How to make homemade hash browns

Homemade HashbrownsHomemade hash browns. Need I say more? We have breakfast for dinner at least once a week so we’ve had a lot of practice as we sought to find the perfect method to make perfect hash browns that are crispy on the outside yet soft inside. You can shred or dice your potatoes but we prefer wedges.

If you want a crispy outside you can’t skimp on the butter. Butter is a healthy saturated fat (though I recommend buying a high quality butter since hormones and antibiotics given to conventionally-raised animals is stored in the fat). If you’re following my balanced eating approach, butter certainly has a welcomed place at the table when you’re choosing a protein, fat, and carb for your meals and snacks.

Let’s get right to the recipe:

How to make homemade hash browns

Ingredients

  • 5 medium russet or redskin potatoes
  • 3-4 Tbsp butter (cut into 1 Tbsp portions)
  • salt
  • pepper
  • garlic powder

Instructions

  1. Wash & pat potatoes dry
  2. Cut potatoes in half (hot dog style) then into wedges
  3. Steam potatoes in microwave ~5 minutes or until cooked 80% of the way through
  4. Add butter to wide, shallow frying pan and turn heat on high
  5. Place potato wedges in hot pan in a single layer.
  6. Flip after 2-3 minutes when the skin is crispy and gold.
  7. Add salt, pepper, and other desired seasoning after flipping.
http://www.budgetforhealth.com/how-to-make-homemade-hash-browns/

What We Ate: March 2015 (did I mention we love food?)

Another month of good eats! Let’s jump right in to another round of what we ate!

homemade pizza, breakfast, salmon burgers, rotisserie chicken

Homemade pizza & crust
I use this recipe or my mom’s recipe for pizza crust. We found a random variety of ingredients in the fridge that worked for toppings: spinach, kalamata olives, chicken sausage, banana peppers, and cheese. Since I keep frozen 2Tbsp portions of tomato paste in the freezer I just spread some on and sprinkled it with dried oregano, parsley, and crushed red pepper.

Breakfast for dinner
We have breakfast for dinner at least once a week. Yes, we go through a lot of eggs since we usually have 2-3 each between fried eggs at breakfast and hardboiled eggs as a snack or in our lunch. Don’t worry, they are an amazing protein source and you don’t have to worry about the yolk being bad for you. Eat ‘em up!

Our neighbors stopped by and said, and I quote: “We got too much bacon.” Is that a real thing?? I would argue no but we gladly accepted their offer and added some crispy bacon to our dinner along with homemade hash browns.

Salmon burgers & sauteed veggies
Thanks, Costco, for quick meals when I don’t want to cook or I forgot to plan ahead.

Rotisserie chicken
You’ll probably see this dish every month because it is SOO easy to make and you get a ton of meat out of it that can be used in a variety of ways throughout the week. We used the chicken to make burrito bowls and also this Sweet potato, Chicken, Quinoa Soup my sister shared with me.

Chicken marsala
This was a fantastic and I can’t take credit for making it. We had dinner with friends and they treated us to this delicious meal. If you want the recipe it can be found in the Eat This, Not That cookbook.

Indonesian food
We attended an Indonesian Cultural Night with friends of ours and it was catered by a local Indonesian restaurant. Everything was so flavorful- the beef rendang was my favorite.

Nachos
We threw toppings like ground beef seasoned with my homemade taco seasoning, jalapeños, fresh salsa, and cheese on a cookie sheet of tortilla chips and baked it in the oven. Mmmm mmm.

Tuna melts
Tuna mixed with mayo or avocado and some cheese on Ezekiel bread.

Sweet potato hummus
Great recipe if you get bored of regular hummus made with chickpeas

Chicken Curry Stew
Every month. This stew is a staple. I actually made 6 batches that filled 3 crockpots for a nutrition class I taught this month!

fresh cut strawberries

More fresh fruit
Strawberries were on sale for $0.50/pound at my favorite local produce warehouse so I stocked up on 12 pounds. I saved 2 pounds so we could enjoy fresh strawberries during the week and I froze the rest for adding to our plain, full fat yogurt.

food in lunch packing routine

Packed lunches
This is the first time I’ve remembered to take a picture of EVERYTHING I get out of the pantry, freezer, and fridge for packing our lunch the night before. It looks like a mess but I’ve got my routine down so well that it only takes me 10-15 minutes to make a lunch for Dave, Nora, and me. In this pic you can see all the toppings for our giant salads (can you spot the protein, fat and carbs?), Dave’s oatmeal with PB and raisins, Nora’s odd mixture of canned pumpkin, yogurt, almond milk, coconut cream, cinnamon, and a little oats, raw veggies with hummus, and plain, full fat yogurt with blood oranges (usually frozen fruit), nuts, and cinnamon.

