(10 seconds each to read and are almost that quick to prepare)
By Lisa Messinger
Food and Cooking at Creators Syndicate
Sometimes the least expensive cuts of meat are those that your local supermarket has featured on weekly special. However, there are other cuts that perennially tend to cost less, like chicken thighs and legs versus breasts, or pork chops versus pork shoulder and loin roasts. As autumn begins and heartier dishes fill more home menus, the spices and accompanying ingredients you choose can help blur the difference between pricey and lower-cost cuts, leaving you only with memorable flavor, as in the following chicken thighs with triple mustard sauce, or slow-cooker white wine-garlic pork shoulder that can be used in everything from pulled pork sandwiches on multigrain rolls to flavor-filled pasta sauce.
Dishes like these prove innovative food preparation can be easy, nutritious, economical, entertaining - and fast. They take just 10 seconds each to read and are almost that quick to prepare.
The combinations are delicious evidence that everyone has time for tasty home cooking and, more importantly, the healthy family togetherness that goes along with it! Another benefit: You - and your kidlet helpers - effortlessly become better cooks, since there are no right or wrong amounts.
These are virtually-can't-go-wrong mixtures, so whatever you choose to use can't help but draw "wows." Magic Meatloaf
Replace one half of the ground meat in your favorite meatloaf recipe with equal parts packaged soy crumbles and finely ground rolled oats, which will add fiber. Liven up the flavor with international flare by adding ground cinnamon, cumin and cayenne, finely chopped fresh ginger, finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves and fresh lemon juice for a Moroccan accent, or dried chervil, tarragon, savory, sage and lavender (or simply an herbes de Provence mixture) for a French twist.No Need to Chicken Out When It Comes to Flavor
Often the most bold flavors are added to recipes as a final flourish. Cook your favorite chicken thigh recipe in chicken broth, accented by dried dill and onion and garlic that have been sauteéd in olive oil. Carefully remove cooked chicken and stir three types of mustard (spicy, Dijon and yellow) and nonfat sour cream into the broth. Add cooked chicken back in and spoon sauce over it before heating for a few more minutes so all flavors will blend.Slow Cooker/Smart Cooker
Cook pork shoulder on low for eight hours or high for four hours in a slow cooker with salt, freshly ground black pepper, minced garlic, chopped onions and white wine (about one-half cup per three pounds of pork shoulder) or vegetable broth. If not using right away, let cool and then promptly store, tightly covered, for up to two days. Can be used in any way your imagination chooses, such as slathered in barbecue sauce for pulled pork sandwiches on whole-grain buns or as small pieces added to a pasta sauce.Don't Chuck the Chuck Eye Steak
Chuck eye steak is usually less expensive than other cuts (including the nearby cut of rib eye) and sometimes slightly less tender. It benefits from a marinade - and so do you since often that can be a highly flavor-filled option.
Marinate chuck eye steaks in a pan in the refrigerator tightly covered. An easy marinade can be put together by taking a store-bought or homemade vinaigrette made with a healthful olive oil foundation and combining it with red wine vinegar, chopped fresh chives and scallions, minced garlic and freshly ground black pepper. Discard marinade before cooking. QUICK TIP OF THE WEEK:
Substituting equal servings of crackers and dry cereal (especially if both are made from whole grains) for chips can be a wise snack or sandwich accompaniment for you and your kidlets. They are usually much lower in fat than chips, especially cereal because many cereal varieties contain none. The competition for shelf space at supermarkets means there are lots of dynamic flavor combinations vying for your attention that will undoubtedly whet your appetite.
Lisa Messinger is a first-place winner in food and nutrition writing from the Association of Food Journalists and the National Council Against Health Fraud and author of seven food books, including the best-selling The Tofu Book: The New American Cuisine with 150 Recipes (Avery/Penguin Putnam) and Turn Your Supermarket into a Health Food Store: The Brand-Name Guide to Shopping for a Better Diet (Pharos/Scripps Howard). She writes two nationally syndicated food and nutrition columns for Creators Syndicate and had been a longtime newspaper food and health section managing editor, as well as managing editor of Gayot/Gault Millau dining review company. Lisa traveled the globe writing about top chefs for Pulitzer Prize-winning Copley News Service and has written about health and nutrition for the Los Angeles Times Syndicate, Reader's Digest, Woman's World and Prevention Magazine Health Books. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com.