31 May 2011

Fast and nutritious dinners for busy people

I've been busy.  Like SUPER busy.  The kind of soul crushing busy that can only be tackled with copious amounts of caffeine and convenience foods.  Fortunately, my sorts of convenience foods are ones that I've either made myself previously or that can be quickly thrown together for a nutritious and tasty dinner.  Below are some of my go-to meals that I've eaten recently that are also relatively inexpensive.

Breakfast for dinner
Ottmer's Farm Eggs, Richardson Farms pan sausage

Nothing is faster than scrambled eggs.  Add in some toast and a handful of vegetables and you've got yourself a super quick and tasty meal.   Here is one of my favorites.
sauteed mushrooms and spinach: add some oil to a nonstick pan and heat.  Add in ~8 sliced button mushrooms with a pinch of salt and pepper and cook until the mushrooms are nice and brown.  Add in a handful of spinach (say half a bunch) and stir until wilted.  Remove from the pan to a plate.  Add in 4 beaten eggs with a pinch of salt and pepper and cook halfway.  Add in the spinach and mushrooms and cook the rest of the way.

If this sounds at all familiar, it's because I eat a lot of eggs.  They're filled with protein, inexpensive compared to fresh meat, and quick to cook.

Dinner Salads
Seafood Salad from Zed's

One of my favorite take out meals in Austin is the steak salad from Central Market.  It has steak (duh!), hard boiled eggs, bleu cheese, roasted tomatoes, and some lettuce.  It's filling and delicious and a good way to get a balance of protein, carbs, and fat.  The Caesar salad is also another classic dinner salad.  Add in some protein in the form of an omega-3 fatty acid-rich fish and you have a really healthy and satisfying meal.  Dinner salads are also good go-to meals because you can use leftovers from previous dinners to add to the salad.  My new favorite is a homemade taco salad.
Toss together some amount of leftover taco meat (I think I had like 1/3 lb the last time I made this) with a handful of shredded cheese, diced tomatoes, a dark green lettuce (not iceberg!), and anything else you have on hand (beans make a nice addition).  Serve with some crushed tortilla chips for added crunch and use salsa for the salad dressing because there is already fat there from the taco meat that you made... speaking of which...

chili and garlic porkbelly

I make a lot of breakfast tacos, which consist of egg, cheese, some protein (so meat or beans), salsa, and a tortilla.  Wrap it up in a tortilla and cook it in a pan to seal it.  Austin in famous for breakfast tacos, but usually they're not sealed.  This was not, however, my idea.  This was stolen from my favorite late night food stop in college, Menna's Joint. Granted, most of their menu is terribly unhealthy, but if you make these yourself, you can control the ingredients and sneak in some vegetables to balance out the carbs.  Lately, I've been picking up 20 packs of tortillas to make tacos for dinner as well. 

I admit to using a pre-made taco seasoning blend.  It's cheaper than buying all of the spices individually and I happen to really like one particular brand.  In lieu of this, you can use this taco seasoning blend, which is really quite delicious.  Make up a large batch and keep it on hand. 
1 lb ground beef (ground turkey or pork also work well)
1T+ taco seasoning (or to taste)
1/2 medium onion, diced
1-2 jalapeños, de-seeded and diced.
2 cloves garlic, crushed or minced
1-2 chipotle peppers, diced (optional)
salt+pepper, to taste

Add in ground meat to a pan and cook until thoroughly browned.  Remove the meat from the pan, leaving the drippings and cook the onions and peppers with a pinch of salt until the onions are translucent and soft (~5 minutes or so).  Add in the garlic and stir until fragrant.  Add the meat back in, as well as the taco seasoning and chipotle peppers, if using.  Let the flavors mingle over low heat for at least 10-15 minutes (more if you can stand it).  Serve with tomatoes, lettuce, beans, salsa, etc. with the tortillas.

Last night I made this recipe from the Kitchen Wench.  I happened to have pork belly on hand, but the recipe is, in principle, super adaptable and should be able to be made with just about any meat or even (gasp) tofu.  I served these with some cabbage and rice inside a tortilla.  Super yummy and super easy.  While gochujang is not the easiest to find ingredient (I got mine from a Korean supermarket), you could likely sub in things like sriracha which can definitely be purchased at HEB, or any other hot, garlicky chile paste.

1 comment:

Randi said...

woohoo! shout out!