The concept of creating meals that are both simple and delicious presents a challenge for families of today. Simple meals sometimes resonate as one or two ingredients thrown haphazardly together. Delicious seems to fall by the wayside. This does not have to be the case, however, for today’s busy families. Combining simple and delicious is as easy as one, two, three – three ingredients, that is.
Where to Begin

Just about every family has one individual with, well let’s say, individual tastes – in other words; picky. It is important to begin your simple and delicious cooking with a three ingredients or less plan with something your pickiest of eaters will enjoy, as well. The most basic place to start is in evaluating your family members’ desires and tastes. While you do not want to appear as a full-service restaurant, you do want to present meals that will have “something for everybody” on the menu.

Something for Everybody

1. Take Inventory – Start your simple and delicious cooking by taking inventory of your family members’ tastes, likes, and dislikes. For example, if one person is a pasta enthusiast while another is a chicken lover, see if incorporating those two ingredients would work for both of them. Make a list of each family members’ likes and dislikes so you will know beforehand what to add and what to stay away from, as well.

2. Ask Every Family Member for Input – Do not try to take this project on yourself and on your own. Sometimes even the best intentions are misconstrued when it comes across as controlling or demanding. Asking for everyone’s input and truly taking those thoughts into consideration when preparing meals can make all the difference between acceptance and rejection.

3. Spice it Up A Lot – When you come up with a list of two or three ingredients that you wish to play with, do not forget to invest in a good set of spices. You can even begin by growing your own herbs to incorporate into the recipes. Once again, ask for some suggestions from family members. Your children may crave some southwestern spices or even Indian spices, but have never indicated that they wish to try on these flavors. You never know; their input may actually help you to put your meals together.

Make a List and Check it Twice

Now that you have every family member’s input, it is time to put on your thinking cap. Look at the different ingredients that your family members enjoy, as well as the spices they are interested in exploring. Take those ingredients and spices and begin making a list to see which ones would complement the others.

For example, if you have one family member who is crazy about pasta and another who loves healthy vegetables, think of creating a chicken and broccoli with pasta dish. Do not forget to incorporate those yummy spices as well.

Perhaps your husband is a meat-eater and a meat-lover while you prefer vegetables. Combining vegetables like yummy green, red, and orange peppers with beef can satisfy both of your taste bud needs and desires.

The Healthier the Better

While you are incorporating a new style of cooking (with three ingredients or less), try to introduce a healthier style of cooking at the same time. It is so easy and tempting to cook fast and easy but to not be aware or conscious of cooking unhealthy meals. While it may be tempting to throw some macaroni and cheese together quickly, that may not be the healthiest option there is.

Cooking Easy and Delicious with Whole Foods

While for some, whole foods may mean foods that are not processed or refined and having no pesticides or being organic, for others it is much simpler. Whole foods are foods that are ready to eat in their whole form and at its most natural state. All the vitamins, essential nutrients, and minerals are “ripe for the picking,” so to speak. A potato is a perfect example of such a thing.

There are many benefits to eating and cooking with whole foods.

1. Whole foods eaten in their natural state are healthier because they provide more vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Vitamins, minerals, and fiber are lost along the way as whole foods are processed.

2. Whole foods have health benefits by the multitude. Whole foods are showing effects of warding off disease such as heart disease, diabetes, and even obesity.

3. You do not always have to rely on supermarkets to obtain your whole foods. Growing fruits (depending on where you live) and vegetables is something that you can achieve in your own backyard. Carrots are a perfect example of a whole food that you can easily grow in your garden.

Eating whole foods has another tremendous benefit and that is avoiding the added preservatives and chemicals found in processed foods before arriving on your table and, worse yet, in your family’s stomachs.

Salt, sugar, trans fats, chemicals, and preservatives are all ingredients you want to stay away from when it comes to adding things to your family meal plan.

Fruits and vegetables have all the fiber necessary to fill you up and, therefore, may even result in eating a bit less, especially the wrong things.

Now that you know you can cook simple and delicious meals combined with some whole foods, that sounds like a win-win situation all the way around.