The number of deaths due to COVID-19 Omicron in the United States has been rising, reaching a daily average of almost 1,700 as of January 17. Analysts predict that there will be about 50,000 to 300,000 more deaths until the middle of March. Because of the high transmission rate of Omicron, many U.S. companies have postponed their schedules of returning to the office.
Many Americans will continue to work from home. This means a continuation of multitasking as they will also have to cook meals from home. For families with children, time must likewise be set aside for childcare and, for those with school-aged children, help with distance learning. To handle all of these, meals must be simple and easy to prepare. They must also be delicious and healthy, as well. Health, after all, is a major consideration in the pandemic.
The Outdoor Kitchen
As people seek a break from the monotony of staying at home, outdoor kitchens have become popular home additions. By cooking outside, cabin fever is averted. Cooking also becomes more of a recreational family activity than a chore. Having an outdoor dining set makes each grilled meal a family picnic.
Also, what could be easier than tossing something on a Lynx grill with the best parts and features? Everyone loves the flavor of grilled food. You can grill various meats, poultry, seafood, and even vegetables. You can baste these with extra virgin olive oil and season with salt and pepper. You can also add your favorite herbs for added flavor.
Fresh Vegetables and Fruits
Whether you cook your vegetables outside or in an indoor kitchen, make sure they are fresh. The same must be true for your fruits. Freshly picked vegetables and fruits have a superior taste and have more vitamins and nutrients intact.
The best way to do this is to source vegetables locally. Instead of relying on vegetables from the supermarket, search for nearby gardens or farms that take orders online and deliver on the same day. Even in an urban area, you may find an urban farm. These are cropping up almost everywhere.
At least one meal a day must include a fresh vegetable salad and a dessert of fresh fruit. Raw vegetables and fruits have enzymes that are good for the body. These enzymes are lost when the vegetables and fruits are cooked. Make sure you wash the vegetables and fruits well. Add some vinegar to the final rinse.
Experiment with various homemade dressings. Store-bought salad dressings often have a high sodium content that pulls down the value of a healthy salad. Stock up on extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and garlic as a base for dressings. Just add some salt and pepper. You can replace the vinegar with lemon juice. Other sour fresh fruit juices will do, as well, such as lime or pineapple. For a creamy dressing, mashed avocado or yogurt can be used as the base.
Instead of having fruits as dessert, you can add them to the salad. Sliced mango, strawberries, and kiwi are just some examples. Throw in a handful of walnuts, almonds, pistachios, or any other nuts for a crunchy texture.
You can prepare one-dish meals in an oven, a slow cooker, a pressure cooker, or even a rice cooker. For healthier dishes, half of the recipe must be made up of vegetables, a fourth made up of animal or plant protein, and a fourth made up of grains. You can create a wide variety of dishes with this combination.
Choose lean cuts of beef, pork, or chicken. Fish is a healthier option. You can also use beans as plant-based protein. Grains are preferably whole grain. Brown, red, and black rice are great additions to one-dish meals. Corn is also a whole grain, as is whole wheat pasta.
If you are using a rice cooker, make sure that all ingredients can be cooked in the same amount of time that the rice is cooked. You cannot use tough cuts of meat or beans that need to be cooked longer. Add all the other ingredients with the rice, including seasoning. Use the same amount of water you use in cooking rice. You can also replace this with broth. The resulting dish will be like Italian risotto. If you want the dish to be like a stew, use more liquid.
Choose a pressure cooker or slow cooker if you need a longer cooking time. Cheaper cuts of lean meat with tendon can be made very tender when cooked this way. You will have to add the vegetables much later, though, so that they do not get mushy.
Cooking can be exciting if you explore various cuisines and ingredients. There are so many flavors from around the world to try. These are now easy to order online. By reading up, you can learn how to tweak recipes to make them healthier and easier to do.