Saturday, September 23, 2006

My least favorite daily question...

What's for dinner?!?!?!?

I will confess, I'm in a food slump. This scares me for one major reason... if I get sick of the good foods I am eating repeatedly I may slip back into some older, not so healthy dishes and I REALLY DON'T WANT TO DO THAT!!!!

Honestly, it is like torture trying to get a suggestion from Marco. I guess he's in the same boat I am though. Neither of us are very adventurous cooks. We're short on time, tight on money and lacking in the "knowledge of food" category. My friend Keith and Josh are constantly coming up with new dishes and recipes they try and like, but for me it seems impossible.

I'll confess something else... I cooked with garlic for the first time in my life this week. Real actual live (or is it dead?) garlic. I have always been a garlic powder or garlic salt person (I can almost hear the gasps from all you Betty Crockers out there.) and never really new how to cook with garlic. I like garlic it just always seemed so intimidating with the big bulb and all that peeling and then all those little sections and stuff. So now I know how to peel it, but how do I use it? So far I have smashed it and thrown it in my hot oil before my other veggies in my stir fry but other than that, what's it good for? How do you use it?

I also just started eating chicken since turning my life around on this journey. I cook it one way... with salt, pepper, rubbed with olive oil and thrown in a pan. I know there are a million and one websites with recipes but the ones I chose tend to want you to spend 2 hours prep time and another hour or so to cook. I guess I could serve dinner in bed considering that's where we'd be by time it got done.

Or better yet, in many of the recipes I find they want you to use roots from a tree than can be found and dug up only when the Easter moon rises over the northmost point of the Nile river on a Wednesday..but only if it's snowed in Jamaica. Some of these things I've never heard of much less can find at the store.

So this is what I've been eating for the most part.

a slimfast shake or
a cheese quesadilla (flour tortilla, slice of cheese, toss in microwave for 45 seconds) or
grapes with a half of a cheese sandwich or
yogurt and fruit

Lunch: (the Dutch lunch never varies.... EVER! They live on bread, deli meats, peanut butter and veggies for lunch)
Black bread with ham and cheese. Tomato and cucumber slices.
Occasionally they will have lettuce available for us... then I make a salad with ham and cheese.

Suppers consist of:
Meat (lean steak, chicken... both cooked as I mentioned above or I will have fish and Marco will eat steak)
Veggie (sometimes I get fancy and sautee a wok full of fresh veggies which is very nice, otherwise we have peas and carrots or green beans. I tried cooking fresh asparagus once... it wasn't pretty. Once in a while we will have a salad.)
Starch (baked potato, mashed potato, white rice with cajun seasoning...that's it... no variations.)

And that's it! Thats what we eat... constantly.

Once in a while we go to Marco's parent's house for dinner where we have some kind of beef, boiled potatoes and a veg. Sometimes we order out and I get soup and he gets pizza. Watch out when we go to a real restaurant!!!! It's.... steak, potato and veg for us! It's almost comical.

Most recently I found a sweet and sour chicken sauce and have made that twice. Thats twice in one week. Last week actually. It won't be long before we're sick of that too.

But otherwise it's the same old same old. I dread getting home from work and having to think "what should we have for dinner tonight."

I am lucky in the fact that I have an array of grocery stores around me and I should be able to find most products somewhere or another. Yes I may have to think days in advance and go to 3 different store, but darn it sometimes ya gotta do stuff you don't feel like doing for the cause! Yeah... for the cause! (I've always wanted to have my own cause!)

So if you have a good healthy recipe that you've tried and tested and want to share, please post it here. If you have any good cooking tips (think back to my garlic comment) to share...please post it here! If you are in a food slump and just want to vent about it... post it here! If you just want to point your finger and laugh at my lack of food skills... post it somewhere else, I'm busy trying to figure out that dreaded question. WHAT'S FOR DINNER?


for Joke! said...

Ok here are some ideas!

