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Posts tagged ‘quick cooking’

Quick Dinners

All right, you just walked in the door at 5pm, lugging the kids and groceries. You and the kids are STARVED, what do you  do?

A -Order pizza.
B- Hand out Twinkies, put the perishables away and sink into the couch.
C- Make a healthy dinner while putting the groceries away.

If you know me, you know “C” is the correct answer. If that looks too daunting, let me help. First, hand the kids a healthy snack. They are going to be miserable if they are too hungry, and that won’t help you. Fruit, baby carrots, cherry tomatoes, cheese sticks and yogurt are all acceptable and quick. If they don’t eat as much dinner, who cares? What you already fed them is nutritious.
Dinner- How fast can you boil water? Cook up some whole wheat pasta, add a can each of salmon, corn and fat free cream of “*” soup. You can use any cream soup, I use mushroom, but if you don’t like that, use chicken or broccoli. I also use canned mushrooms in this. I like onions in mine, I chopped them and added them to the pasta water just before the pasta is done. Mix everything in either a glass bowl and microwave to heat, or back into the drained pasta pot, just enough to heat through. Top with Parmesan cheese if you want.

Rotisserie chicken from the store,microwave baked potato and microwaved veggies. Done in 10 minutes.

You can haul steak or chops out of the freezer, defrost in microwave just long enough to get the wrapper off, put on broiler pan, still frozen, top with favorite seasoning and broil it. You can cook frozen meat, as long as you can get the wrapper off. All kinds of veggies come frozen, including green pepper and onion. Saute them in the pan while the meat is cooking. Throw a sweet potato in the microwave, take some salad out of a bag. Bam. Done.

Any meal can be rounded out with raw, roasted, sauteed, or microwaved veggies. Meat can be cooked frozen, microwaved, or skipped. Beans are a perfectly good protein source, so are-gasp-soybeans. I wouldn’t eat textured soy protein very much, there is some controversy about the phytoestrogens, but fermented soy (read:tofu) doesn’t seem to have the same risks. Starches aren’t even necessary, but we all like them, and they are easy to get. I’ll give more ideas of how to make the healthiest versions of starches easier in a future post.

Yes, bagged salad is more expensive, but not by much, and it depends on what you get. Spinach in a bag is $1.29 at Aldi’s, I bought a bag last Monday, now it’s Friday, I’ve gotten 4 servings of protein shakes and 6 salads from it. I call that  I do things like use my carrot peeler and peel raw turnip and carrot into my salads. If you try and tell me it’s too expensive, I better not see a $2 bag of chips on your counter. Rotisserie chicken, already cooked for you at Walmart or Tops is the same price as raw. Go figure.

Bon Appetit.

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I’m Not a Food Blogger

So, I’m never going to be a food blogger, but I have been thinking a lot about how to get people to understand that eating well doesn’t have to be expensive or terribly time consuming. I think it is clear that cooking your own food is the best way to avoid the bad things in our diets. However, it requires more time and thought to do so, and we all get busy, tired or lazy at times.  I’ve come up with ways to make it easier.  I will just give you this entry as a series of ideas, and if more come to me, I’ll make it a regular feature.

First, make friends with your microwave:

  1.  Not only is it fast, it lets vegetable keep much of their nutritional value. I take a regular cereal bowl, dump some fresh or frozen veggies in, put a plate on top and pop it in. 2-3 minutes for fresh, 4-5 for frozen. If your husband talked you into pizza, cut a slice in half, microwave some broccoli, onion and green pepper, drop it on the pizza. Half the calories, twice the nutrition and yummy.
  2. Bake a sweet potato in the microwave. More fiber and vitamins than a white potato, one can usually feed 2-3 people, takes only 5 minutes and retains more moisture.
  3. Eggs take only 25-30 seconds in the microwave. You have to watch them. Coat a bowl with spray oil, crack an egg in and cook on high.
  4. You can cook corn meal, which is what Polenta is, easily in the microwave. I cook a cup of water on high for a minute, add 1/4 c. of corn meal, a dash of salt, microwave on high one minute, stir, cook and stir like that until it is the consistency you like.  Put the aforementioned egg on top, salsa and/ or cheese and you have a 5 minute lunch.
  5. You want a really sweet treat, that’s healthier? Peel a banana, cut in half length wise. Put in a bowl or plate, cut side up. Arrange chocolate chips and mini marshmallows down each side. Microwave just till the chips melt and the ‘mallows puff up. It makes the banana sooo much sweeter, it’s almost too much.
  6. Make your own yogurt. I got a yogurt maker for Christmas, and it says to bring the milk to a boil for thicker yogurt. It is so much easier to do so in the microwave. No scorching, and as long as you keep an eye on it, no boiling over. About 10 minutes for a quart of milk.

These are just my microwave thoughts. Next I’ll do an article on some super quick dinner ideas. After that, some ways to make the healthiest choices easier.

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