Healthy and Sane in the kitchen: making a week’s worth of meals in an hour

Hi guys! Long time no “speak.” I seriously have no idea where the time went since my last post [feeling totally back to normal btw!]. I’m sure I was doing something seriously awesome. Definitely!

SO, I’m currently on the Amtrak train to NY, where I’ll be spending the rest of the week (let me know if you want to meet up on Friday at some point!!). I originally told Adam about this business trip and the fact that I was going to stay over my sister’s for the weekend and he didn’t seem to be fazed by it… until he realized he was going to have to feed himself for 6 days! Ha!

He’s currently trying to be healthy so in order for him to avoid feasting on takeout every night (not good for our budget or his health), I told him I’d prep some stuff for him. I ended up being really happy with my super easy “meal plan” and thought I’d share it with you. This is how you make a week’s worth of food in just over an hour!

To make it that quick, you’ll need help though from your grocery store (I originally was going to roast the chicken myself and make homemade tomato sauce but we all know by now from my frequent absence from this blog that time is not typically my friend).

This is the stuff I picked up for the week:

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A roasted chicken from Whole Foods (just $9.99!!), broccoli, Applegate prosciutto, 1lb of 90% lean ground grass fed beef. I also had a jar of tomato sauce and a tube of polenta in the cupboards and some carrots, baby spinach and dying asparagus in the fridge. Wraps, burger buns, pasta, cheese and condiments are not shown here. We had them at home (you probably do too!) and they will come in handy during the “assembly stage” but not yet.

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I started by roasting some veggies. They make great sides for just about any meal!

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[Carrots were tossed with coconut oil, salt and pepper; asparagus and broccoli with EVOO, salt and pepper. 425* until nice and toasty… that’s about 15 mins for broccoli, 20 for asparagus and 30 for the carrots. Toss occasionally]

Then it was time to jazz up the tomato sauce. Jarred tomato sauce with extra red pepper flakes, baby spinach and roasted chicken – let the sauce simmer with the mix-ins for about 10 minutes.

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I also made some chicken salad (see below) and grilled the polenta rounds. Lastly that ground beef was made into some burger patties (to be frozen) [1lb beef with 2T ketchup, 1T Worcestershire sauce and 1/4t salt is my go-to burger seasoning – it makes the patties moist and flavorful].

Here we go – all done!

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Meal #1: Roasted chicken with roasted veggies and fried potatoes (from last night’s dinner)

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Meal #2: Pasta with tomato, spinach and chicken sauce (Adam will cook the pasta)

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Meal #3: Chicken salad [chicken, reduced fat mayo, light sour cream, pinch of cayenne pepper, lemon juice, s&p + carrots]

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Mix in sliced toasted almonds right before eating, wrap with tomato and avocado slices.

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Meal #4: Grilled polenta with tomato sauce and prosciutto

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This idea comes straight from Jamie Oliver’s Jamie’s Dinners cookbook. Actually the whole idea of repurposing a few ingredients for different meals (in this case chicken, tomato sauce and prosciutto) came from the book. Love Jamie and all his books!

Burger patties to be frozen and grilled on demand Smile

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Other meals… that Adam can handle on his own Winking smile

  • Prosciutto panini
  • Chicken/avocado/tomato sandwich

Roasted veggies for sides

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Snacks:

  • Baby carrots with hummus (Whole Foods jalapeno hummus is our my recent obsession)
  • Yogurt with homemade granola and organic blueberries (all washed, ready to eat)
  • Fruit (organic apples, pears and bananas in the living room platter)

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Oh and if you’re wondering what’s sneaking behind there in the photos… that would be parmesan thyme biscuits and maple walnut shortbread cookies I made over the weekend. No big deal Winking smile

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All together, ready for the fridge!

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I had one happy husband on my hands! Now he has to report back on how everything was. I better not see greasy Chinese in his online food journal! Open-mouthed smile

I need to do things like that more often even when I’m in town! What would you have made??

Clean up that flood water mess!

