Fitness Minutes: (39)
11 4/21/12 10:43 P
Well, I watched a lot (and I mean A LOT) of cooking shows. Especially the PBS ones. They give you tips about ways to improvise, and once you can learn the principles, you can just use whatever you like in your food. I have some very simple standbys that I always use when I don't know what to cook, and they all just utilize whatever i have in the house. I do suggest the shows, though, because cooking is a very visual process and that will help immensely. . . Also, I always thought that I hated onions and peppers as well, until I learned to cook them. I don't like onions and peppers unless I've cooked them, so once you've gotten adept at cooking, try them again, you may be pleasantly surprised. . .
if you want to learn to cook, head to the library and look for the starving students cookbooks. while they may not be the most nutritionally sound [they're not bad per say, they are just geared towards dorm cooking by people who can't tell a pot from a pan], they do tend to focus on few ingredient, low intensity recipes. start there and work up. once you get some of the basics that you can learn, head back and try to find other recipes that aren't so daunting. there are always going to some recipes that you need a phd to figure out, but once you have some basics down, you should be able to tackle some heavier stuff a little easier.
there are two ways to go on disliking peppers and onions [well, three if you go with the get over it mentioned earlier]. it kind of depends on what you don't like about them. for me, the texture is the worst part as i really don't mind so much the flavor involved. and the same goes for celery too. option one is to chop up the onion or pepper as small as you can get them and use it in the recipe. this works well when there are multiple ingredients and other larger textures [like rice or quinoa] involved. you get the taste, but the texture gets chopped up and cooked out. option 2 is to leave them out whenever called for. keep in mind that peppers and onions are big flavoring agents in recipes. so if you choose this option you need to be okay with the fact that the recipe isn't going to come out quite as flavored as intended. you can use spices [onion powder and there are tons of pepper options too]. granted if you're omitting something you don't like from a recipe, often you think it comes out better because of that. and if you really despise them so much, you can also try other things subbed in. garlic could be a flavorful replacement and celery could add some bulk if you don't mind that.
another easy thing to do is to just barely branch off of what you eat now. i'm going to just guess you have plain grilled chicken, warmed canned green beans and cottage cheese on the side, like three separate parts to the meal. now i'll admit that two of these foods i won't eat, so my suggestions might be a bit off kilter here. but if you started with the usual canned green beans and mixed in a little bit of frozen mixed vegetables [say 1/8 cup of the mix per half cup of green beans] that will add to what you're eating without doing anything drastic. and frozen vegetables cook in the microwave in about a minute. so easy peasy. if you don't mind that 1/8 cup new stuff, you can up it a little so that eventually you're mixing it 1/4 cup beans and 1/4 cup mixed veg. and if you don't mind that, that means, you can use peas, corn, carrots and lima beans, which by extension means you're good with most any dried bean. which means instead of grilling your chicken you could bake it and toss in another pan [can you roast vegetables with chicken? if you can, do that instead] of chopped up potato, carrot, parsnip and/or squash to bake at the same time. and season your vegetables the same way you season your chicken. if you already have something that works, just try it on a new item. you could also put your grilled chicken on a bed of lettuce with some cut up fresh vegetables. with green beans you could also add some mushrooms. chop up one or two [fancier stores tend to have bulk mushrooms for purchase which means you can pick up just one or two of them], sautee in a tiny bit of olive oil [half a teaspoon is more than enough for one person and two mushrooms] and then add the green beans to them. again, this is something that you want to be starting out as a very small addition and working your way up if you don't mind. if you start with a ratio of an 8oz package of mushrooms to a can of green beans it's going to be too strange of a taste. but if you start with a mushroom or two with a can and then move it up to three or four you can get used to the new stuff without being overwhelmed by it. you could mix fruit into the cottage cheese this way as well.
