Recipes: Health(ier) EASY, quickly made or set up day before.....or just ideas?

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Steve Manzi
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Recipes: Health(ier) EASY, quickly made or set up day before.....or just ideas?

#1 Post by Steve Manzi » April 13th, 2011, 2:19 pm

Since my back surgery, I have lost about 20 pounds due to various reasons I guess. Easting a lot more fruit, munching less, eating smaller portions (not able to finish what I used to), some better choices, cooking a bit smarter etc, and of course actually able to walk and get some decent exercise. Up to about 45 minutes on my best days.

With that said, I would love some ideas/recipes/direction/advice etc for taking one more step to losing more weight, without turning it into something that requires more effort than I am able to give right now. I would like to take baby steps and build from there. The way I am eating now, is a far cry from where I should be, but better than it used to be. I can cook a little, but am not anything special and almost must have a recipe on hand to make anything of substance.

I would like to incorporate dishes that I can make really easily, and fairly quickly, although I am home a lot right now and as long as I can put together parts of the dish the night before or during the day, and then finish it up at meal time, that would be nice. I'm going to start trying to eat more legumes, and would like to try to use things like Kale etc, which I have never liked much. I figured legumes would be a nice way to get them in there and then maybe have a piece of fish or chicken over top of it. Things like that.

Wide open to suggestions. I am still recovering, and have crazy bouts of fatigue, along with the craziest foot pain (bottom of heals and pads where toes hook in) that can be so bad at times, it hurts too much to even stand. Only reason I bring that up here, is to best explain why it is even more important that I find ideas to make things that I can "whip" up even if I am having a bad day. Things that are great leftover, with another protein source would be great too.

Any input would be great. Want to eat better for lots of reasons, but I will jump off a cliff if I gain all that weight back. So better to try to stay on top of this, and I figured this might be a fun way to begin. So many here are great in the kitchen.

Many thanks.
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Re: Recipes: Health(ier) EASY, quickly made or set up day before.....or just ideas?

#2 Post by George Hejna » April 13th, 2011, 2:33 pm

I think you have already started down the right path with your desire to cook. