Rachel Ray did a smart thing when she made it easy and approachable for people to cook dinner with “30-Minute Meals.” The only problem? I’m not so sure a lot of those meals actually take 30 minutes.
My advice? Don’t try to cook dinner in under half an hour. If you work until seven p.m., have a healthy snack at five o’clock so that when you come home, you don’t mind waiting the forty-five minutes that it actually takes to prepare and cook a well-balanced meal.
On the nights where you can’t eat a handful of almonds or some fruit to stave off famished-ness, save complicated recipes for nights when you actually leave work on time. On busier nights, take a simple concept like grilled cheese and turn it into a recipe that delivers some nutrition and a lot of flavor.
Though bread and cheese aren’t always regarded as healthy options, honey is. We all know to put honey in our tea when we have sore throats, but most of us don’t stop to ask why. Honey has been used for centuries as a topical application to help prevent infection, due to naturally-occurring antiseptic and antibacterial qualities.
With the invention of antibiotics, people regard honey less as medicinal and more as….delicious, but consuming honey is still said to have health benefits and might even reduce sensitivity to environmental allergens.
Honey is great drizzled on toast, but that alone isn’t a substantial dinner. However if you add cheese to just about anything, I consider it a meal, as I do this open-faced grilled cheese from the Southern Farmer’s Market Cookbook.
- 1 (3 oz) piece whole grain baguette (sliced in half horizontally, then into 2 inch pieces)
- 1½ - 2 oz. soft, pungent cheese, such as brie or camembert
- 1 tablespoon honey (local, if possible)
- Preheat broiler to high. Slice bread in half horizontally and cut into 4-6 inch lengths. Top each with a generous portion of cheese (I used brie, my favorite!).
- Broil in the center of the oven until the edges of the bread have browned and cheese is bubbling, about five minutes. Watch carefully to ensure that the cheese doesn't burn.
- Remove from oven and place a couple of toasts onto a serving plate. Drizzle with a tablespoon or so of honey and serve immediately. For a well-rounded meal, serve with fresh fruit or a mixed green salad.
- NOTE: For a larger group (or a big appetite) use approximately a pound of cheese and ½ cup honey to one twelve ounce baguette. The whole recipe serves 8-10 people and is also a great alternative to garlic bread as a side dish or appetizer.