I am so glad you all enjoyed Erin’s guest post! She is a wonderful person. <3
I have been learning a lot this trip. I cannot wait to share everything with you! Oh, and p.s…. I miss and love you! Seriously. I hate not having internet, because it means I can’t converse with you in the comments : ( And that is my favorite. Fo riz. In the meantime, though, I wanted to backtrack a little to the post from earlier this week. A commenter (read her story in the post) asked for a sample menu, and I wanted to dedicate a whole post to one of the easiest, fastest, healthiest, and most delicious methods I use for creating nutritious meals on the fly. I am sure many of you already do something similar, so if have extra tips, please leave them in the comments!
These are the basic steps I follow at least once a week for my 10-minute meals:
1. Take vegetables (make sure some are green) and chop them.
2. Saute them in a large pan with a couple tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, until just cooked, retaining a little crunch.
3. Add a healthy sauce.
4. Serve over brown rice, whole grain pasta, gluten-free pasta, quinoa, millet, or sweet potato.
Stir-frying was a skill I learned from my Dad: if you only have 5 minutes to throw together a meal, make a stir-fry. All the flavor, none of the time. It was one of the most comforting meals for me as a child, and still is. Dad keeps bags of frozen mixed vegetables in the freezer, while I tend to have more fresh produce on hand, as that’s cheaper for me here. It takes about 5 minutes to chop my veggies and 5 minutes to cook them. Bam. Dinner is served.
There is no perfect method, but here are some pointers:
– Be open to what you have on hand. If you think carrots, spinach, and tomato seems like a strange combo, just trust that you might be surprised. Be welcoming of challenges, and try to find something that will bring it together in a harmony you’ll enjoy. Which leads to…
– Break some rules. Not gonna lie, I am really, really good at this. My husband will attest to it; I like to be bad-a. For better or for worse. I skip “necessary” steps, I add too much spicing, I put sweet with savory, I cut things in my hand instead of on a cutting board (don’t use me as a model, folks…). It makes cooking fun, and has nurtured a lot of creativity and kitchen success. It also used to totally confound my husband. He has since reformed deviated as well. And he has never cooked as well as he does now!
The first rule of Stir Fry Club: Do not talk about Stir Fry Club.
Just kidding. Talk about it. A lot.
– One rule to break with stir-fries? Change your sauce. Mix it up — you don’t have to be all about soy sauce or tamari, or even stick to an Asian flavor base. Get a little crazy and use homemade salad dressing instead. Or a healthy, jarred marinara. Or healthy curry sauce. Or pesto. Or salsa. Or toss some avocado or guacamole in (just be careful about amount if you’re trying to lose weigh). Or hummus. Or mustard (I think HEAB does this often too! My mustard homegirl. <3).
– Another rule-breaker: ditch the meat. It will save time, and can be a lot healthier. Use a can of rinsed and drained black beans or lentils instead! (Or cook your own – DIY coming soon.) I love to add peas for protein (betcha didn’t think I’d throw that in there, right? But believe it or not, they have a fair amount). My husband likes eggs scrambled into his (just break the eggs directly into the pan once the veggies are cooked). With these options, you will still get protein, and won’t have to hassle with cutting it, cleaning it, cooking it, and disinfecting afterwards. Plus, it’s cheaper : )
– Yet another rule-breaker: You don’t have to serve it over rice! (If you do, opt for brown rice.) Explore quicker-cooking and healthier options like quinoa, which is a complete protein, and ready in about 15 minutes. Other ideas are millet, barley (not GF, obviously), (gluten-free) pastas, even plain cooked oats! If you have a microwave (I don’t), just nuke a sweet potato and use that. There are so many options! Explore! Express yaself!
I hope this offers some ideas to those struggling with balancing their busy schedules, tight budgets, and healthy eating. If not, don’t worry…I have more things up my sleeve (I almost wrote “apron”, but realized that might be misconstrued as an advance…awkward).
What is the weirdest combination you have tried, that totally, magically worked? What rules do you break?
Miss you! Can’t wait to talk more soon! xoxo