Culinary Inspiration

Life may feel a little uncertain at the moment, but there are some things we can do to create more stability and better enjoy time at home with our families. Meal prepping and cooking together is a wonderful way to pass the time. At California Walnuts, we want to help make things as simple as possible, so we’ve collected some helpful tips for meal prepping, cooking, and storing your food. Plus, we included a few tasty meal ideas that will get you away from your typical menu, and help you think outside the pantry.

Tips and Tricks

Let’s start with some simple hacks to make cooking easier. Have you ever tried prepping vegetables with a pizza cutter, slicing a cake with dental floss, or even cutting up strawberries with an egg slicer? To quickly crush walnuts to top your favorite meal, chop them with a meat tenderizer; or to keep herbs fresh longer by freezing small portions in an ice cube tray, and use only what you need for each meal.

Another helpful hack to make cooking easier while we’re all eating at home for more meals is to try your hand at meal prepping. Not only is this an efficient way to use your groceries, but meal prepping can also help the family create healthy habits by eliminating opportunities for impulsive meal decisions.

Comfort Food with a Nutritious Twist

Walnuts are a nutritious food that pack flavor into recipes and create a hearty base for some of your favorite comfort foods. They are a great addition to classic breakfast foods like oatmeal, cereal, and pancakes. For instance, try out these Dark Chocolate Overnight Oats which are packed full of nutrients to fuel your day while satisfying your sweet tooth.

For a comfort food classic with a twist, a Walnut Chili Mac will do the trick! This tasty dish is popular with children and adults, and it’s easy prep can be turned into a fun indoor family activity. Or for another take on pasta night, try this Pasta with Lemon Walnut Alfredo Sauce. This plant-based meal makes for a delicious dinner that will have everyone wanting seconds.

Feeling like you need a midday snack or an after dinner treat? Walnuts have you covered there, too. Carolina BBQ walnuts are a flavorful snack for when those savory cravings hit. But when it comes to satisfying your sweet tooth, try out some easy-to-make Chocolate Walnut Brownies. Baking is a fun activity and this recipe is a hands-on way to start introducing older children to the kitchen.

Storing your Food

Once you’ve got your favorite meals planned, properly storing your food will be the next step. An easy, but often overlooked trick, is remembering that a lot of foods can be frozen. Freeze meats if you don’t plan to use them right away, or precook soups and chilis then store them in a freezer bag. You can also freeze casseroles, like our Blueberry French Toast Casserole or Walnut Mushroom Enchilada Casserole. Simply defrost them when you’re ready to eat, and enjoy!

Many people don’t know that the best way to store walnuts actually depends on how you plan to use them. If you buy shelled, unopened walnuts, they can be stored in their original packaging. However, once the walnuts are opened, store them in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer. Keep in mind, when storing walnuts in the fridge, make sure you place them far from strong-smelling foods, since walnuts will absorb the flavors of these foods. A great way to maintain the flavor of walnuts is to not chop or shell them until you’re ready to cook with them.

We hope we’ve been able to pass along some helpful tips, offer some inspiration for new comforting meals, and give you guidance on how-to store these ingredients while we’re spending more time at home.

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