Your Task, Should You Choose To Accept It

So, you may recall, from my post about New Years and making suggestions for improvement, that I have some issues with Teh Food. (To sum up: I love it, in all its forms, and in large quantities. It does not love me. And it spends too much time loitering about my midsection and posterior. Or, to paraphrase M*A*S*H, walking away from people it looks like I am wearing two strange bulldogs in a bag.)

So… on that same post, Andrea made the awesome suggestion of making a meal plan for the month to help with shopping for good stuff, and portion control, and time management. Which sounds like a most excellent idea. BDH also came into the kitchen and was really enthused about the idea, too.

I spent the day yesterday looking for recipes, thinking it might inspire me. And I had forgotten how many excellent cookbooks I had, and how many good recipes there are that I would like to try. And then I had the idea of asking you for your ideas.

So here is your task, should you choose to accept it: recommend your favourite recipes to fit into my menu plan. But there are some guidelines, if you can fit them in:

  • Meals should be relatively healthy
  • Ingredients should be somewhat budget-friendly (so filet mignon and lobster are OUT, sadly) but if there’s something really good and a bit pricey that’s fine… I can wait for sales (like my shrimp recipes… YUM… but I wait for a sale and stock up to make them)
  • Nothing too complex, as I have to fit prep and cooking in while watching after an increasingly busy Stinkerbelle
  • Anything that freezes well and/or makes lots for leftovers and lunches ROCKS

Anything you want to post here would be great, or send along to me in email, or even online recipes you want to direct me to would work. (However, posting links in the comments often sends comments to my spam folder, so apologies in advance while I go fish things out of the spam folder.)

I am looking forward to any culinary delights you can recommend!

13 thoughts on “Your Task, Should You Choose To Accept It

  1. Oh… I am so excited. Excited that you guys like the idea and excited to participate. I must give this request some thought! I’ll be back. A 🙂

  2. So we decided to eat clean and yes there is a book by the same title. The Eat Clean diet book but really it isn’t a diet at all. It is just simple tools to eating better. We don’t get as crazy as the Tosca Reno ’cause I don’t want to get fake boobs and be on the cover of Oxygen but overall the eating is great. You know – fruits, veggies, lean meats and we try to watch our sugar intake (this is hard because we both love desserts, and chips and oh boy!)

    We eat 5 or 6 smaller meals a day – we try to prep our food for the week on Sunday afternoon (I know this will be harder with Stinkerbelle) but we do it together and it is a great couple activity.

    We always try to have a protein and a carb together because you need both to help the other break down. Also, lots of water – water coming out of the ying yang.

    We both have always been into running etc and now we have started weight training too – this could be fun for you because you could use Stinkerbelle as weight for squats etc. and she will laugh her little head off.

    O.k. sorry to write so much.

    Rana

  3. Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food: Great Food Fast. I know, it’s Martha… but it’s organized by season, there is a picture for every recipe, and most of the recipes are pretty healthy and relatively quick. Plus every single recipe I’ve tried has been great.

    My other hot tip is… legumes. Embrace the legumes. Black bean soup, vegetarian chili, crunchy vegetable & lentil salad, kidney bean quesadillas, chick pea curry, etc … legumes are cheap, fast, filling, yummy, and freeze well (er, except the salad and quesadillas.) Recipes available if you’re interested. 🙂

  4. Oh tafel, the beans… stock up on the Beano!

    Some of those sound really good! I love black beans, and have been intrigued by the idea of chick pea curry for some time. I will have to expand my legumous repertoire.

    Poor BDH. His diabetes meds make him… erm… windy, let’s say… so adding beans to his diet could make for an explosion of thermonuclear proportions. But sneak one recipe in a week, maybe, and it might be tolerable. Or, maybe I’ll just save them for soccer nights when he stays in town and I’m eating on my own. 😀

  5. I’m terrible with recipes, but I can tell you a few things we do. Once a week, we have raw vegetables, fruit, bread or crackers, and cheese, and sometimes hummus, for dinner. Everything is fresh–whatever is at the market. It’s tasty. It’s healthy. And the perhaps best part is it involves no cooking. Meals need not be complicated.

    Another thing I would suggest is to cut back the meat consumption if you do eat meat. You’ll knock off lots of extra calories and cholesterol. Cut back gradually to just a few times a week as you learn new veggie recipes, and learn to substitute vegetables or beans in your favorite recipes. Like instead of making lamb stew, I now substitute black beans. Tastes great, less fat.