4/21/12 4:29 P
My recommendations for 'quick and healthy' meals is to cook in batches like a previous post said. For example, you could make a batch of rice and then make several meals with it, rice and veggies stir-fry, put rice in a salad, etc. I also cook for two which means we have a lot of leftovers in the fridge. Then I can reheat the leftovers or prepare something totally different with them. The other day, I prepared a batch of beans, corn, tomato, onions and cilantro and used that for tacos. The next day, I added that same mixture to a salad and we even had some more for quesadillas. I used to dislike onions as well, but I got over it, when they are chopped really fine and not raw sometimes you dont eally taste them.
If you don't like it then leave it out! It might be a little bland,but some garlic and black pepper should fix that problem. I dislike peppers too, and no amount of getting over it will make me like them! The flavor is just one I can't handle. If you only dislike 2 things then you aren't a picky eater, you are pretty darn normal from where I'm sitting!
I husband dislikes onions and peppers too...just leave them out. Unless the recipe has onion or jalapeno in the name or as a main component it will be fine without them. However you may want to add more of other spices in order to incorporate flavor...you just have to try out recipes that sound good and then modify them to your taste.
edit: I also agree that you can get over picky eating. There are a lot of foods I use to avoid that I now like or even love. I just started making myself eat them and eventually they grew on me. I've done the same to my husband; he eats more veggies now than he did when we first met.
Edited by: LAETU5 at: 4/21/2012 (00:25)
Fitness Minutes: (20,400)
2,704 4/20/12 10:05 P
My suggestion is to get over your picky eating. I did. I was such a picky eater that I didn't even try salad until I was almost twenty-one. When I was about sixteen or seventeen I CRIED at my birthday dinner because my dad put red bell peppers in the lasagna. I moved into my first apartment not knowing cabbage from lettuce. It took about three months of eating a lot of food I HATED every single day for my palate to adjust, but after about a season it did, and now I'll eat anything.
Go to the public library, get some cookbooks that have both photos and nutritional information, pick out some recipes that look good and give them a try. If you're cooking for just yourself look for recipes where there is ingredient crossover- use cilantro in homemade salsa one night and a Thai curry the next. Use carrots in a stir-fry today and roasted with other root veggies tomorrow. Put half a banana in your oatmeal in the morning and freeze the rest for a smoothie the next day.
Fitness Minutes: (51,301)
4/20/12 9:39 P
If you like fish, I have a super easy salmon dinner. I marinate it in fat free italian dressing overnight and then bake it in the oven. That's it! I usually have it with sauteed spinach with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese. Very tasty and very filling.
4/20/12 9:38 P
One of the ways I keep things simple, while healthy, easy and inexpensive is to prepare a batches of certain staple foods ahead of time. This may seem nonsensical, since you mention wanting variety, but other foods can always be added to them.
What I mean by that is keeping certain items that are used a lot in a prepared state in the fridge. This could be brown rice, quinoa, washed & cut vegetables, beans or whatever else a person eats a lot of. It means I can grab a few items that are already made, add some spices and whatever other random items I want to them and I now have something different, without a lot of fuss.
4/20/12 9:25 P
Turkey burgers are excellent since you can just toss them on the Foreman grill for 3-4 minutes. Grilled chicken can be dressed up by using different marinades. Green Giant sells veggies you can microwave or you could steam them on the stove, ie. broccoli, carrots, etc. You can always omit the onions and peppers if you want.
So, I really need to get back into working on a healthy lifestyle. The last time I had some success with changing my diet to a healthier one I should have seen that it would be doomed. That was because there wasn't much variety. None, really. I pretty much ate grilled chicken, green beans, and cottage cheese for every meal. I'd like to learn to make tasty, yet simple to make meals that have some flavor. The only problem I have is that when I start looking at recipes they either are more involved than I'd like for everyday cooking or they incorporate onions and peppers... which I DISPISE!! Haha.. I'm slightly picky in that sense, but actually I am willing to try new things. Veggies with strong flavors like onions and peppers are about the only kind that I don't like. I am also cooking for myself most nights of the week, so I prefer meals that are designed for one or two people.
Any suggestions? Any quick and easty lunch and dinner recipes?
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