Healthy homemade mac and cheese

It can be a challenge to get fresh, delicious, healthy meals on the table night after night. But guaranteeing fresh taste at the dinner table doesn't have to be difficult. Find out how with these easy dos and don'ts.

Mealtime dos & don'ts

Ensuring a fresh taste at mealtime can be as simple as adding some fresh herbs or lemon juice — leftovers can take on a whole new flavor and become something new and exciting the next day. There's nothing wrong with serving a frozen dinner, but give it an easy, fresh makeover to make it look and taste great.

fresh parsleyDo...

Add fresh herbs to your favorite meals to enhance flavor and give them an instantly fresh taste. Chop fresh parsley, cilantro and basil and sprinkle them over meat, pasta or even frozen meals. It's a surefire way to dress up jarred pasta sauce or frozen pizza.

Don't...

Let a frozen dinner stand alone! Give it a "fresh makeover" by serving it with steamed vegetables or a tossed salad with homemade dressing. Take frozen meals out of plastic containers and serve them on real plates — even something minor like this can give a frozen dinner a fresh feel.

Do...

Make your leftovers fresh again by turning them into something new. Turn leftover rice into delicious fried rice packed with your favorite vegetables, use cooked meats and veggies in a fun and delicious Mongolian barbecue, or turn that remaining steak into a sensational salad or sandwich.

Get more mouthwatering ideas for putting leftovers to good use >>

kitchen timerDon't...

Let your meal cook or sit too long before serving. It can be hard to get the timing right, especially if you have multiple items cooking simultaneously. Make sure you have everything prepped and chopped before you start cooking, which will help ensure good timing. Make a list of what to make, and start with the item that takes the longest to cook. As things are ready, keep them warm in a 200 degree F oven, or simply cover the dishes with a towel or foil until mealtime.

broccoliDo...

Use frozen meals and ingredients as a base for a healthy meal. Quickly steam frozen vegetables for a fast and easy side, or mix them with other ingredients for a fresh and delicious rice pilaf or casserole. Take prepared mac and cheese and mix in vegetables for a healthier main.

Get more ideas for using frozen ingredients in fresh ways >>

Don't...

Overcook your food. There's nothing worse than a completely dry piece of meat or soggy vegetables. Keep it fresh by using a thermometer to monitor your meat's doneness and taking it out a few minutes earlier, as it will continue to cook even when it's out of the oven. When steaming vegetables, remove them from the heat when they are tender to the bite but still have crunch, and run them under cold water so they keep their vibrant color.

Do...

Make your own frozen dinners in advance for a fast, fresh meal in a pinch. Making your own frozen meals is easy and, in the end, much fresher than purchased frozen meals, since you have complete control over what goes in them.

Learn how to make your own frozen dinners >>

More meal tips

The fit freezer: How to make low-fat frozen meals at home
5 Easy (but healthy!) family meals
Warming up frozen entrees with wine

Tags: fresh food

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Comments

Comments on "Guaranteeing a fresh taste at the dinner table"

Kate July 09, 2012 | 12:42 PM

These are all great tips! I love the reminder about not letting your food overcook before you serve it, I am so guilty of that! And I also love the thought of revamping your leftovers.

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