What’s for supper? This simple question used to piss me off. I didn’t want to think about dinner, I just wanted to eat. Something easy. Yummy. Calorie, fat, and carb laden was always a fav. Pizza. Take out Chinese. Brownies and ice cream got pretty heavy rotation in our weekly meals. Going out was always nice. I used to treat butter like it was a food group. Pasta, too.
So, what’s for dinner these days? First of all, every single thing on the list above. Really. Just not all the time. And not in massive quantities like before.
Mostly these days I cook. Not because I love it; I don’t. But I love to eat, and want to eat not only for my health but to please my taste buds, so I cook. If you struggle with this I cannot overstate how helpful Heather Robertson’s meal planning book is. She doesn’t tell you what to eat: she tells you how to get what you want to eat on the table. This is not always easy for me but I have gotten way more organized over the last few months. You can get it here: HalfSizeMe.com
Almost anything tastes better with lime, garlic, cilantro and Sriracha sauce. Just a simple chicken breast over brown rice and avocado is heaven with those goodies tossed in.
I take short cuts. I cook a lot of chicken all at once and then divide it up into four-ounce servings, baggie it up, and throw some in the freezer and some in the fridge. Minute Rice makes little microwavable cups of plain brown rice that are ready in, you guessed it, a minute. Fresh and Easy’s fancier brown rice takes a whole 30 seconds more to cook.
All of this yumminess sometimes gets rolled into an Ole Extreme Wellness Tortilla Wrap. Last week I realized I had a ton of left over styrofoam bowls from a party so I filled them each with veggies, cheese, chicken, beans, etc. threw out some wraps, and everyone made their own. That was big hit, especially since Mac made his luscious homemade guacamole.
Marinated flank steak seems to go over pretty well around here, too. I added a fantastic corn recipe I found in Food and Wine Magazine. I am getting better about finding recipes that I can make work for us with just a few adjustments. The corn dish had a jalapeno honey dressing that we adored so I have already decided that I will make it again, but next time bulk it up with cherry tomatoes and green beans. Here is the recipe:
We all love veggies around my house. My fabulous kid will say: “Mom, when are you going to make kale again?” Or, “Yummy! Beets tonight!” Or best of all: “I am craving Brussel sprouts.”
We are obsessed with Brussel spouts. Here again Fresh and Easy comes to the rescue with their prepackaged veggies. Also Trader Joe’s has wonderful veggies you can steam in a bag, and I saw quite a few fresh, steam in the bag veggies in the Target grocery section the other day.
So, Brussel sprouts: steam them in the bag in the microwave for 3 minutes. Carefully take them out of the package (hot!) and throw them on a baking sheet…wait, I have to tell you about my baking sheets.
They are Wilton jelly roll pans, given to me by friends years ago. We have cooked everything on them, and although I know my mother would disaprove we very deliberately didn’t scrub the hell out of them after every use; they are seasoned as nicely as grandma’s iron skillet. They look terrible and we use them almost every day. Now, apparently sheet pan cooking is A THING. If you are looking for recipes here is a nice place to start:
But so anyway I throw the already steamed Brussels onto one of my magic sheet pans, toss in a little olive oil and kosher salt and slide it into a 425 degree oven. After a few minutes I give them a little shake to move them around a bit and cook a few minutes more, until they look like this.
I cook cauliflower the exact same way.
My sister regularly makes this Lavash pizza, and I love the way she does it. You get the pizza experience and a nice size portion with a lot less calories. Here is what she does:
Start with a Lavash and add pesto (just a bit or find/make a reduced fat version), goat cheese, and red peppers. Or Bruschetta sauce (Trader Joe’s is to die for) with a bit of mozzarella and Parmesan is so easy and yummy, too.
Slide the prepared Lavash under the broiler for a moment and they’ll be ready. One half of a Lavash is a nice serving, especially if you pair it with a big salad.
Maybe you have heard of the zoodles craze: zucchini made into thin, noodle-like strips that function as pasta. I’ve tried several gadgets but my favorite is:
I swirl the zoodles around in a skillet with a very small amount of oil (you could use water or broth as well) some garlic and Italian herbs for just a few minutes. Don’t over cook – you’re mostly just softening/warming them.
I use them as a stand-in for noodles, or mix them with pasta (thus cutting my serving size of pasta in half) and top with: well, you could use the Trader Joe’s bruschetta sauce you just bought, or the the pesto you just made, or jarred marinara sauce, or one of my favorites: shrimp sauteed with garlic and lemon…lots and lots of fresh lemon juice.
For dessert, I try to limit recreational carbs/deserts to just a few times a week, and I have found a couple of go-tos that satisfy me and aren’t over the top calorie/points/carb wise. Here they are.
Finally, the best dinners of all are the ones my family prepares for me. My daughter made a light version of a Nicoise salad with salmon instead of tuna for dinner this week. What a wonderful treat! I am a lucky woman.
OK, so maybe I do love to cook. At times. But whether I am in the mood or not I still have a solid plan more often than not to get a healthy meal on the table. So, what’s for supper? Tonight it’s grass fed steaks on the grill with mushrooms and that corn salad I told you about. Tomorrow it is grilled marinated pork and home made sweet potato fries. Tuesday we are going out so I will look at the restaurant menu online before we go and choose something reasonable. Wednesday it is Thai-spiced chicken legs along with veggie lettuce wraps. That’s as far as I have gotten, but I will be working on ideas for the next few dinners after that. I do have a plan, after all.