Our condo got flooded on Saturday. Yeah, that was a good time. :roll: I was at work, actually, and Adam called me telling me I had to get home immediately. I literally ran there (falling down the stairs at some point… yeah) and when I finally stepped foot inside, I saw at least 4 inches of water all over the living room, wet carpet in the hallway and a few inches of water in the kitchen. :( Basically the sewer drain in the back of our building got clogged when it started to rain, and all the water started rushing into our patio and pushed our back door open and flooded the place. It was a lot of dirty water (use your imagination here) and it was just a horrifying experience. Our neighbors helped us undrain the sewer, which stopped the flow and allowed us to bucket water out of the living room. Meanwhile, I used every towel we had in the house (and our neighbors’ house) and tried to soak all the water from under the cabinets and the floor. My wrist still hurts from all the squeezing. :( My parents were on a mission to find us a water pump, but eventually we told them to just bring us a wet shop vac. Until they got there, towel by towel we soaked up every inch of the living room. Here are a few photos of the blood bath. I was covered in gunk but Adam made me wash up and take these photos for insurance or any city claims we may submit.


As you may have guessed, we spent most of the afternoon/evening trying to clean up the mess. We extracted over 10 gallons of water just out of our carpet in the hallway. Thankfully Adam built up this little barricade between the living room and hallway so at least it prevented the water from going too far into the rest of the place (our bedrooms are dry). Our living room floors are 100% okay (we are still trying to figure out whether there is a risk of mold growing under there, but the carpet is soaking wet days later. The shop vac is unable to extract that much water at this point so we’re not sure what to do.

Anyways, we’ll get through it, I’m sure. :D Maybe we’ll at least become friends with our new neighbors out of this. :) They were extremely helpful – unclogged the sewer drain, brought lots of towels and around 7pm on Saturday even brought us dinner, fresh out of their oven. How incredibly nice is that?!!!

We weren’t going to stop until the mess was cleaned up, but when she came over with a hot pan of lasagna and meatballs, we realized we were actually starving. Talk about a random act of kindness. Adam and I couldn’t get over this. Definitely one of the nicest things a stranger has ever done for either one of us.

By the way, my laptop charger got submerged in water and is not currently working so I’m using Adam’s laptop which is painful (switching from a mac to a pc is not as easy as one might think), so I’ll try to keep it brief. Basically, this whole flood in our condo is a metaphor for my life. It been ridiculous at work, I feel like I can’t catch up with anything at home and the last drop in the bucket which I can’t ignore is that I gained so much weight recently that it’s affecting everything from how my clothes fit to my fitness level at the gym and how I generally feel about myself. I stepped on the scale last week and let’s just say that I haven’t seen that number in 4 years (!!!). I’ve been ignoring this issue since then but it’s time to clean up the flood mess!! I am not going to feel bad about myself, I’m going to do something about it. The plan of attack:

- Plan meals for the week and stick to the plan!! It’s ok to make minor adjustments based on taste preferences at the moment but I will stick to 3 meals + 2 snacks + 1 dessert (in moderation) equation until some progress is made in the weight dept.

- No mindless snacking/eating. My hours at home are going to get all out of whack over the next few weeks as I spend majority of my time in the office. That usually means stress eating. As mentioned above, I will make sure to stick to the pre-planned meals and snacks only. When life gets crazy like this, structure should be a good thing. I can do this!!!

- Continue making exercise a priority. I’ve been pretty good about this recently. I hope I can continue to keep it up despite the longer hours at work. I usually need a mental break mid-day anyways. A good sweat session should kill 2 birds with 1 stone (or something along those lines that’s less gross ;) ).

How does this sound? I think it sounds good. I did A LOT of prep work last night for the next few days. Hopefully this builds up the momentum I’ll need. :)

So since I haven’t blogged in a few days, here are the highlights of this weekend’s eats.

Iggy’s ww bagel with olive jalapeno cream cheese and tomatoes

These tasted like sugar cookies with a pomegranate twist. Amazing!!

Beet/pesto/goat cheese and pecan panini + leftover b.good southwestern chicken salad

Spinach/artichoke hearts and mushroom calzone from Mangia (a treat on Friday night)

It was really delicious. We’ll definitely order from that place again!

I had the leftovers for lunch on Saturday. Yum! :)

+ Carly’s Confection 7 layer bar with a twist. So much white chocolate goodness. Another amazing treat for sure.

Sunday brunch at Sel de la Terre

Virgin bloody mary (I had to go to work!)

I had 2 of these. They weren’t very spicy but were definitely delicious.

Bread basket - I helped myself to a mini cinnamon roll and a cracker

For my entree I ordered the brioche French toast, strawberries, honey roasted almonds and vanilla butter.

