WHAT ARE WE HAVING FOR DINNER?
This is one of the most dreaded questions I get. The only way it's worse, is if I am the one that has to make it! (Of course, most of the time, I am) If you're getting this question a lot, I feel your pain. Coming up with new meal ideas that are healthy and nutritious day after day, is really hard. I get it!
Most of us are in a food rut. We want to eat healthily, we want to have delicious yummy meals, but we don't want to spend a ton of time in the kitchen. If cooking is a chore the less likely you're going to go into the kitchen. So, what happens? Pizza! Chinese food! Fast Food! And really, that might be fine every now and then, but when that becomes a daily habit, you're going to have some health issues.
Here are some delicious staple meals that I make and hopefully you will be able to add some of these suggestions into your repertoire. Hopefully, these ideas will make things easier on you.
You can watch a video of this here.STOCK MEAL #!
Soups are so easy, They're not as difficult as you think. The best part about them is leftovers. If you make soup in a huge pot, you can freeze most of to enjoy later. Soup last in the freezer for months. So, you can have the soup the following week or in two months.
I start just about every soup the typical way with cut up onions, carrots and celery. I cover it with water and I start simmering. Once that is cooking, just about any vegetable added to that will be delicious.
You can usually use leftover vegetables that you cooked in the days before or vegetables that are in the refrigerator. Most don't realize that you don't need to buy soup stock to make good soup, so please save your money. When you start cooking vegetables they create their own stock. Another tip is that I make my soup without any oil at all. I don't want to waste calories with added fat.
Soups can be so satisfying and really tasty, and you can make them heartier by adding in chopped mushrooms or potatoes. You can also save on time by using organic frozen vegetables. Beans are also a great add in, and canned beans make the cooking a bit faster. When using canned beans, make sure they are organic and rinsed well.
I have a special flavor combination that I just love in soups. It is made with 4 super simple ingredients and they will make your soup "sing."
-Organic Tomatoes (can use canned)
-Organic Coconut Cream (canned or liquid)
-Juice of 1-2 lemons
When you are cooking your soup, add in the tomatoes and spice. Once your soup is made, turn off the flame and add in the cream and lemon juice. This makes for a tart, savory and delicious stock.
STOCK MEAL #2
Veggie Burgers and Sausages.
This is one of my quickest go-to meals. Some companies make a better product than others, so if you have given up on veggie burgers, try another brand. I prefer a company called "Beyond Beef."
I use these burgers as more of fancy food as they are high in fat. I don't make these everyday. "Beyond Beef" has a great line of products. There is also a faux ground meat that I will sometimes brown with onions and peppers and add it into a soup or chili.
The sausages are also great and are a delicious option to use. I'll cut them up into smaller pieces and add into whatever I'm cooking. The burgers can be topped with sauteed mushrooms and onions. Serve them topped with some pickles, tomatoes and lettuce. And, on the side, serve potatoes or salad. This is a delicious meal, really tasty, and really filling.
STOCK MEAL #3
This is so much one of my favorite meals that I have one just about every day. This is a great breakfast option. Smoothies are super fast and super easy to make but they do require a little bit of prep. I mostly use organic ingredients in my smoothies because most of these ingredients have a lot of pesticides.
Here are my main ingredients that I use for smoothies.
Greens - Always organic. Spinach, Kale, Celery, collard greens
Berries - Always organic, and I buy these frozen. Strawberries, blueberries or raspberries.
Bananas - I buy large bunches of bananas at a time and put them on the shelf. Once the bananas ripen, I peel them and put them in large, gallon sized plastic zip-lock bags. I freeze the bananas like that, in the bag. I do many at a time so that I don't have to keep dealing with it.
Yerba - A shot of yerba mate (optional)
Dates - optional
Once you have the ingredients, it is time to "assemble" the smoothie in the blender. If you have a regular blender, you will need to do this simple trick to be able to use real greens. Put the greens you want to use in a blender and blend with water first, before you add in the fruit. This will assure that the greens are blended really well and don't make the smoothie have a slimy consistency. If you have a Vitamix, you can blend all at once.
Fill at least half the blender carafe with greens, then add in the berries and water. Blend until creamy. If you like it thick, put in less water, and if you like it thinner, just add more water. You can decide as you go.
Remember, that to be satiated, you will need more then you think. For example, the usual "half banana" and "cup of berries" is not going to cut it if you are really wanting a meal replacement.
If you want it sweeter, you can add in some dates or stevia. If you want more protein, use Sunwarrior as they are dairy free and do not have anything artificial.
STOCK MEAL #4
Stone Soup Lasagne
This is a super easy meal that takes an hour to cook. So, I either make this ahead of time and then reheat or make when I get home and do other things while it is cooking. If only for at least this meal alone, I have jars of tomato sauce always onhand.
I use fresh vegetables, frozen or even leftover vegetables I have already cooked. It is simple and easy. I layer vegetables in a baking pan and sprinkle tomato sauce between each layer. Most vegetables will work with this dish, but I like adding in some specific ones when I can. Zuchini, eggplant, mushrooms and onions are amazing in this.
I use a smathering of tomato sauce first so I don't have to use oil or a non stick spray. Then I slice a vegetable thin, add a layer or two, sprinkle with tomato sauce and repeat with another veggie. See how easy? If you want to get super special and sparkly, you can add in some fresh basil or fresh garlic. You can get creative here, but it is really hard to mess this one up.
Bake at 400 degrees for at least an hour. I also will sometimes put vegan cheese on the top and bake an extra 10 minutes until it browns. You can serve this on rice or roasted potatoes to make this even heartier.
Don't make this mistake!
Lots of folks trying to "healthier" use substitutes. But, did you know that not only are these substitutes sometimes WORSE then the originals and also tasteless?
For years, I looked for a good, healthy and gluten free pasta. I went through a ton of MUSH before I finally gave up. Then, glory be, I discovered Rice pasta. I want to be politically correct here and not offend, but I am talking about pasta from the "Asian" aisle of the market.
I have found that these pastas are AMAZING if you do a few things....
1. (Like water for yerba) do not boil these delicate noodles. Boil water alone, turn flame OFF, put pasta in, and just cover. Most of the thick ones are done after 5 minutes but just check and play with timing. The thinner ones take a couple of minutes. We tend to over boil these things.
2. These aren't fabulous if you are wanting "Italian-y" flavorings. I don't think these work well with say, tomato sauce. Of course, you be the judge. But, a sprinkle of toasted sesame oil, salt, and veggies will make it sing.
3. To not have a full-pasta all refined rice kind of meal, make this pasta the base of a soup or pour a kind of veggie curry over it.
If you like these ideas, click on the video to see the bonus 5th meal. All these ideas are vegan, oil free and delicious. Hope you like these, and if you make something, send me a picture!! Be well everyone!