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Creative Cooking with Limited Kitchen Appliances

Black Bean Salad

This week's journal entry looks at the art of creative cooking. Eating well does not have to be complicated and is often accomplished without a lot of ingredients. The black bean salad and microwave stuffed potatoes recipes (below) offer many different options by simply switching out a few ingredients. The chicken salad sliders are great for a quick lunch or dinner.

Even better, preparing delicious, healthy meals at home during the warm months of summer can be accomplished without using a stove or cooktop.

Below is a list of a few key kitchen gadgets to save time and keep things cool in the kitchen. Also, consider cooking multiple servings that can be used throughout the week.

  • Panini or sandwich press
  • Rice cooker
  • Microwave
  • Slow cooker

Try using precooked ingredients, such as rotisserie chicken, canned beans (first, drain and rinse the beans to reduce sodium) and tomatoes, and canned chicken and tuna to create quick meals in minutes. Attempt these quick meals without using your stove.

The following recipes were published in Registered Dietitian Jessica Cox's article, "5 Quick and Healthy Meals without Using the Stove," on the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics' blog.

Black Bean Salad

Mix up a Mexican-style meatless meal by tossing canned (drained and rinsed) black beans with fresh, frozen or canned corn, a tomato, bell pepper, and red onion. Add avocado, jicama, or diced mango. Toss with lime juice and olive oil, and serve over crunchy romaine lettuce with whole-grain tortilla chips.

Slow Cooker Double-Duty Roast

Prepare your favorite beef or pork roast in a slow cooker, and serve half for dinner. Reserve the remaining roast to use as a filling for tacos or sandwiches later in the week. Try shredded pork tacos with salsa made with fresh pineapple, red bell pepper, jalapeno, cilantro, and lime juice. Toss shredded beef with barbecue sauce, and serve on toasted whole-grain hamburger buns with a fresh green salad or crunchy coleslaw.

Chicken Salad Sliders

Mix together chopped rotisserie chicken, toasted chopped pecans or walnuts, quartered seedless grapes, light mayonnaise, chopped tarragon, and salt and pepper to taste. Serve on whole-grain slider buns, dinner rolls, or in pita pockets.

Turkey and Apple Waffle Sandwiches

Replace bread with whole-grain frozen waffles for a new spin on sandwich night. Prepare the waffles according to the package directions using a toaster. Combine light mayonnaise, maple syrup, and Dijon mustard, and spread over the waffles. Layer with deli turkey, sliced Granny Smith apple, and spring mix salad greens.

Microwave Stuffed Potatoes

Use a microwave for easy stuffed potatoes. Prick medium russet or sweet potatoes with a fork and microwave on high power for 6 to 8 minutes or until tender. Split the potatoes and scoop out some of the flesh. Add your favorite seasoning to the scooped-out potato flesh, and spoon back into the potato shells. Try topping baked potatoes with guacamole, chopped tomato, and cilantro, or stuff sweet potatoes with broccoli, walnuts, and dried cranberries.