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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Easy Prep Tips and Turkey Chili

By Scarlet Paolicchi

            

Preparing a homemade meal is considered to be one of the greenest options for every day living, as it usually involves saving on transportation, waste and packaging costs. Although home cooking has many monetary and health advantages, many (myself included) struggle when it comes to preparing a meal after a long day of work. I’ve found there are several easy ways to help overcome this challenge. Below are three, quick tips and an easy-prep recipe that I’ve found helpful when trying to stay on track!

Meal planning: Planning your meals a week in advance allows you to go out and purchase all the ingredients you need, saving you time and money. This will also help to prevent having to decide what to eat for dinner at dinnertime, which in my house can often lead to a dinner out.

Leftovers: In conjunction with meal planning, make sure you take advantage of your leftovers and save yourself the hassle of more cooking. If you prefer to have a little variety in your meals and don’t favor leftovers, pack them up in Ziploc® brand Containers with the Smart Snap® Seal and donate them to your nearest food depository.

Prepare ahead: Prepare your meals ahead of time and freeze them in Ziploc® brand VersaGlass® Containers. Whether you choose to keep green convenience foods in your fridge for snacking, or prepared meals in your pantry, doing the prep work in advance can save you a lot of time during those busy week nights. If you’re having trouble finding recipes, start with my recipe for Slow Cooker Turkey Chili. You can prepare half of this recipe ahead of time and keep the rest of the ingredients on hand for a quick, weekday meal.

turkey chiliSlow Cooker Turkey Chili 

Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 8 hours
Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

Dry Ingredients (Prepare several batches ahead of time, store in Ziploc® brand Containers with the Smart Snap® Seal and keep in pantry for future use)
1 cup dehydrated onion flakes
1 teaspoon garlic powder
3 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 cup dried beans (I prefer kidney beans, but pinto and canellini beans work well, too)
1 pound uncooked natural ground turkey (a greener option than beef)
1 (14-ounce) can tomatoes, diced
1 (8-ounce) can green chilies, chopped

For Garnish
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
1 tablespoon sour cream

Directions

Add all ingredients to the slow cooker and mix well. Cook for 8 hours on low. Plate and serve with garnish. Also consider serving with white rice and a garden salad.

What meals do you prepare ahead of time so they are ready in a jiffy? I'd love to hear about them in the comments below!

Photo courtesy Scarlet Paolicchi.

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