Who’s the cook at your house? There is a good chance there may not be one. An article published by the Washington Post shared that less than 60 percent of meals served at home were actually cooked at home. And a comparison study conducted by the National Institutes of Health reflected a trending decline in U.S. home food preparation and consumption by as much as 23 percent across all socioeconomic levels. Why the decline in home cooking? Among the reasons cited were:
1. Generally, women have been leading the way in the kitchen but now, they are working more and don’t have the time.
2. With women working more, others have not stepped up to fill the cooking gap.
3. There have been dramatic increases in the availability of packaged meals.
4. Grocers are offering broader selections of freshly prepared foods to go. (But, doesn’t that take the joy out of cooking?)
Put the fun back into food by making it a family or friends-and-neighbors affair! Helping hands in the kitchen mean less chopping for the cook, and everyone can engage in a connected, real-life conversation.
Choose a simple recipe that is packed with flavor, has a shorter list of ingredients, and is quick and easy to make, like this Zoodle Noodle Basil Pesto. Packed with vitamin C, lots of yummy fiber, and make-your-skin-glow omega-3 fats, let the kids handle this one as zoodles – that’s zucchini turned in to noodles – are made using a simple hand-held spiralizer that’s super easy and fun to use. With any luck, you may have a new cook in the house!
Zoodle Noodle Basil Pesto with Tomatoes (Serves 4)
- ¾ cup pine nuts
- 1/3 cup grapeseed or olive oil
- 2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 1 garlic clove
- ¼ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese, plus extra for garnish
- Pinch sea salt
- ½ teaspoon white pepper
- 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
- 8 medium zucchini, ends trimmed
1. Using a “zoodler” (spiral slicer), make zucchini spaghetti and place in a large mixing bowl. Bring a large stock pot of water to boil, add zucchini noodles (zoodle noodles) and cook about 3 minutes. Drain and set aside.
2. In a food processor, puree pine nuts, grapeseed oil, basil, lime, garlic, sea salt, and pepper until smooth. Spoon pesto over cooked zoodle noodles, add tomatoes, toss to coat and serve with a little parmesan cheese.
Note: For a non-vegan, high protein option, sauté ½ medium white onion, diced, and ¾ pound of ground turkey with 1 tablespoon of grapeseed oil until turkey is cooked through. Toss with zucchini noodles, pesto, and serve.
Serving size: one heaping cup436 calories, 21.1g carbs, 11.4g protein, 38g fat, 4.2g saturated fat, 6.2g fiber, 9.3g sugars
About the Author: Susan Irby is a Certified Fitness Nutritionist and food healer, award-winning network television and radio personality, and the creator of The Bikini Chef brand, its recipes and content, which promotes “figure flattering flavors.” She has penned nine books and just ran her first marathon at age 50! Visit Susan online at thebikinichef.com, susanirby.com and bikinilifestyles.com.