I am always reading up on the latest health information and the other day I came across an interesting study that helps back up one of my key convictions - people should eat home cooked meals. The California study was done to find out the differences between families that had less stressful lives and those that had more stressful situations. One difference they found was that less stressed families ate meals prepared at home from scratch. The families that used more convenience foods actually spent more time in the kitchen, not less. Of course, sitting down together for a meal also bonded families and allowed for better communication.
Not only are home cooked meals better for you physically, but apparently they are better for your mental health too. I think most people who don't cook much would if they would just get organized. Your kitchen pantry needs to be organized and filled with basic foods so that you can prepare a simple meal without a trip to the grocery. You need to keep a running grocery list so that when you do shop, you don't forget things. You need to plan exactly what you are going to have for dinner for at least three days every time you shop. You can refer to some of my earlier posts for more tips on getting organized.
Family time can also include cooking together so get everyone involved. You will be teaching your kids the necessary skills to take care of themselves eventually when you get them to help in the kitchen. By the time they are teens, every kid should be able to prepare a simple meal. I'm not talking about peanut butter sandwiches by the way.
Even though our local weather has turned unseasonably hot, I have a simple, satisfying chowder recipe. Real crab can be very expensive but you can substitute imitation crab in this recipe and it will be just as good.
Corn and Crab Chowder
6 slices bacon (I used the precooked kind)
2 celery ribs, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
1 onion chopped
1 32 oz. container chicken broth
1 Tbsp. flour
2 14 oz. cans of whole kernel corn, drained or equivalent amount frozen
1 lb. crab meat, drained and picked for shells, or use imitation
1 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
Cook bacon in microwave and crumble. Saute celery, bell pepper, and onion in 1 to 2 Tbsp. olive oil till tender. Whisk together broth and flour till smooth. Add to vegetables and stir in corn. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Gently stir in crab meat and next 4 ingredients. Cook 5 minutes until well heated. Serve with crumbled bacon and oyster crackers. You could also substitute cooked chicken in place of the crab meat.
Spend some time this weekend organizing your kitchen so it is easier to prepare meals. I have begun posting the results of our health tests this week on my blog on jonesboro.com. Look for the cardiologist's wife under the living tab. The first test didn't reveal any surprises but there are some to come!