You may know actress Ali Larter from her roles in Varsity Blues, Legally Blonde, or Heroes, but this mom of two has been spending a lot of time in her kitchen lately. We chatted about what’s been crossing her kitchen counters (and how she keeps them sparkling clean). Follow her on Instagram, Twitter, or try some of the delicious recipes she posts on her site, AliLarter.com.
Cooking Light: What does healthy eating mean to you in 2016 ?
Ali Larter: Healthy eating has definitely evolved for me. I used to be able to eat a medium pan pizza by myself on a Wednesday night. I can still eat as much pizza, but healthy eating to me today is more about how I feel. I’m not someone who does juice cleanses, but I do love to have a green juice at least three or four days a week. It helps make my skin glow and can get me through to lunch if I’m really hungry in the morning after breakfast.
When it comes to healthy eating for my family, we aim to do a family dinner three or four nights a week, and I like to make the meals. One thing I’ve embraced in 2016 is cooking with whole grains, like buckwheat. I also like to use turkey instead of beef and coconut oil instead of butter in my cooking.
CL: How does the state/cleanliness of your kitchen factor into the health of your family? Any unique tips for keeping a healthier kitchen?
AL: I have two young kids, so my kitchen is always a mess! When you cook and have young kids, it’s just a mess–especially when you allow them to cook with you. Last night I made oatmeal cookies with my son, and it’s just a disaster! But it’s amazing. It’s fun and it’s incredible, but definitely a disaster.
So one of the things I do when I’m cooking, especially with raw eggs, is I use Lysol Disinfecting Wipes afterwards on my kitchen tops because I know then that I’m killing 99.9 percent of all the germs and bacteria. As a mom, that’s something that’s really important to me.
Also, a general tip for new moms: I’m getting out a lot of my older son’s toys from when he was a baby for my younger daughter to play with now. These toys have been in closets where they’ve been sitting around and covered in dust and different stuck-ons, like old pieces of crackers. I like to clean the toys with Lysol Disinfecting Wipes and then rinse off with water so it’s clean and ready for my daughter to enjoy.
CL: Any favorite lighter meals that you’ve been prepping for your family lately?
AL: My chicken and vegetable soup is a really good one because that’s a way for me to get my kids to eat vegetables. When I cook for my family, I try to stretch them out over two nights, so on the second night, I’ll add in a can of diced tomatoes to the soup and then put Parmesan cheese on top, or maybe a little pesto to bring a different flavor to the soup.
I also do a lot of turkey meatloaf and turkey meatballs–it’s something my whole family loves. I cook a lot of quinoa with frozen peas and chicken broth because my kids love that. Lately, I’ve been baking with different kinds of yogurt, too. I use full-fat yogurt in our house because it has much more flavor than zero-fat yogurt. You don’t need to add sweetener to a full-fat yogurt and I believe that fat is way better for you than sugar.
Spring is one my favorite seasons to cook! It’s a really fun time to go to the farmer’s market and pick up fresh produce that are in season like sugar snap peas, strawberries, and peaches that are bursting with flavor. I have a leek-and-asparagus crustless quiche that is a fun spring recipe. I love the decadence of a quiche, but it can get to be a little too rich sometimes when you have a crust with it too.
CL: What other fun projects are you working on these days?
AL: I just finished a pilot for Fox called Pitch. It’s about the first female Major League baseball player and it was a really exciting, fun job for me. My husband [actor Hayes MacArthur] has been working a lot, and I’m moving my family so I had planned on taking some time off this year, but as an actress, you never know when great opportunities are going to come about. This script that Dan Fogelman wrote was just incredibly inspiring, and, now that I have a daughter, it just makes me excited to be able to be in shows that really have a positive message.
CL: One more question we like to ask: What’s something that you always have in your fridge?
AL: I like to keep pesto in my fridge. My son loves that it’s something he can help make and it’s a versatile ingredient with a prominent flavor. I can use with different vegetables, put it in my soup, or just mix it with a whole-grain pasta to make a quick dinner for my kids.