I’ve made no secret of the fact that I prefer to feed my family whole, real ingredients.
Joe and I both work full-time, opposite schedules, and eating dinner as a family is a top priority to us.Â I’ve Â made no secret of the fact that we use convenience and packaged foods when we need to in order to feed our family within the time constraints we have.
Weeknight meals must be healthy and delicious, but they also must be quick and easy.
One way we often speed up our mealtime process is by using canned foods. Our families have canned their own foods for decades, and we buy commercially canned foods to supplement our own.
When I was asked to work with the Cans Get You Cooking program, I knew it was a perfect fit. We have a cantry (that’s a canned food pantry) stocked with all sorts of fruit, beans, diced tomatoes, and chicken. These are our everyday staples, the things we have on hand no matter what and use more than once a week.
The canning process locks in foodsâ€™ freshness, flavor, and nutrients at the peak of ripeness, often just hours after picking.
In fact, a University of California at Davis study concluded that many canned fruits and vegetables have the same nutrients as their fresh or frozen counterparts.Â With many brands offering lower sodium varieties, eating canned foods is healthier than ever!
Here are some of our favorite canned foods and brands, as well as the recipes we prepare with them:
Del Monte Fruits
- I make an amazing orange pineapple tapioca dessert with canned pineapple and canned mandarin oranges.
- Baked pineapple is a favorite dessert at family dinners, and it also uses canned pineapple.
- I love pineapple upside down cake, and I always use canned pineapple to make it.
- Canned peaches are the star of this chicken stir fry recipe.
Del Monte Diced Tomatoes
- Joe used to make pasta with tomato gorgonzola sauce all the time, but obviously not since I became gluten-free. Maybe he could make the same sauce with spaghetti squash. It would be delicious!
- On that note, our spaghetti squash casserole recipe does include a can of diced tomatoes. This is our absolute #1 favorite way to eat spaghetti squash. We hoard them in the fall just to make it!
- Our favorite macaroni and cheese recipe calls for a can of diced tomatoes.
- Joe loves turkey black bean sloppy joes (which is sort of like chili made a different way). He likes to eat it in half of an acorn squash; I like it over rice.
- I love this BBQ “baked” beans recipe. We often mix it with rice and call it a meal. (It’s made in the crockpot, so it couldn’t be easier at mealtime!)
- Cajun beans and rice is completely different, but also a hearty meal that is super quick and easy to put together.
- I love this pureed black bean and roasted red pepper soup. It was created by an awesome chef I met at BlogHer in 2009.
- Have you ever eaten Cowboy Caviar? It’s an appetizer recipe that’s basically black beans, black olives, hard-boiled eggs, and green onions. It’s delicious and fairly healthy.
- This black bean chili couldn’t be easier. It goes together in about a half hour and tastes great.
- You can make a restaurant-style jumbo burrito at home.
Hormel Chicken Breast
- We haven’t made this jalapeÃ±o chicken corn bake since I went gluten-free (because it’s a bread-based casserole), but it’s really delicious. It also uses canned corn.
- Does buffalo chicken dip need any explanation? We eat this for dinner, for lunch, for snacks, and take it to parties and picnics. This is one of our family’s favorite recipes.
- Chicken nachos are a perennial favorite that use canned chicken, beans, corn, and black olives.
- We make all kinds of chicken enchiladas, and we almost always used canned chicken.
- One of our standard family recipes is broccoli, cheese, and rice casserole, and we always mix a can of chicken in to make it a meal rather than a side dish.
- I’ve never posted this one before, but my favorite thing to do with chili is to top a baked potato. Heat a can of chili. Bake one potato per person in the microwave. Mash the potato, spread a teaspoon of butter over top, and spoon hot chili over the butter. Sprinkle cheddar cheese generously over the chili and top the whole thing with a spoonful of Greek yogurt or sour cream. It takes less than 10 minutes to make 4 potatoes this way.
This post is sponsored by Cans Get You Cooking. All opinions and text are my own.
© 2013, Tara Ziegmont. All rights reserved.