Real food flavor in a rush

Real food spices faster photo

How many times does a recipe, or food idea seem like a great idea … until you read the final entry: Place in the fridge for at least two hours before serving. Groan! I can’t solve every instance of this mood-killing statement, but I can help when you are working with blending dehydrated spices or herbs into your meal.

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Real-food Hummus on the fly

Real food hummus lunch photo
Small servings of hummus can be made easily without a food processor.

Hummus is high on a healthy food scale. The main ingredient is beans, a vegetable source of protein that costs little. The additions are simple, whole ingredients without down-sides. To buy ready-made hummus is costly, and to make it, easy. Throw ingredients in a food processor — done. However, I usually take it one step down the simplicity scale by skipping the food processor for small quantities of hummus.

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No crackers? No problem!

No crackers? No problem!

Real food crackers photoCrackers have a short life span in my house. They disappear like potato chips, so I protect myself by rarely bringing crackers home. Crackers seem like healthy food, but if you check the nutrition information, you will find that most are loaded with salt and fat, plus come with a long list of additives. My general rule is that if I can’t pronounce an ingredient, I shouldn’t eat it. Crackers have plenty of tongue-twisting words in the ingredient list.They can also be pricey for the nutrition they deliver. You can easily make a much better cracker from tortillas.

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Super fast dinner with cooked chicken

Super fast dinner with cooked chicken
Easy real food couscous with chicken photo
Spicy chicken apricot stir fry over couscous. Leftover cooked chicken and microwave couscous means dinner in a flash.

I won’t claim that this dinner is as fast as popping a pizza pop into the microwave, but it is in the same class. Same class for time, of course. In nutritional value and taste, this quick dish wins before the contest starts.

The day was hot and I had been working in the garden for hours. I needed warm food, but there was no way a chicken dinner was appetizing. I was also about a heartbeat away from running to the corner for a sub, so it had to be fast and easy.

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Real food components: When it all comes together

Grilled cheese with roasted red pepper and hot salt image
Grilled cheese with roasted red pepper and hot salt. Grilled cheese is always good. This sandwich was great.

When you are hungry on a busy Saturday, you are highly unlikely to put together a great lunch following a recipe. But when you run in, too hungry because you spent an hour doing one more thing before you stop for lunch, you can still have a great lunch when you have some real-food aids on hand.

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Creating real food sides on the fly

Real food fast: Cucumber salad photo
This crisp, cool salad can be made in the few minutes just before you serve dinner. Perfect with spicy food.

The difference between a good meal and a great meal is often the little sides or condiments you add to the main dish. This little cucumber salad is perfect to prepare as you wait for the meal to cook.

Don’t think of this idea as a recipe, more like a concept. My sides are often inspired as I gather the ingredients for the meal.

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