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What Do Americans Eat? Kale, Gluten-Free, and Organics Top 2014 Food Trends

food statistics

Food trends come and food trends go. One year we’re all raving about Sriracha, the next we’re falling for the cronut. For the last 30 years, Parade has surveyed those trends and other American eating habits.

This year, foods like snack bars and frozen sandwiches have risen in popularity. As more people eat on the go, convenience foods are going to see a natural rise. According to Parade‘s survey:

  • 27 percent of main dishes made at home are frozen or ready-to-eat meals.
  • 80 percent of our meals are prepared at home, and over half of them are made from scratch or fresh ingredients.


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A Vegetarian Dinner Never Tasted So Good: Chickpea Fritters with Arugula Salad

chickpea-fritters-and-arugula

Garbanzo beans never tasted so good! I love hummus, or just the raw beans in salads, as much as the next person, but my favorite legume is back at it in these fritters. What I love about this meal is that it can take on many different personalities.

If you’re just testing out Meatless Monday, this is a great intro. If you’re looking for an at-home version of falafel or Mediterranean food, top the fritters with tahini, tomatoes, and cucumbers. Greek yogurt works as a great alternative to a cream sauce, except it’s lower in sugar and higher in protein!
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Fall for Kale and White Bean Stuffed Sweet Potatoes for Dinner

kale-bean-sweet-potato

As fall approaches, I can’t get enough of nutrient dense root vegetables. Most notably: the sweet potato. While some prefer variety in their diet, I could eat some form of sweet potato every day: mashed for breakfast, fried for lunch, and stuffed for dinner.

sweet-potatoes

Stuffed sweet potato, you ask? Yes. My multiple experiments in the kitchen to include as much sweet potato as possible has led to one of my staple year-round dinners –the kale & white bean stuffed sweet potato. Who needs to wait for fall to have a hearty, yet surprisingly light, dinner? Not me!

Sweet potatoes are an all-star source of beta-carotene, vitamin A, and the purple sweet potatoes are even thought to have anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Just as the recipe name implies, you simply bake the sweet potatoes, choose your green and your white bean, prepare as directed, then stuff the greens & beans into the sweet potato for a healthy and satisfying edible boat! It’s truly delicious.
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Sticky Red Wine Chicken and Veggies Stir Fry is Way Better than Carryout!

The conversation with my husband that I dread more than any other is, “what would you like to have for dinner this week?” And then he shrugs.

How can someone have so little opinion about what they eat? For an uber-picky eater like myself, I want absolute involvement.

red wine stir fry

So when, one day, he said, “Can you make this?” and shared a recipe for chicken and asparagus stir fry, he had my attention. I agreed to make it and put it on the weekly meal plan – I wanted to reward him, if you will, for being involved in the decision! But also, the simple ingredients showed promise of being a really easy dinner that tasted great.

Winner winner Asian-inspired chicken dinner… this has become a go-to staple in our house!
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Simple Apple and Herb Dutch Oven Roasted Chicken Makes Healthy Dinner for Days

My personal food philosophy is that it has to be healthful, flavorful, and no more complicated than is necessary. I genuinely enjoy cooking for my family; it’s not a task to me. That doesn’t mean I’m not busy and I don’t have to find ways to save myself time, but I’ve made the type and quality of food we eat a priority, so that means I cut corners in other ways.

The Dutch Oven roasted chicken is my “microwave dinner,” if you will. I can give up less than two hours (often on a weekend) to roasting this bird and have more than just one meal. So when I pay a hefty price for the free-range, feel-good chicken I’m getting my money’s worth for sure.

roasted chicken

It’s not just any dried out, salt and pepper roasted chicken though. This thing is singing with flavor with plenty of juices to make you forget that whole white meat vs. dark meat debate.

And forget asking for seconds. No one can have them because I’m making a second dinner with this chicken.

The trick is to all that flavor and juice is to stuff this chicken full of flavor agents, things that offer plenty of good flavor without jamming it up with salts and fats. Fresh herbs, oranges, apples, garlic, onions, and whole peppercorns are my go-to flavor agents. These give the chicken a subtle flavor that makes it delicious enough to eat on its own, or save to use in other meals throughout the week.
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