Sunday, April 15, 2012

Nutrition & Meal Planning

Since I found out that I was preggers with D1 in 2008 Hubby and I have had 'nutrition talks'.  Yes, some were completely unrealistic such as the one where our child would never eat McDonald's. HA!  She gets it rarely, but alas, she has had a chicken McNugget a few times in her life.  Anyways, the issue lately has been lunch.  His target is Uncrustables (Costco's version to be exact).  I keep getting articles sent to me (from him) that they are the worse thing on the planet that you can give your kid.  Partially hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup, and preservatives are his complaints.  I get it, I really do.  My issue, albeit selfish, is convenience.  When we are running out the door for an 'on the fly' zoo or aquarium trip I always pack a lunch.  Sometimes we have bread, sometimes not.  Its random.  What I can't do is delay our spontaneity to cook a lunch at home, eat it and then go.  We would never get out the door.  In those times, I turn to the foods in question.  My kids eat a home cooked meal most nights and rarely do we eat out... so they are far from 'unhealthy eaters', but yes, Uncrustables are bad.  They have all the worst things in them.  Driving yesterday, he was quoting the above linked article stating that PB&J,in general, are not bad, if you make them yourself from quality stuff. I agreed and we discussed options.

I made a trip to Costco and did some label reading and we came up with some alternatives.  The draw to Uncrustables were:
1. Convenience, which is obvious
2. Shape, which in the car or on the go they rarely get too messy and are easy to eat by a toddler
3. Stock'ability',  we have room in the freezer.  They can stay in there until needed and really don't go bad unlike bread, etc.

the ingredients

The preserves label.  GOOD STUFF!
The peanut butter

All set up

Packed and in the freezer
Tonight I made 'Peperables' (HA!). I got Kirkland (Costco brand) peanut butter where the only 2 ingredients are Peanuts & salt which excited hubby!  I also got some fruit preserves.  I got a raspberry, cherry, acaì version which tastes heavenly!  Its a whopping 25 calories per tablespoon.  Awesome.  I paired those ingredients with hot dog rolls which are so much more toddler friendly than bread.  They are closer to a toddler serving and they can easily eat them with 2 hands.  I got to work.  I made 16 sandwiches in about 10 minutes.  I bagged them all up and threw them in the freezer.  Wala.... no more hubby nutrition talks (for now)!!
2 pieces of scrapbook paper, a frame, some scissors and tape!

I did our meal planning today while D2 slept and D1 was watching Dora.  I 'pinned' a few recipes I thought sounded good and made my list.  During lunch I remembered that I had bought a picture frame holder to help with the meal planning, from pinterest of course.  I got to work.  It was done in about 10 minutes and looks fabulous.  Its a nice way to mentally remind yourself what you have to take out or have ready for dinner.  I'm quite excited about it.  Hoping Hubby will read it!

The freezer pack

The kiddos and I then did a quick trip to the grocery store and while the kids napped I made dinner.  I ended up making 2 so that I could freeze one for a later date.  Of course, I changed the recipe.  The original version posted here did not call for rotini or garlic.  I was preparing it as it was and just thought that t would be so much better with my additions and it turned out GREAT.  It is definitely one for the books.  Adding the garlic made the sauce smell divine.  YUMMO!!!  Here's the recipe.


Cooked the chicken on the wolfgang puck panini maker

1 – lb. fresh broccoli Break in pieces, and steam for 5 minutes.
3 cups cooked chicken breasts  – cube into bite sized pieces
3 cups Grated Cheddar Cheese divided
2 tubes Ritz Crackers
1  stick melted butter
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
1/2 box rotini, cooked


1/3 cup Butter- melted
1/4 cups Cornstarch, dissolved in 1/2 cup COLD Water
1/3 cup Chicken Broth
1/4 tsp. Salt
1/4 tsp Pepper
2 Cups Milk
3-4 cloves garlic, pressed
1 1/2 cups of the above Cheddar Cheese

In greased 13×9 pan, layer the broccoli, rotini and chicken, then set aside. In saucepan over medium heat, combine the melted butter, cornstarch dissolved in water, chicken broth, seasonings, garlic, and milk. Stir well, and continue stirring until sauce has thickened. Turn heat down to low, and add 1- 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese. Stir until melted. Pour over the chicken, rotini and broccoli. Top with 1- 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese.

Melt the butter, and add the poppy seeds, and stir well. Crush Ritz crackers in large zip-lock bag with a rolling pin. Don’t crush too small. Add crumbs to the melted butter. Sprinkle crumbs over the top of the grated cheese.

Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes, or until hot & bubbly.

The freezer one I wrapped with 3 layers of foil.  I plan to cook it a half hour with the lid on a and 30 mins uncovered.  I will let you know how it goes!

1 comment:

  1. I get all the "undesirables" in Uncrustables, but how about doing what I used to do? Make your own using store bought organic or homemade bread, PB & jam. Cut out with a fun cookie cutter, wrap in individual packages, place in freezer, and grab when needed.