START THE WEEK OFF RIGHT: Spice up your cooking routine in quarantine – Quad City Times


Since the pandemic began in March, much of our time has been spent inside and that means plenty of time in the kitchen which might feel stagnant after a while. It’s normal to hit fatigue in the kitchen, but you don’t have to feel stuck. One challenge you might face is finding a way to cook heart healthy without taking up all of your free time. Well have no fear, there are ways to change up your routine and spice up your cooking game that can make you fall in love with cooking all over again. Here are five tips for new inspiration while cooking dinners at home that keep you healthy and strong.

1. Make a new dish using ingredients on hand: Open up your refrigerator and see what vegetables you have. Enter in vegetables you have at the site and it will find recipes that use those ingredients. You don’t need to download or install anything, simply browse the site and get ideas for new delicious dishes to make. With the broccoli and corn in my refrigerator, I could try out steamed broccoli and corn with marjoram or try Mexican-style corn and broccoli with garlic and basil. I’m thinking I’ll try out the latter.

2. Pack for a picnic: The weather is beautiful outside now and it’s easy to social distance at a park. Being outdoors in nature is also calming. It’s a great way to get your mind off things for a few moments. Black bean salad with corn, avocado and lime vinaigrette is a great take and go dinner for a picnic with a side of cornbread muffins and watermelon for dessert. Pack up a blanket, food, paper products and head out the door.

3. Make a small change for your go-to meals: No need to find a totally new recipe, just make small swaps to dishes you’re already cooking. If you love a good tomato sauce with your pasta, try switching it out for a walnut pesto, or change the pasta to zucchini noodles or a bean flour-based pasta. Make a small change. Swap out quinoa for white rice in a stir-fry. One small change could make a new dish your new favorite.

4. Creative leftovers: Instead of heating up leftovers for the second or third day in a row, repurpose them. You’ll end up with a whole new delicious dish. Leftover vegetables are great filled in a taco, mixed in with eggs for a frittata, sautéed into mock fried rice, or even over a whole wheat flatbread pizza crust. Is your mouth watering yet?

5. Take a virtual cooking class: Have you always wanted to learn tricks and tips for delicious cooking in the kitchen? UnityPoint Health – Trinity is offering their popular Cooking with Heart cooking series virtually. Now you can watch dishes being prepared in the comfort of your home and ask questions as the dish is made. The class takes you on a six-week journey to eating healthier by teaching you small steps and changes that can put you on a road to success. Some of the topics covered include redesigning your kitchen, mindful eating, anti-aging eating, and finding out what plant-based really means. The interactive series demonstrates over 25 dishes in six weeks. Each week, class participants get a chance to make at least two of the dishes in their own home with the culinary instructor. You get great new meal ideas and ways to update your own recipes to healthier versions. Participants have fun and gain confidence in cooking easy and quick meals that are delicious and good for them. Additionally, you receive a binder with all the recipes and handouts to keep organized. The class only costs $99 for the entire series and scholarships are available. To see if you qualify for a scholarship, please call 309-779-5340. Take back your health with delicious dishes!

For more information and to register for the Cooking with Heart series, visit