Pictured above is one of my meals from last week… I had wanted to make some sort of mushroom chicken so I googled ‘healthy mushroom chicken recipe.’ I ended up choosing this one: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/tyler-florence/pan-roasted-chicken-with-mushrooms-and-rosemary-recipe/index.html. I had planned to make a salad that night and it just happened that my boyfriend had brought home a pomegranate from work, (very lucky that he works at a fresh food market!) so I decided to use strawberries and pomegranate seeds on the salad. Then I put some of the pomegranate seeds, a few strawberries, an apple, and a tiny bit of fresh apple juice (with my juicer, again lucky to have) in my blender to make the dressing.
I usually don’t photograph my meals but I was kind of excited about how this one looks (and how it tasted too). I definitely am getting more creative, and it’s getting easier to come up with ideas, make things up on my own, etc. And the best part is the ingredients! No yucky added sugar or high fructose corn syrup or MSG, etc. None of that, just real food : ).
Keeping it clean for two:
The last several weeks, I have been trying something new and I’m loving it so far. When the week is almost over I create a dinner menu for the following week and a grocery list. My boyfriend and I then buy everything we need for the whole week. It makes it easier for me to stick with my healthy dinners since they are all planned out already and since I have everything needed in the fridge. It’s also nice, financially, because we timed it out where we grocery shop for the week right after payday! Then, no last minute worries pop up of having no money for food. I start with a few nights of ideas using things I already have and go from there.
For example for this coming up week, here is my plan:
Sat: Breakfast for dinner (eggs, turkey bacon, hashbrowns, whole grain corn tortillas)
Sun: Mango Habanero Chicken/ Salad (going to google a recipe for the mango habanero marinade and salsa to go on top too)
Mon: Adult Grilled Cheese (whole wheat toast, avocado, tomato and cheese), homemade baked fries
Tue: Stuffed Bell Peppers (lean ground beef, tomatoes, onions, brown rice and cheese)
Wed: whole grain pancakes (with cinnamon) and turkey bacon
Thur: Spaghetti (whole grain noodles, lean ground beef)
Friday: Healthy-ish frozen dinner (I work late Friday nights so it’s a little break for me, this is usually like a pre made stir fry, etc… paying attention to the ingredients listed of course)
Some tips that have worked for me (for health purposes and to save money :)…
I buy chicken in the larger packages (at least 5-6 + breasts), then I use medium size freezer ziplock bags to bag 2 breasts at a time to freeze (I do two because I have found that’s the perfect amount to feed two, for us anyway, but bag however many would feed the family or yourself). This way it’s easy to just defrost them as needed and not waste any.
I have been making all my own marinades for chicken (because unless you want to spend a generous amount on a healthy natural marinade, you end up with high fructose corn syrup, etc everytime) …. generally you want to have either a vinegar (apple cider vinegar or white or red vinegar, etc) or a citrus (orange, lemon, lime) which has the acid needed to break into the meats, and then you can add oils, spices, herbs, zest (grate a ginger, or any of the citrus fruits), soy sauce, etc. I will either come up with an idea (like mango habanero) and look on google or pinterest for ideas…. or just come up with my own combination. Take care as to the amount of time to marinade the type of meat you are working with, steak can be hours, chicken should be about one hour, and seafood about 30 minutes.
I try to avoid red meat for the most part. We eat it every couple of weeks (yes it is on our menu two nights this upcoming week!! But that is so we don’t waste any meat :). But chicken all the time can get boring. I spice it up with my own marinades (as I was saying above), and by changing up the cooking methods. One night I will cut it into chunks, another night I will leave it as whole breasts. I will pan fry it with olive oil, or bake it sitting in the marinade in a glass pyrex dish covered with aluminium foil (usually around 50 minutes at 350), or recently I have been trying a combination (using an oven safe pan) where I pan fry it for 5-10 minutes with olive oil and then throw herbs or slices of lemon, etc into the pan and bake it at 350 for 15-20 minutes afterwards.
You might be wondering what I eat for breakfast and lunch, while it varies a bit, I generally stick with the same things all the time. Juice (with my $30 black and decker juicer), which is cucumber, strawberry, ginger and greens (either chard, spinach, kale, etc). Smoothies (generally banana, almond milk or greek yogurt and whatever else I have, peanut butter or pumpkin or other fruit). One egg and a slice of turkey bacon. A slice of toast with whole foods 100% peanut butter and slices of banana on top. Things like that.