Friday, March 23, 2012

Stuck in a Recipe Rut?

I am realizing we all get in a cooking/recipe rut. Do you find yourself cooking the same 10 meals over & over? Or eating the same snacks over & over? Well I know I do & so I’m looking to try new recipes and share recipe ideas. 

One of the most successful ways to eat healthy & try new recipes is to plan ahead. When you go to the grocery store have a list. This way you already have planned a couple of dishes you will cook & you don’t drift away from your plan and buy a bunch of crap that you don’t need.

I find breakfast a very easy option, seems like there are so many things you can eat for breakfast. Lunch is also easy (since I work full time) I usually preparer me lunches and snacks. As for dinner- this is where I stumble & eat the easiest unhealthy stuff.

Some easy healthy breakfast options are:

Yogurt & Granola- (make sure your granola is not made with sugar and a bunch of unhealthy ingredients because then you might as well eat a candy bar).

Breakfast Burritos- Options are endless & make a great mid day snack.

Quiche – you can make it crust less and just pour your mixture in cup cake pan and bake, this way you can easily take with you as a snack later & great for portion control. Remember you can add so many flavors to a quiche- spinach, cheese, mushroom, bacon (or other meats), chilies, peppers, or broccoli.

Oatmeal - my favorite. I love steal cut oats, you can add berries, fruits, honey & spices to mix it up.

Fruit & Yogurt Smoothies: Adding spinach or Kale to fruits yogurt & honey makes a delicious treat.

As for dinner options, here are a few:

Homemade Pizza: What I like to do is make my own sauce ahead of time & freeze it. You can make a tomato sauce or a pesto (my favorite), in the summer I grow some basil in my kitchen and let me tell you it’s very easy to grow & you get a lot. You can usually get ready made pizza dough from local pizza shops and then just roll it out at home and add all the toppings you like.

Here’s a very simple pesto recipe:
4 Cups Fresh basil
½ Cup Pine nuts
7 Cloves of garlic (or to taste)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 ¼ cups good olive oil (or to taste)
¾ cup Parmesan

Salads: some people get satisfied with just eating a salad, but not me! How I like to make my salads, some of my favorites are a taco salad, Greek salad, or just get creative.  You can always add grilled chicken, or tuna, salmon or even beef. Also the more creative you get with colors the more filling you salad will be, Add artichoke hearts, kalamata olives, feta cheese, avocado, peppers, peas carrots almonds cranberries the options are endless.. I always like a nice crispy baguette with my salad.

Lentils: Lentils are a great source of protein & they make for a great side dish, soup or mixed with rice. I prefer mine with curry powder chopped onions, celery, carrots and some cayenne for some heat.

Grilled Salmon: Or you can Grill Chicken or any meat with a side of sautéed vegetables. Try to venture out into seasonal vegetables. Some of my favorites are grilles zucchini, roasted Brussels sprouts, or green beans. Mix it up and keep it interesting.  

Soups & Stews: the options are endless & if you work, you can just through you ingredients in a crock pot and when you get home- soup is ready. Chili is a great option and many variations are possible. Also try Chicken tortilla, split pea, lentil, chowders, potato & leek, minestrone, chicken noodle, vegetable soup & just pair with a crispy baguette & dinner is served.

I think the planning ahead is the most important part. Remember to color your plates & try new things. Maybe set a goal that every week you will try 1 new recipe or cuisine. Why not try to make Japanese Soba noodles, or Indian Chicken Tikka Masala, Venezuelan Arepas, Jordanian Maglouba, Korean bbq bulgogi, Spanish Paella, Basque Cod Pil Pil, or a good old American Burger. Get creative & eat well.

“Fat gives things flavor.” Julia Child