The photo below shows how I’m able to pack our lunch in 10-15 minutes. I do all my produce prepwork ahead of time so I only need to pull out the containers and throw it in a salad or bag when it comes time to pack lunched. prepped vegetables

Here’s a close up of our salads. The ingredients vary but this one has hardboiled egg (protein), avocado, olives, and homemade dressing (fat), and all sorts of veggies (carbs) like bok choy, beets, bell peppers, cucumber, and greens.

pre-packed salads with protein, fat, and carbs

What are your favorite meals you plan to make this month?

My favorite method to hard boil eggs

I just launched a series of meal prep tips that make my life easier and I’ll be sharing my favorite tips with you so you can see that eating healthy doesn’t have to be time consuming or expensive.

If you haven’t been on Facebook or Instagram, you’ve been missing out on my food tips! I recently shared my favorite method to hard boil eggs that I use every time. We go through a lot of eggs so I don’t want to waste hours of my life peeling them. Do you remember my experience with Whole30 this summer? In just one month we went through 20 dozen eggs between the two of us! Don’t worry about the cholesterol in eggs; it’s a myth that they have a negative affect on your body. Eat them often and don’t throw out the yolk!

I hard boil and peel one or two dozen each week to make packing lunches a quick event. They are ready to throw in our salads or grab for a quick breakfast (along with a banana and handful of nuts… don’t forget to have protein, fat and carbs at each meal).

Let’s cut to the chase: here’s a 10-second video showing a quick demo of my egg-peeling method and I’ll share step-by-step directions below.

How to hard boil eggs

Ingredients

  • Eggs
  • 1 large shallow pot with lid

Instructions

  1. 1. Put eggs (single layer only) in a large pot
  2. 2. Bring eggs to a boil
  3. 3. Turn heat off and cover pot for 10 minutes
  4. 4. Drain water and run cool water over eggs until cool enough to handle
  5. 5. Drain all water but leave 1/4 inch
  6. 6. Place lid back on and shake side to side (NOT up and down) for 15 seconds.
  7. 7. Peel eggs with ease
http://www.budgetforhealth.com/my-favorite-method-to-hard-boil-eggs/

How often do you eat hard boiled eggs?

Meal prep tips that make my life easier

My sister recently requested some tips to help make meal planning and meal prep easier. Her days at work are jam-packed and she wanted tips that would help her plan ahead so that her meals and snacks are balanced (read more on what eating balanced means). We talked about a lot of different topics:

– What does my typical grocery list look like?
– What meals make a regular appearance in my monthly menu?
– What are some good snack ideas?
– What meal prep tips do I use?

We talked on the phone about all of this and then I sent her an email answering the questions above. There are so many little things I do that I don’t even realize are particular to me. My friend put it this way:

veggie prep“That picture you posted on your Facebook page of all the veggies you prepped for the week… That’s not normal (in a good way!). I know so many moms would love to do more meal prep ahead of time but aren’t sure how to get started.”

If you’ve followed Budget for Health for any length of time, you’ll quickly see that reason I created this site is to share practical tips related to food, fitness, and finance. It’s one thing to tell you to eat more veggies and put money into your retirement fund… at Budget for Health I want to show you simple ways to eat better, move more, and manage your finances with wisdom.

Therefore, for the next few weeks, I’m going to share tip after tip I personally use that makes my life easier and healthier.

A few things to note:

1. You might not like the foods we eat. I don’t intend for this to be a “copy everything I do” series but I want you to see how I plan ahead and my routines that make it easier to do so.

2. We eat like teenage boys. I kept track of how many dozens of eggs Dave, Nora, and I went through one month this summer and it was roughly 20. No joke. It only comes out to 4 a day so it doesn’t sound that crazy when you break it down like that. You should tailor the portion sizes accordingly and listen to your hunger cues.

3. Don’t feel overwhelmed. If you are used to eating out every day then starting to pack your lunch the way I do would overwhelm you. Start with a few small changes you want to make and once they become a habit and THEN you make a few more changes. Swap out one meal a week for a healthier meal and work your way up to more days each week.

Here’s what I’m going to share with you over the next few weeks. I’ll share the link for each topic as my posts go live in case you want to bookmark this article as your one-stop-shop to see everything I’m covering in the series.

My typical grocery list
Healthy snack ideas
Meals that we make regularly

Other easy meals we love
How I make meal prep time efficient
What goes in our daily monster salad
Make your own salad dressing
My favorite method for peeling hardboiled eggs
How I pack our lunches
How I prep veggies for the week

Kitchen tools I use every day

How I get the best deals on food

Freeze cooked beans, rice, and chicken in small portions
Cook a whole chicken in a crockpot
Pack your lunch after dinner
Make a big batch of homemade seasonings

What other tips have you seen me share on Facebook or Instagram that should be added to the list? 