It was really fantastic!! I removed that big butter blob and didn’t use any maple syrup because it was already rich and flavorful on its own. The strawberries were amazingly fresh and sweet as well. The sides of the french toast were perfectly grilled and the middle was kind of goey (souffle like) which normally would gross me out but it was so tasty that I didn’t care about texture. I would order this again in a heart beat (I ate half for brunch and then ate the other half later in the day as a “snack”).

Garlic/thyme smothered pork chop over qunoia and roasted rhubarb (adopted from this recipe).

It was great having a home-cooked meal again! Adam and I ate every morsel of our plates and I can’t wait for leftovers which I plan on making into a sandwich tomorrow.

All right, time for work! I apologize in advance for my random blogging schedule. I’m thinking of doing a picture collage at the end of each day and noting how my plan of attack is working so far. What do you think? Are you up for it?

I’ll be back with a bang in a few weeks. I have some giveaways in the works and a few posts that just need a little more research time. Happy Monday! :D

Trying new things

I’m glad you guys enjoyed my post on our new patio. Today as promised, I’m back to food posting. For the record, Sunday – Tuesday, I couldn’t get a hold of my hunger cues. I’d be hungry but not craving much and would seem full after a few bites of something rather… and then shortly experience hunger pains so bad that I felt like I would pass out any second if I didn’t get some food in myself asap. Weird stuff. Anyways, yesterday I was able to pretty much get back into the regular swing of things. I thought I was hungry all day but I think I know how to remedy that. That’s a topic for another post. ;)

BREAKFAST

Oikos, 1/2 banana, healthy and sane YouTrailMix

Lots of good stuff in there. :)

LUNCH

A few days ago I saw Shannon’s post on shaved asparagus & egg pizza and decided that I had to make that right away. I had all the ingredients on hand… except wait, my pizza dough got moldy. Bleh. Tortilla wrap to the rescue! :grin:

I used 1 oz of goat cheese and only 1 egg to make it a lunch sized meal. It was a really fun dish but I think more goat cheese would balance it would more. It needed something else. Ooh, maybe some hot sauce… or more goat cheese. Ha.

Runny egg yolk…

I was actually on a conference call while making and eating this so there was no time to make a side salad as I planned. I grabbed a cherry & chocolate granola bar instead. I LOVE these bars!!

So here is the first new thing I tried today – while eating lunch/working, I was icing my foot. It’s been sore since the half (actually it’s been sore after most long runs lately but obviously 13.1 miles is the longest run I’ve done and it’s taking forever to recover). I’ve been stretching, getting massages on occasion, but I’ve never iced! It felt so much better right after but I think I was just numb. It still hurts a bit now. :( I’m going to keep it low impact for the next few days.

SNACKS

+ almonds + roasted broccoli. I roasted a bunch while at home waiting for our new dining room table to deliver and munched on it throughout the afternoon. SO good! Back at the office, I also had a mojo bar. We’re all out of fruit. I hate snacking on bars all day long but you do what you gotta do. I told you I was hungry all day!

WORKOUT

Another new thing – I tried pilates at a real pilates studio last night. The pilates at my gym got so lame but I know it can be a good workout. We used a circle and some 2lb weights. I forgot that there are all these “gadgets” you can use in pilates. I remember using the circle back in the day when I was going to Healthworks. Maybe they have better classes there than my current gym. I’m going to have to check it out. For now, I got a mini membership at the Boston Body pilates studio through buywithme and I can’t wait to get more into it. They have reformers too. I have a personal training scheduled for next Monday. So fun!!! :mrgreen:

DINNER

You guys didn’t tell me how amazing rhubarb is!!! That’s another new ingredient for me to cook with – I bought some at the farmers market last week and planned a meal around it. I followed the recipe for superb marinated pork fillet roasted on rhubarb from Jamie Oliver’s Happy Days with the Naked Chef (recipe can be found here).

Of course I had to healthify it a bit. I used ONE tablespoon of oil instead of FIVE (come on Oliver, that’s so unnecessary!). I also used 2 slices of prosciutto per pork chop instead of 5 (does he like the number 5 or something?).

I used the orzo blend from TJ’s to serve this dish over. I made this before pilates but had to run to the class and I was dreaming of it.

And it was even BETTER than I could have imagined. The pork got smoky from the prosciutto juices and the rhubarb was so tender, juicy and sour. I just loved that sourness. Next time I’m going to quadruple the amount of rhubarb. Amazing!!!

The last of sour cream ice cream for dessert.

Have you tried anything new lately?

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