Easy Family Meals

Chef LaLa at HEBI like to think of myself as a Latina Martha Stewart but the reality is I work a full time job outside the home and my “homemaking” has suffered. Before I had kids I was able to work, go work out, and still have time to come home and cook dinner albeit late but I could still cook and clean up. Of course now that we have two under five I’m lucky if I can get them to eat a “take-out” dinner and get them to bed before 10. Don’t miss understand me. I’m not complaining. I’m lamenting my lack of organizational skills. I know that if only I could get myself organized I could have dinner on the table 30 minutes after getting home and my evening routine would run smoother.

Chef LaLa MarinadesOh, who am I kidding? We never have the same schedule so even when I have attempted meal planning too much is wasted. Sometime we eat at home and sometimes we end up at my parents’. So really what I need is an easy way to put together a healthy and tasty meal quickly and without much planning. Cue the new Chef LaLa marinades I’ve discovered. HEB recently started carrying her four marinades- Carne Asada, Fajita, Orange Chipotle and Tequila Lime Cilantro but don’t be fooled by the names. You can use these marinades for more than the obvious. For instance you can make chicken lettuce wraps with the Carne Asada one. I was fortunate enough to attend a cooking demo with Chef LaLa herself. After watching her use the marinades to create simple and delicious healthy meals and getting to sample them I am a new FAN of her and the marinades.

For those of you who don’t know who Chef LaLa is I’ll share a little background. She’s a classically trained chef and certified nutritionist who is currently the spokesperson for the American Diabetes Association (ADA). Chef Lala comes from a family of restaurateurs. She has a catering company, SAVOR!, in LA, and is a TV personality. What I find most appealing about her recipes is that she helps us enjoy traditional cultural cuisine in a healthy way. Obviously, I want to cook food my family will eat but I want it to be healthier than takeout.

This is why I bought the four marinades before I left the cooking demonstration and have already used one to make dinner. You see using the marinades affords you the luxury of minimal prep AND delicious flavor. My success was with the Tequila Lime Cilantro marinade. It is very tart so you don’t need to use much but it imparts such a great flavor. She made this at the demo so I tried my hand at it at homoe. Here’s what I did:

I had a 1 lbs. bag of frozen shrimp that I thawed in a colander in the sink by running cool water over them for a few minutes. While my shrimp were thawing I grabbed a pan, put in one table spoon of butter and one table spoon of olive oil over low heat. I added a cilantro lime shrimp scampipinch of garlic (used the minced garlic in oil). I opened a chilled bottle of chardonnay (although any dry white you like would work) and poured myself a glass. I took my shrimp out of the colander and put them in a bowl with a paper towel to absorb the excess water. When the butter was melted I raised the heat to medium high and then added my shrimp. I salted them and stirred them in the pan. Once they were starting to turn opaque I added a splash of the Tequila Lime Cilantro marinade (1/4 cup maybe) and about double the amount of white wine. I stirred and allowed everything to heat up to a simmer then I poured everything into a deep serving bowl. I microwaved three single servings of mixed vegetables and some white rice then served the shrimp over the white rice with a side of veggies. We all ate a good healthy meal and it took me about 15 minutes to get it on the table. I didn’t take picture because I was caught up in feeding my family and forgot to think about my blog but I promise that it looked as beautiful as it tasted.

There are so many uses for these marinades that I have been trying to think of how I can incorporate them into the staples I have at home to make quick delicious meals. I have found Chef LaLa’s websites very useful. You can find recipes at www.cheflala.com and on her Facebook page. She has a sharp sense of humor and is lots of fun to be around so if you don’t want to be a stalker you can instead follow her on Twitter @ChefLaLa and/or Pinterest @ChefLaLaHome to get a sense of her personality and stay in the loop with new events and recipes. Best of all the marinades are made with natural ingredients and don’t have yucky additives. Chef Lala is also a cookbook author and now I’m on the hunt for her first book. Will let you know when I find it.

How do you get a meal on the table every night? Would love to hear your tips and suggestions.
Chef Lala Latin Lover Lite

Chef Lala Best Loved Mexican Cooking

Disclosure:  This post is my own opinion.  I attended a cooking demo but did not recieve any samples or other compensation for writing this post.  I BOUGHT the marinades for my own use because I liked them. 

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