Celebrate Simple Meals

by Mimi & Vera LevinTastemakers in Residence

The holiday season has swiftly arrived, making many of us even busier than we have been. Accommodations for either travel or guests must be established, gifts need to be purchased and meals need to be made. The coming-together of both friends and family to celebrate this bustling time of year leads to the creation of many a beautiful meal, but often leaves us too tired to celebrate the simple meals that give us our daily nourishment. Why make that sacrifice when you can create both delightful feasts as well as healthy, simple and enjoyable daily breakfasts, lunches and dinners. Lately, with a lack of time yet desire to stay healthy and well-fed, we have been making many recipes that are delicious but lack the need for a lot of attention. Here are some of the things that we have been making:

Overnight oats

½ cup quick oats
½ cup almond milk
1 Tbsp chia seeds
2 Tbsp almond butter


  1. Combine all ingredients and refrigerate overnight.
  2. Top it off with a sliced banana. Quick, easy, delicious.

Cook's Note -*you can also stick protein powder in here for an extra boost!

Banana Flip

1 banana
1 serving of protein powder
1 cup almond milk
1 tsp vanilla extract


  1. Blend until smooth. This recipe is great if you are swinging by your house or in a rush for work because it will help balance your blood sugar until you can get a full meal!

Cook's Note - *add ice if you want a thicker or colder smoothie

Delicata squash

1 squash, sliced in half the long way, seeds removed
1 Tbsp coconut oil, divided into the halves
Even sprinkle of cinnamon across each halves
Even sprinkle of allspice across both halves
Pink of salt on each half (more to taste)


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Place squash face up on cookie sheet. Bake for 35-40 minutes.

Cook's Note - This is a great, low-maintenance side to many lunches and dinners. We like to eat this as a snack too!

Black bean soup with chorizo and lime

2 tsp olive oil, divided
3 oz Spanish chorizo, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
2 tsp chopped fresh oregano
2 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp chipotle chile powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups unsalted chicken stock (such as Swanson)
2 (15-ounce) cans unsalted black beans, rinsed, drained, and coarsely mashed
1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro


  1. Heat a large saucepan over medium heat. Add 1 teaspoon oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add chorizo; cook 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove chorizo from pan (do not wipe pan). Add remaining 1 teaspoon oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add onion and bell pepper; cook 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in oregano and next 4 ingredients (through salt); cook 30 seconds. Stir in stock and beans. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer 3 minutes. Stir in cooked chorizo and juice.
  2. Ladle 1 1/4 cups soup into each of 4 bowls; top each serving with 1 tablespoon sour cream and 1 tablespoon cilantro. 

Cook's Note

  1. *Recipe was created by Laraine Perri for Cooking Light
  2. This soup is a well-balanced and easy soup to make, with the entire preparation taking roughly twenty minutes. Who doesn’t have time to make a quick and delicious soup? Plus, if you make a larger batch it is easy to eat throughout the week. You can even freeze your soup if you decide you want it at a later time. 

With simple recipes, it is easy to create a delicious and healthy meal for yourself during the busy holiday season. Why solely treat yourself to good food at a holiday party or meal? This holiday season, why not create something delicious every day? We have made that our goal, and believe you can too!