RULE: Meal Plan

We all know that “Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail”.  (This was one of my medical school professor’s cheesey catch phrases). While true at exam time, I think it’s applicable with our eating habits and meal preparation.  If it’s 6 pm and nothing is in the fridge, we can pick up chicken parts in a bucket, have pizza delivered and ice cream cakes uber-ed.

When you haven’t shopped and meal prepped ahead of time, it’s easy to slip in to convince, cheap, fast food.  Which is tough on the bod and the pant size.

So pick a day when you can pre-make so stuff to store in the fridge. That way when the tummy grumbles, you’ll have delicious dishes to nosh on.

One of my FAVE meal plan strategies is to buy a bag of arugula or spinach and a rotisserie chicken. Below is the week’s meal plan for 1-2 people, but adjust you number of birds to the number of peeps and their appetites!

Day 1: Serve 1-2 chicken legs and brown rice on bed of green (spinach/arugula).

Day 2: Make a salad with favorite veggies (onions, mushrooms, and avocados) and pulled chicken.  Arugula, Bean and Avocado Salad

Day 3: Make yummy tostadas! Chicken, cheese, arugula and salsa in a toaster over. Easy-peesy!tostadas

Day 4: 1/2-1 Chicken breast in a bowl with rice, arugula and salsa

Day 5: Make Chicken Pot Pie: Make your own dough or Trader Joe’s it. Grease a pie pan. Add what’s left of your chicken (really strip that carcass!), 1 can of split pea soup, 2 tsp tarragon, 1/2 tsp ground black pepper and 3 dashes of sea salt. Slit the top of your pie and bake for 25-30 minutes at 375. Let cool for 20 minutes. Freeze what you don’t eat!chicken-pot-pie

RULE: Try New Grains

If you’re like me, the only grain I knew growing up were wheat and white rice.  And let’s be honest, there was no “whole wheat” bread or pasta. There was WonderBread and spaghettios; and bread, pasta and rice were my 3 best ‘carb’ friends. (Note: in those days, potatoes were still considered vegetables)  I could’ve consisted entirely on Kraft mac n’ cheese and Chinese buffets (and, later, did! in my 20s).

Thankfully I’ve broadened my carbohydrate network. Though I still can crush a plate of mac, my grains and carbohydrates are now of the healthier variety.

Meet Farro (rhymes with “tomorrow”) A hearty, nutty grain that goes well anywhere pasta or rice would.  Cooks in ~ 10 minutes, 1 part Farro to 2 parts water. Cook until water is gone and grains are fluffy.

My favorite thing to mix faro with is 1/2 small sleeve of goat cheese, juice from 1 lemon and 2 handfuls of arugula! With sea salt and pepper to taste.

So, go now. Off you go. Try a new grain. Consider amaranth, millet, farro, kamut, teff, spelt, sorghum and quinoa.

 

 

farro2

RECIPE: Apple Cookies

apple-cookies

 

Fall is upon us. Which means delicious, crisp apples!  A dear friend shared this genius idea of-a-fun-snack-or-healthy-dessert with me when we wanted stopped at her place for lunch, breaking up our 5 hour drive from the NC coast to the mountains.  Not only did she provide an exceptionally tasty, healthy lunch of chicken salad lettuce wraps and prosciutto with melon; she busted out these little numbers, which thrilled us and our kiddos–who loved making them.  This will be my new go-to kids, crafty cookie decorating recipe!  They are clean, healthy and oh so scrumptious. Enjoy.

INGREDIENTS:

1 Apple*

1/4 cup shredded, non-sweetened coconut

4 Tbsp Almond or Peanut Butter

20 Chocolate chips (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS (kinda a no brainer here):

  1. Slice thin cross sections of apple.
  2. Smear on nut butter.
  3. Sprinkle coconut.
  4. Place chocolate chips on top (optional)
  5. Enjoy!

 

 

*Remember apples are one of the “Dirty Dozen” so Buy ORGANIC–unless you like cancer.

RECIPE: Simple Gluten-Free Lasagna

Lasagna

Who doesn’t like warm, crisp, gooey, melted-cheese? OK, I know dairy-free folks won’t back flip at this, but for the rest of us…this healthy lasagna will blow your mind! Savory and delicious minus the inflammatory, sleep-inducing, belt-busting pasta.  Even your Italian friends’ll be gesticulating “Benissimo!”

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup Quinoa

6 large Chard leaves

5-6 ounces of goat cheese (small sleeve, plain or spiced)

16 ounce jar marinara (organic, no sugar added preferable)

Cheese of choice: muenster, provolone, parmesan. (I prefer Muenster!)

2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp thyme

1 tsp ground pepper

1/2 tsp crushed red pepper (optional)

1/2 tsp sea salt

1 organic chicken breast or sausage (optional)

lasgna2

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat oven to 375.

  1. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil, add 1 cup of quinoa and lower heat, cook until water is gone.
  2. While quinoa cooks, de-stem 6 chard leaves.
  3. In a 9 x 9 or 9 x 13 glass container, place chard leaves side by side, covering bottom of container
  4. Cover chard with slices of muenster vs provolone cheese (from hormone and antibiotic -free cow’s milk, of course); use less cheese by allowing space between slices.
  5. Once water cooked away in quinoa, add 5 oz sleeve of goat cheese to quinoa.
  6. Add  sea salt and  ground pepper, crushed red pepper and thyme.
  7. Add  extra virgin olive oil
  8. Stir until creamy.
  9. Spread layer of 1/2 of quinoa mixture on top of chard and cheese.
  10. Pour marinara sauce over quinoa.
  11. Add optional layer of sliced organic chicken or sausage.
  12. Add another layer of chard, cheese and remaining quinoa and marinara.
  13. Top dish with muenster cheese.
  14. Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Until cheese bubbly and brown.
  15. Serve immediately or let cool and store in refridge.

Serves 6-8.