My favorite "in a rush dish" is what we call mexican pizza. We start with a corn tortilla or brown rice tortilla and put Amy's Organic refried beans on it (to cover). Then I pop that in the oven at 325 until the edge is crispy, maybe 10 minutes. Meanwhile, I chop up all the veggies we want. Mixed greens, CILANTRO, tomato, radishes, onions, etc. Take the tortillas out of the oven and pile it high with veggies, then smother it in salsa and voila, a super meal that's filling and yummy!
My husband and I have a similar situation and both have hour-long commutes on top of a workday that usually runs over 8 hours. A few years ago we started cooking all our food on one weekend evening (usually Sunday) so that we don't have to think about it during the week. It actually makes things super easy. You need to eat Sunday night anyway, right? We have tried a few Spark recipes that we've really liked that were easy -- crispy ranch chicken, mexican crockpot chicken, and cheeseburger pie. Turkey burgers are easy, too.
If we find ourselves out of food toward the end of the week, we'll reach for things like the Green Giant Steam Fresh broccoli with cheese sauce (only 45 calories a serving!), or on rare occasions we'll pick food up somewhere. Applebees has some good entrée choices with pretty low calories, and Subway is a good choice as well.
My favorite quick meal is to make a sandwich with the following:
2 slices of whole grain bread, toasted (I like the Sprouted Flourless Whole Wheat bread from Trader Joe's. It's very filling and yummy.), flame grilled Boca Burger (microwaved), 1/3 of an avocado mashed on the toast, sliced tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, spinach or whatever other veggies you like. You can use light mayo instead of avocado if you prefer. It's a very quick meal, only takes about 5 minutes to make.
We frequently make a big salad taking advantage of the pre-packaged stuff to cut down on chopping and cleanup. Spring mix lettuces and pre-shredded "slaw" cabbage are the base for our salads, and anything else can be added - cherry tomatoes need to cutting, and the petite baby carrots can go in whole as well. We usually also add celery, green onions and little pieces of broccoli, and sprinkle sunflower seeds on top.
As far as things you can prepare and have on hand throughout the week, hardboiled eggs are easy and portable. Quinoa cooks up and holds in the fridge better than rice, and can be used for tons of things - hot or cold cereal, in grain-based salads, or anywhere you would normally use rice. Sweet potatoes can be cooked in their skins, and once they are soft, the skins slip right off. I like to take one to work with me and throw some lowfat cottage cheese on it for a quick lunch that is good hot or cold. Another good idea is to roast a chicken or a turkey breast a the beginning of the week and use it throughout the week for sandwiches, burritos, soup or casseroles. You can cut up veggies at the beginning of the week, like celery, broccoli, bell peppers, carrots or cauliflower and snack on them with hummus, bean dip or a yogurt-based dip.
Keeping all kinds of canned beans and frozen veggies on hand is helpful for nights when nothing is planned or nothing fresh is handy. Chickpeas and kidney beans are both good mixed with quinoa, some vinegar or lemon juice, olive oil and some diced veggies for a quick cold salad.
Also, keep some nuts in your car for when you get stuck and need something. Some dried fruit and beef jerky can also come in handy to have something with some nutrition in it to avoid running through a fast food drive through or mini mart. Nuts are great for curbing hunger, just keep an eye on how many you eat since they are calorie-dense.
1. "Pizza"---Thomas' Light Multigrain Muffin split and topped with pizza sauce, turkey pepperoni (or veggies), 2% mozzerrella cheese, toasted in oven for few minutes.
2. Burrittos--Light tortilla filled with black beans (or FF refried beans), grilled chicken breasts, veggies, topped with light sour cream.
3. Salads--I will cook up chicken breasts in my free time and freeze 2-3 ounces in individual bags. Then when I want a salad, I add pre-cooked chicken, light cheese, red/kidney beans (for additional protein), light dressing.
4. Crockpot cooking--Just search for one of the many light recipes. Or add pot roast and veggies. You can freeze the roast for individual meals later or use in 'burritos', etc.
5. Broiled fish with side veggies.
6. Roasted veggies are quick and delicious. Then you can take out the precooked chicken, make salad, and have a meal.
I think the first part is being organized more than specific recipes. I have a doc that breaks down my grocery list by category, and also lists the days of the week and what I'm planning to make. I do as much ahead of time as I can and refrigerate it until it's time for dinner. Take an hour or two (or less if you have help) and do all the chopping and prep work ahead of time, store them in containers so it's literally just a matter of tossing things together.
I too have been using my pressure cooker. I used to only think of it for canning. But now that I'm trying to incorporate whole grains and beans into my diet, pressure cooking is the way to go. I made a wild rice recipe in my pressure cooker and my husband and I LOVED it. It's soooo fast, it's hard to believe it can accomplish what it does.
Fitness Minutes: (1,104)
227 3/23/12 12:33 P
Pressure cooker! I am sort of new to it and I am amazed at the delicious meals that you can whip out in such a short time. You might want to do some investigating and see if it sounds like something you would use. I have a Fagor 3-quart and I love it. It's pretty small but it works because it's just my husband and I. If you have more people to feed you would probably do better with a larger size.
Do you have a slow cooker? If you don't I recommend getting one. If you have 20 minutes in the morning to dump everything in it, then by the evening you have a meal that you only need a ladle & a bowl to serve, and also usually lots of leftovers!
My "easy" dinners (assuming I have no leftovers) include tuna melts (with tomato) & breakfast (egg or egg substitute, toast & fruit, with a meat for him).
Take advantage of the bagged lettuce and pre-cut fruits & veggies in the produce aisle!
It's not terrible to head to the frozen meal aisle either. There are many choices there that could fit in to your diet. The biggest problem with them for me is the high sodium content. If that is not an issue for you, then you can use them to tide you over while you two figure out how to carve more meal-prep time into your busy lives!
Fitness Minutes: (15)
4 3/22/12 7:20 P
My boyfriend, Mikey, and I are committed to eating healthy. It's not all about losing weight, we want our energy back. We have set meal times and our own personal short-term and long-term goals.
But eating healthy is hard because we are always on the go. I work about 40 hours a week plus school. He's at school full-time, plus long commute, tons of time for mindless snacking. When we are home, one of us usually crashes and the other is too lazy to move.
Any recipes for easy dinners and easy lunches. We love leftovers. I can't handle pasta, it's my downfall.
Any ideas about what we should do? We could cook a few meals ahead of time on a day off. What do you like to cook?
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