Breakfast: put a scoop of low fat yoghurt (or no fat!), half a banana per person (so make for you and your DH and throw in a whole one), a squirt of honey, and a handful of any other fruit (I prefer a berry like strawberries - they are in season right now!) and blend it all together!! Sooo good. You can add a tablespoon or two of oatmeal flakes (havervlokken) for bulk and a spoon of flax seeds (lijnzaad) for nutrition if you are into it.

For lunch, try making a big salad at home, or try making vegetable soups that you bring to work. I also like putting my sandwich stuff on a TORTILLA instead of bread - more veggies less starch that way. Good on you to eat cukes and tomatoes, that is really good! I like cottage cheese (huttenkase at AH) with those two veggies.

For dinner, switch all teh white rice to brown rice at the very least. Whole wheat pastas instead of white pastas. No potatoes really... Try going to the "Natuurwinkel" and buy any number of things like quinoa, barley, bulgur, spelt - those are good whole grain starches. Cook them in veggie or chicken broth instead of water, it will make them extra tasty.

The chicken doesn't have to be hard. Try for example, poaching it in chicken stock (simmering it in water + chicken stock instead of putting oil on it in a pan) - it will be moist and lowfat. Or when you are cooking it in the pan, use a quarter of the olive oil you usually do, and throw a can of chopped tomatoes in juice over it. Cover with a lid and simmer, then uncover it and simmer - you'll end up with a yummy thick red sauce.

Any fish is good with just a LITTLE olive oil, salt and pepper, and then under the broiler in the oven. Always squirt lemon juice over it before you serve. Toss chopped parsley on top for greens!

My fave dessert when I am watching what I eat is this: buy Drost cocoa powder (has no sugar no fat). Heat up a cup of skim milk with cocoa powder, and a little artificial sweetener (or honey if you don't like artificial), and just a drop of vanilla extract, and make yourself some yummy hot cocoa! Or rooibos tea is so good after dinner and makes you feellike you are rounding off the meal.

Keep up the good work, Sarah!!!

Cooking is fun - you will have endless possibilities!

Sara said...

sarah, check out the "new moosewood cookbook", its a lower fat version of the old one and has all kind of great interesting recipes, things that are really easy to make. you can get a copy on amazon really cheap

serenity said...

A good dinner recipe - combine a can of diced tomatoes (or use 8oz of cut up fresh tomatoes - with the juice) and two chicken breast and diced garlic (you can use garlic powder too). Bake in the oven at 375 for 25-30 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.

Serve it over spinach (I make the fozen kind) and pasta.

And for joke! is right - try and replace your potato and white rice starches with whole grain/brown rice - it's less processed so it's healthier.

Anonymous said...

For Chicken, I like Chicken Cacciatore

2 to 4 skinless/boneless chix breast

1 large white onion (halved and then quartered)

1 large green pepper or red pepper cut into large chunks

1 can of diced tomatoes or tomato sauce

1 tbsp canola oil

Heat oil in large pot

brown the chicken, set aside once all sides have been seared.

sautee onions and peppers in same pot

add a little white wine (if desired)
add chicken

add tomatoes

simmer on low for 45 mins to 1 hour

serve over white rice or pasta (or a salad, since I try to avoid carbs at night)

Anonymous said...

BBQ Chicken

salt and pepper chicken, drench with bbq sauce (about 1/2 cup)

put 1/2 cup BBQ and 1/2 cup white wine in a pan, place Chicken Breasts on top, add chopped onions, 1 clove of garlic(peeled) and some green peppers

cook in oven at 350 for about 20-30 minute (boneless) 45 mins (with bone)

serve with corn and potatoes

Monica said...

Hi Sarah- Ask on the other board too for some easy recipes- I know I have a bunch and will type them out for you tomorrow. I am the queen of not wanting to spend more than tirty minutes in the kitchen in the evening!!! - Monica