Meal Planning

Have a sit down with your family and ask them what kind of mood they are in, and what ideas they can bring to the table, within reason. One family member may suggest Mexican, while another may be craving Italian.
Do not be afraid to ask for assistance. Once you have two or three ideas as far as ethnicity for your meals, sit down and plan out a few basic recipes and what ingredients you will need.

It is always a great idea to have a well-stocked pantry, because if you do, chances are meals will be a great success. Things like spices, different oils such as whole food oils like extra-virgin olive oil or sesame oil are great ways to make a simple meal simply fabulous.

You will find that with a well-stocked pantry, input from your family, and a little pre-planning, you will be quite happy with the results and changes around dinnertime in your household.

A Little Meal Preparation Goes a Long Way

Once you have planned out some of your meals and the ingredients, an excellent idea is to do a little meal preparation in advance. Here are some basic tips:

1. Try batch cooking, even if it is just your main ingredient from your three ingredient or less meal. Batch cooking your chicken, for example, even if it is just the marinade portion, will save you tons of time. For example, you could buy your chicken in bulk, slice it into cutlets, and marinate in a freezer bag and freeze for later use. In this way, your three ingredient or less meal will have the main staple ready, set, to go.

2. Try buying in bulk. Sometimes buying in bulk can save you even more money. If you know what types of lean beef and skinless chicken meals your family enjoys, try buying organically, whole foods and in bulk. In this way, you will reap the rewards of eating healthy, cooking quickly, and saving money all at the same time.

3. Prepare different rubs and spices ahead of time. If you have a basic set of recipes for your three ingredient or less meals, then you can go ahead and prepare some marinades and rubs ahead of time. This will save you tons of time in the kitchen. Imagine pulling out a small package of chicken breasts, rubbing some pre-made marinade on them and throwing together just one more ingredient to have a really flavorful, spicy, simple, easy, and nutritious meal that saved you money.

4. Preparing whole foods may seem a little bit more work; however, you can wash and cut whole fruits and vegetables and enjoy them as you go along your week. A fresh fruit salad is easy to grab and go for breakfast. Chopped broccoli, carrots, and cauliflower are super easy to use as a stir-fry, in a salad, or with a dip as you are waiting for the real deal dinner to cook.

5. Whole foods do not have to be difficult foods. If you are cleaning up from one meal, it is very easy to throw a few potatoes in a pot and boil them for tomorrow night’s meal. You could toss carrots and celery along with onion and cauliflower in a pot of boiling chicken broth to simmer for another evening’s soup meal. When you plan ahead, and keep the momentum going, the possibilities are endless.

Once you incorporate meal preparation and meal planning alongside your knowledge of whole food preparation, your three ingredient meal options are endless.

Here are a few different types of whole foods that you can mix and match, so to speak, with other types in order to create a variety of whole food meals.

The Fruit Family

While most individuals do not think of cooking with fruits, to do so is a creative way to add whole foods such as fruits to your meal planning.

• Apples
• Pears
• Peaches
• Mangoes
• Apricots

Many beef dishes, as well as chicken and fish, are made with mango and apricot glazes. Cooking with whole fruits is a wonderful way to incorporate the fruit family into otherwise ordinary meals.

Vegetable Whole Foods

While vegetables are easy to purchase in the frozen or canned section, cooking with whole food vegetables is just as easy. A sweet potato or a baked potato is easy to make in the microwave or even a toaster oven or crock pot as a meal with beef or turkey.

• Potatoes
• Broccoli
• Carrots
• Squash
• Eggplant
• Yams

Legumes

Legumes are a wonderful addition to any meal, as they provide protein, flavor, and texture to your meals.

Legumes come in many varieties:

• Chickpeas
• White beans
• Red kidney beans
• Black beans
• Peas and lentils

Do Not Forget the Nuts

Nuts and seeds are wonderfully expressive ways to make your meals pop. Sesame seeds, peanuts (if there are no allergies, of course), sunflower seeds, and almonds are superb ways to add nutty, nutritious flavor to your foods.

There are so many options for recipes; the list goes on and on, for example:

• Vegetable lasagna made with whole grain pasta
• Beef and bean enchiladas
• Creamy tomato soup
• Avocado and pear salad
• Chicken and broccoli over rice
• Shrimp and broccoli over spaghetti
• Desserts with whole fruits such as peach cobbler or apple tarts, sweet potato pie
• Vegetable dip with a side of cucumber or broccoli soup
• Beef and pepper tacos
• Chicken tortillas with peppers
• Beef with broccoli
• Beef with stir fry vegetables
• Chicken, pasta, and broccoli
• Any kind of bean with any kind of pasta with some added chicken

The list is almost endless. You can keep these ideas as your favorite under three ingredient meals as your go-to source or you can mix and match and come up with one or two or even four of your own. The possibilities are unlimited.

You can even get creative with desserts, such as making a peach cobbler topped with whole walnuts.
Whole foods are not just for dinner, either. You can enjoy a healthy fruit salad by dicing and chopping a bunch of whole fruits and keeping it in a container to enjoy throughout the week. You can eat it as is or add it to cereal or oatmeal, as well.

Snacks such as a banana or an avocado are excellent choices for whole foods – even tomato and cucumber are tasty treats for snack time.

The Low-Down on Simple and Delicious Cooking with 3 Ingredients or Less

So, as you can see, simple and delicious cooking really is a thing of your present. You can absolutely cook delicious meals with three ingredients or less. In addition, the best news is that there are ways to cook these meals and have them be highly nutritious and save you time and money, as well.

A win/win situation all the way around – for you and for your family.