchen, you have the ability to not only improve it, but add so many wonderful vegetables that you do not normally find in spaghetti sauces. Sure you’ll have a lot of mess ups and throw out dishes at the beginning, but mistakes come with learning anything new. We need to start facing our fear of failing in the kitchen and reteach ourselves how to feed ourselves.
Here is my homemade recipe for spaghetti sauce. Let me know what you come up with!
4 cloves garlic
1 small yellow onion
1 head of broccoli
2 T fresh finely chopped basil (about 7 leaves)
3 T fresh finely chopped parsley (about a handful)
4-5 large tomatoes (I used 2 large tomatoes and 5 small tomatoes grown from my Grandfather’s garden) finely chopped
1 T extra virgin olive oil
2 t Italian seasonings
1/2 t salt
1 t pepper
A dash or two of garlic salt
1/2 C water mixed with 2 T all natural tomato paste
1 can organic chopped tomatoes (including the juice)
1. Heat large skillet with olive oil.
2. Saute garlic and onions on medium heat until vegetables are slightly softened.
3. Add broccoli, mushrooms, basil, and thyme. Continue to cook on medium until mushrooms are cooked down and broccoli is softened.
4. Gradually add salt, pepper, garlic salt to taste, Italian seasonings, fresh tomatoes, canned tomatoes, and water/tomato paste mixture.
5. Cook down until tomatoes are thoroughly cooked down and it begins to represent a sauce-like appearance.
6. Serve with your favorite pasta. I used brown rice pasta because I try to consume as little gluten as possible. If you were wondering brown rice pasta tastes almost exactly like white pasta.
7. Top with a touch of fresh Parmesan. Make sure you use a sharp cheese instead of a mild one such as mozzarella, so you get more flavor with just a small amount.
*Make sure you limit your portion of pasta and increase your portion of hearty sauce!