What we ate: February 2015

what we ate in FebruaryI started a new tradition at Budget for Health by sharing recipes I made and loved. This is my 4th month of sharing (See what we ate in January) and it’s been a fun post to write. It’s also a form of accountability because I want to lead by example when it comes to meal planning that is easy, budget friendly, and healthy.

Grilled cheese
We had some good friends over for a Valentine’s day double date (plus Nora as the 5th wheel). We made a fancy grilled cheese feast with Trader Joe’s tomato soup and chocolate covered strawberries for dessert.

Black Bean Salmon by Sam the Cooking Guy
This sweet and salty dish is a favorite we make when we can find a good deal on wild-caught salmon. It only takes 10 minutes to make from start to finish!

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Crockpot rotisserie chicken
This has become a routine in our monthly meal planning. We try to buy good quality meat and I’ve found that the cost is less for a whole bird compared to buying just the chicken breast. I love the simplicity of this meal since all it involves is slicing an onion for the bottom of the crockpot, seasoning the chicken, and setting the timer. This month we roasted a spaghetti squash and added pesto, broccoli, and diced chicken.

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Tacos with homemade tortillas
The next night we had a big salad and threw our leftover taco meat with sautéed zucchini and squash for dinner.

Eggs & homemade hash browns
We eat eggs for dinner very often and switch it up between homemade hash browns and sweet potato hash. After trying many different techniques we’ve finally found a method that gives us hash browns that are crispy on the outside and soft on the inside; it involves steaming the potatoes until they are nearly fully cooked and then pan frying them on high in butter for a few minutes on each side. Delicious!

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Pork roast
I made the mistake of thinking pork butt and shoulder were interchangeable so instead of having pulled pork for dinner we would up slicing a roast. It was still delicious but this recipe is really good served as pulled pork over sautéed veggies.

Corn chowder
This recipe is a breeze to make so I throw two batches together so I can freeze some for another day.

Baked potato bar
Baked potatoes wrapped in foil keep the potatoes warm until served. We had a potluck to celebrate a friend’s recent engagement. The toppings included chili, broccoli, shredded cheese, plain Greek yogurt, and green onion. This makes for a very cheap meal that feeds a lot of mouths and tastes great.

Balanced snacks
The photo below may not be a meal but we try to be prepared with snacks so we don’t settle for processed food or stopping through a drive through while on road trips or when we’re just out for more than a couple hours during the day. We brought a good balance of protein (hardboiled egg), fat (almonds), and carbs (banana) for our road trip to visit family.

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What are some of your favorite recipes you’ve made lately?

What we ate: January 2015

what we ateI started a new tradition at Budget for Health by sharing recipes I made and loved. This is my 3rd month of sharing (See what we ate in December) and it’s been a fun post to write. It’s also a form of accountability because I want to lead by example when it comes to meal planning that is easy, budget friendly, and healthy.

Baked oatmeal
I made this twice in January. Both times I let it soak overnight to make prep easier in the morning. I also cut down on the maple syrup a LOT (1 Tbsp versus 1/3 cup). It’s plenty sweet if you’re adding fruit.

Chicken noodle soup
Mom saves the day again. This was a rough month for us in terms of health. All 3 of us got a bad cold to ring in the new year. My mom’s homemade chicken noodle soup is the bomb.

Baked potato bar
I’m glad I was taking pictures of Nora & enjoying her first birthday party but I wound up forgetting to take a snapshot of our baked potato bar! It was a cheap & delicious option since we were feeding 20+ guests. The toppings were homemade chili, cheese, green onion, sour cream, and (real) bacon bits. We had a veggie & hummus tray, artichoke dip, and birthday cake to go with the potato bar.

salmon burger

Salmon burgers
The salmon burgers from Costco are lifesavers on nights we need a quick dinner. I sautéed some fresh spinach, sliced up an orange, and added a few beets since I roasted a lot for salad toppings.

Spaghetti squash curry with ground beef & veggies
No special recipe here- just some baked spaghetti squash with my homemade curry powder, ground beef, and sautéed stir fry veggies from Costco.

Roasted turkey & sweet potato hash
#DOMESTIC. I bought a turkey when prices were rock bottom over Thanksgiving and stuck it in my deep freezer to roast another day. was pretty darn proud of how my first roasted turkey came out. I even tried a technique I had never heard of before: spatchcocking. This step-by-step spatchcocking resource was very helpful and it turned out to be super moist from the dry brine process I used. The total time commitment of this was a full week: 3 days to thaw, 3 days to dry brine, and I cooked it on the 7th day. If you have the space in your fridge then try it!

