Cook It Up Healthy! Time Saving Techniques

Posted: Mar 25, 2013

TIME, TIME, TIME, TIME, – we all want more of it but we can't make more hours in a day. We can, however, find ways to use time wisely to make healthy and tasty food that you and your family will enjoy.  Read our tips below – you're sure to find solutions that work for you.



Different from leftovers, ‘planned extras’ are made on purpose! Get the most out of your time by cooking more food than you need for one meal. Plan to use the extra food for another meal within the next couple of days. Below are some great 'planned extra' ideas.

Great planned extras Suggestions for the second meal
Cook an extra chicken breast or pork tenderloin. Cut into strips and use in quesadillas or soft tacos; add to whole wheat pasta with leftover vegetables.
Roast a whole chicken. Use in recipes, such as casseroles, that call for cooked chicken or make chicken salad for lunch.
Cook beef brisket in a slow cooker. Slice and use for beef sandwiches or add small cubes to a vegetable soup.
Grill extra
salmon fillets.
Make fish cakes, salmon salad or place on top of a salad.
Cook a double batch of brown rice. Make stir-fried rice; add to soup or casseroles; make rice pudding.
Roast an extra batch of vegetables. Use in frittata, vegetable soup or wrap in a tortilla with hummus spread.



Try the new selections of washed and ready-to-eat produce items such as broccoli slaw, baby spinach or romaine lettuce; the salad will be ready in a flash!

  • Canned legumes, such as chickpeas or black beans, drained and rinsed, make a super simple salad.
  • Pre-shredded cheese can make quick work of pasta dishes, pizza toppings or for sprinkling on salads and using in wraps.
  • Canned fruit in its own juice can jump start a fruit salad.
  • Frozen, partially baked whole grain bread can be popped into the oven.
  • Frozen vegetables are nutritious and ready to help round out your meal; steam them lightly to keep great crunch and flavour.
  • Frozen fruits are great in a smoothie, on cereal or in a fruit crisp.



A slow cooker is a great kitchen appliance that can help you have a hot dinner on the table without much fuss. Simply follow your slow cooker recipe and go about your busy day. The food cooks slowly and safely.



Weekends can be a great time to prepare big batches of food that can be refrigerated or frozen for later use. Get together with family, friends or neighbours and share the work. Foods such as soups, stews, chili, casseroles,
muffins, loaves and pancakes are perfect foods to 'big-batch'.



Many standard recipes can be doubled or tripled and frozen in meal sized airtight containers or resealable freezer bags. Quickly defrost a meal on nights when time is tight.


  • Salmon Cakes
  • Steamed Brown Rice (planned extra)
  • Mixed Vegetables (frozen)
  • Salad Greens (ready-to-eat) with
  • Blueberry Vinaigrette



Use ’planned extra’ salmon and mashed potatoes to make these tasty cakes.
Preparation time: 10 minutes/ Chilling time: 30 minutes/ Cooking time: 4 minutes
Makes 4 servings


  • 175 g (6 oz) leftover cooked salmon fillet, skin removed (or 1 can (213 g/7 ½ oz) salmon, drained, skin and large bones removed)
  • 250 mL (1 cup) leftover puréed or mashed potatoes
  • 50 mL (1/4 cup) finely chopped green onion
  • 50 mL (1/4 cup) finely diced red bell pepper
  • 45 mL (3 tbsp) chopped fresh dill
  • 45 mL (3 tbsp) milk
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Vegetable cooking spray


  1. In a medium bowl, combine salmon, potatoes, green onion, red pepper, dill and milk. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Gently stir in egg. Form mixture into four 1.5 cm (3/4-inch) thick cakes. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or overnight to let flavour develop.
  2. Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Spray with vegetable cooking spray. Add fish cakes and cook for about 2 minutes per side, or until browned on both sides and hot in the center.


  • These cakes can be made the night before, so they are ready to cook when you get home.


  • Vary the flavour by using 175 g (6 oz) cooked haddock, crab or diced shrimp instead of salmon. Change the herbs and veggies depending on the fish or seafood you choose.


Preparation time: 15 minutes
Makes 10 servings
  • 125 mL (1/2 cup) fresh or thawed frozen blueberries
  • 75 mL (1/3 cup) liquid honey
  • 50 mL (1/4 cup) balsamic vinegar
  • 25 m: (2 tbsp) vegetable oil
  • 25 mL (2 tbsp) water

1. In a small bowl, mash blueberries with a fork. Whisk in honey, vinegar, oil and water.
 If you prefer, you can prepare the vinaigrette in a blender. Simply add all the ingredients and purée until smooth. Keeps in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.