It seems as if the school year begins earlier and earlier each year. Politicians would have you believe that as long as kids are in the classroom, they are learning. In truth, there is so much more to learning than simply showing up: eating the right foods helps, too.
Studies have shown that malnourished children have a harder time staying focused in the classroom. Many of the foods that make up a Standard American Diet –fast food, packaged snack foods, and refined grains – are low in nutritional value per calorie. They are literally designed simply to fill us up in the least expensive way possible, using the cheapest or even completely synthetic ingredients. The brain just doesn’t function as well without the nutrients it needs.
Let’s send our kids to school this year with the best chances for success by feeding them real, whole foods that nourish their bodies and their minds. Cooking whole foods doesn’t have to mean hours of time and effort in the kitchen: try this easy infused one-pot meal for a handy time-saver. Its mild flavors and separated ingredients stem complaints from picky eaters, and you can even use all frozen ingredients without changing the cooking time.
Plain Jane Chicken
4-5 pieces chicken
salt & pepper to taste
12-16 new potatoes, unpeeled, scrubbed, quartered
4 cups carrot medallions
8-10 mushrooms, washed, thickly sliced
4 cups frozen peas
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Spray inside and lid of 3 ½- or 4-quart cast iron Dutch oven with canola oil. Set chicken pieces into pot, trying not to overlap. Lightly season with salt and/or pepper. Add quartered new potatoes and carrots. Lightly season again. Scatter mushrooms into pot. Pour in peas.
Cover and bake for about 50 minutes, or 3 minutes after the aroma of a fully-cooked meal escapes the oven.
For a bit more flavor, drop a few peeled and halved garlic cloves underneath and around the chicken. Or consider drizzling 4 Tbsp. of your favorite Italian salad dressing over the chicken instead of salt and pepper for a totally different and extremely tasty meal.
About the author:
Elizabeth Yarnell is a Certified Nutritional Consultant and author of Glorious One-Pot Meals: A new quick & healthy approach to Dutch oven cooking. Her new e-book, Glorious One-Pot KIDS Meals, offer many more kid-friendly, quick and easy weeknight dinner solutions. Glorious One-Pot Meals recipes use a unique, patented cooking technique (US patent 6,846,504 ). Visit her online at www.GloriousOnePotMeals.com.