Turkey curry stew
Sad story; I think Dave has a temporary aversion to this dish because the night I made it we both came down with the stomach flu. It reminded him of being sick when we warmed it up the next day. It’s pretty darn good though so I’m sure he’ll be over it by next month when I make it again. I used turkey instead of chicken since I had a bunch leftover.

Butternut squash chili
We made this for friends and had plenty leftover even after going back for seconds. I never make the exact recipe because the type of beans or ingredients I have on hand vary each time. I love being able to make dishes the night before so all I have to do is heat it up before guests arrive.

What’s on your menu this month?

Healthy New Year Resolution Tips + KIND bar giveaway!

kind bar giveawayMonth one of twelve has come to an end for 2015.
How are you doing on your new year resolutions?

I just shared my goals for 2015 and while I didn’t make a specific nutrition goal for myself I am always pursuing two goals on a daily basis:

1. Eating real food (no or little ingredient list with REAL food ingredients)
2. Eating the right balance of protein, fat, and carbs every meal and snack.

If you want some practical tips, here are 3 that I agree with and have talked about in various articles I’ve written:

3 Healthy New Year Resolution Tips (provided by KIND)

1. Make Calories Count
It’s important to make your calories count, focusing beyond the number of calories and really looking at the quality of foods you put in your body. Focusing on diet quality can help control your calorie intake and can improve a number of health outcomes.

Main tip: Choose simple, wholesome, nutrient dense foods and snacks made with a balance of healthy fats, protein and fiber, such as KIND bars to improve diet quality. 

2. Embrace (Good) Fat
A new saturated fat study published in Annals of Internal Medicine caused even more unnecessary confusion on the fat debate. Some dietary fats are better than others, but when you cut down on one nutrient, you end up making it up for it with something else – it’s all about finding the right balance.

Main Tip: Stop picking on fat and put emphasis on your food choices as a whole versus one specific nutrient.   

3. Skip the Fad Diets and Focus on Your Needs
“No size fits all” when it comes to all of the diets you hear about in the news. Many have elements that are beneficial, but according to a recent study published in Annual Reviews which reviewed major diets to determine what’s best, found there is no winner.

Main tip: Instead of following trends, focus on a lifestyle that incorporates foods that are close to nature and minimally processed.

KIND Product Review
When I share recipes or provide product reviews on my site, I make sure the recipes include real food ingredients and that I only promote a product I would use myself. I will only give my honest opinion so if there are ingredients I don’t agree with I will make it known. I’ve turned down plenty of product reviews because they don’t align with what I preach here at Budget for Health.

With that said, I was contacted by KIND asking to review some of their bars. I’ll admit that I’ve tried plenty of KIND products before but have probably only bought my own KIND bar once or twice (ever) because it’s cheaper to make my own version and I don’t usually promote bars since sugar is often added. However, if you were stuck in meetings all day and forgot your balanced lunch you packed yourself I would then tell you to reach for either a KIND bar or Larabar if they are options amongst a pile of sugary & processed crap-laden “healthy” bars.

I was given a sample of ten KIND products to review (all bars):

KIND Nuts & Seeds
KIND Fruit & Nuts
KIND Plus

I preferred the KIND Nuts & Spices bars over the other two because they only contain 5 grams of sugar. My two favorite were the dark chocolate nuts & sea salt and the caramel almond & sea salt. The most sugar I saw in the KIND Fruit & Nut or KIND Plus bars was 14 grams. Some of that is due to the natural sugar in the fruit but some bars have added non-GMO glucose, sugar, honey, or maple syrup to sweeten the bar. You wouldn’t believe how crafty some companies are at hiding artificial sweeteners in their product and claiming to sell a natural or healthy product (hello Quest bars?? They contain stevia (ok in my book if it’s real stevia), erythritol (why did they even need to add more than stevia??), and sucralose (please no). To save a rant, I wrote a separate article all about navigating the different types of sugar.

You can learn about all the other KIND products they carry on the KIND website. If you decide you want to try a product out you can get 15% off + FREE shipping by using my promo code KINDNUTRITION through the end of February! With this deal you can get them for roughy $1.18 per bar.

KIND bar Giveaway
Now for the fun part; the KIND bar giveaway!
One lucky winner will be sent a prize package of 10 bars. This giveaway will end by midnight on Tuesday, February 3rd so tell folks about it!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: I was not compensated for this article aside from the KIND bar samples given to review. All opinions are my own.