Can healthy home cooking fit into a hectic schedule? "It has to," says Daphne Oz, cohost of The Chew and mom of a baby and toddler (Dr. Oz's grandkids!). She's all about the big batch, gaming out leftovers, and dressing up store-bought basics. No wonder her new book is called The Happy Cook! Here's a taste of what you'll get within the pages.
A lot of us aspire to be domestic goddesses. These days, I'm going for domestic god-ish — I don't care so much about perfection as I do about making my life feel full and beautiful in fun and easy ways. If I don't have time to put together an entire healthy meal, I'll make a flavorful salad, like my Shaved Brussels Sprouts, and serve it with food that's already prepped, like a store-bought rotisserie chicken.
Cooking up nutrient-packed sides in bulk helps too. I make a batch of quinoa or millet and turn to it all week — warming it with milk and honey for breakfast, tossing some into lunch salads, sautéing it with vegetables for dinner. I also depend on fresh-made flavor boosters. A simple chimichurri elevates any meat or pasta. Throw in parsley, dill, or mint and bagged lettuce takes a luxe turn, and the vitamin quotient gets nudged up as well.
Healthy, hearty (and happy!) cooking doesn't have to require more time, just some creativity. The dishes here have ingredients everyone loves, plus a few subtle swaps to kick up the health perks. It was my mom who taught me to play with food this way — she's the epitome of a happy cook. We never ate "health food" — just delicious food that happened to be good for us. Now that I'm a mom, I'm excited for my kids to love what they eat, too.