    Cut out all processed snacks, especially for the first month, because the salty taste is addictive no matter how many calories the package says it has. Make sure you have plenty of fresh fruits and veggies on hand, and eat as much of them as you want. Cut up peppers and carrots and whatnot on the weekends so you don’t have to do it during the week.

    And last but not least, eat breakfast every day. Oatmeal with fruit is great, but even just a banana will do the job.

    Good luck!

  6. Yay, Alana is here! I’ve been stalking your blog for months. 🙂

    Some excellent suggestions! I like the “fresh” dinner you do — we actually did something similar for the first time over the holidays, with a big veggie platter to graze from as a big part of our meal. It was a big change for BDH but I think he’d be open to it as a regular thing. And it would work well with the “baby tapas”-style meals I hope to give Stinkerbelle when she moves to solid foods.

    And I’m a big fan of breakfast myself. I could eat breakfast for dinner… in fact, sometimes I do. Especially oatmeal. Sometimes I have oatmeal for breakfast, so Stinkerbelle does not have to eat hers alone.

    Great ideas!

  7. We also do the “grazing” meals regularly. We find this especially effective with a fussy two year old who loves something one day and HATES it the next. With grazing he can pick and chose and since we keep it all healthy, it doesn’t matter to us what he choses.

    Also why not try making Ethiopian Chickpea Wat? Its wonderful, easy to cook and freezes well.

    Have fun!

  8. I will have to try the chickpea wat — I wanted to try it in Ethiopia but BDH was all about the doro wat. Maybe I can try some at the Ethiopian restaurant in town. And isn’t there also one with lentils or something?

    I am glad to know they freeze well — I could have a big batch cooking day some weekend when BDH is home to superbabyvise and put a bunch in the freezer.

  9. Watch for pork tenderloin on sale. Do you like pork tenderloin?? This is one of our favourite recipes.
    1 cup light coconut milk
    1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
    1/4 light soy sauce
    3 tbs lime juice
    3 tbs brown sugar
    2 large cloves of garlic, minced
    2 tsp ground coriander
    2 small pork tenderloins (about 1 lb each)

    1. In a large bowl whisk together until smooth all the ingredients except the pork
    2. Trim the pork of excess fat and silver skin and butterfly by splitting each one lengthwise almost but nto quite all the way through
    3. Open each tenderloin like a book – place on plastic wrap and cover with plastic wrap. Pound them to an even thickness of about 1/2″ (I use my rolling pin, but you could also use a meat mallett or the bottom of a small skillet)
    4. Put the pork in the marinade you made and refrigerate for 10-20 minutes, or several hours (I usually do this all the night before and then leave it until dinner the next night)
    5. Heat your BBQ to high – remove the pork from the marinade, letting the excess drip back into the bowl. Grill the pork , covered, turning only once, until just cooked through (about 5-7 minutes total). Transfer to your cutting board and let sit for about 5 minutes
    6. While the pork is cooking, pour the marinade into a small saucepan and add 2 tbs water. Bring to a bowl and simmer for 3 minutes (add more water if sauce is too thick)
    7. Slice the pork and serve with sauce

    We always have this with some jasmin rice (fabulous with the sauce on it) and a nice salad. And, if you don’t over cook it the first night (or even if you do!), the meat is great cold or slightly reheated the next day with reheated sauce and fresh rice (I always love a meal that I cook once and eat twice!)

    Enjoy… A

  10. Ok… so, non-BBQ options? This is a great one – from Crazy Plates: It’s a Little Pizza Heaven
    – 2 cups sliced mushrooms
    – 1 cup broccoli florets (cut small)
    – 3/4 cup thinly sliced zucchini
    – 1/2 cup each thinly sliced red and yellow bell peppers
    – 1 small red onion, sliced thinly in rings
    – 1/3 tbsp pesto (if you get one jar it lasts forever!)
    – 1/3 cup pizza sauce
    – 1 12″ pizza crust (you can start with a homemade unbaked one, or use a store bought ready to go crust)
    – 2 tbsp grated romano or parmesan cheese
    – 1/2 cup crumbled light feta cheese
    – 1/2 cup shredded mozza cheese

    Spray non-stick skillet with non-stick spray. Add mushrooms, broccoli, zucchini, peppers and onions. Stir cooking over medium heat until veggies are tender (about 6 min). Remove from heat and stir in the pesto.

    Spread pizza sauce on crust. Sprinkle with parm or romano. Put the veggie mix on the pizza crust and sprinkle over top with feta and mozza.

    Bake at 450F for 13-14 minutes (for unbaked crust, about 10 minutes if using pre-cooked crust) – until crust is lightly browned and cheese is melted.

    This is delicious!
    A

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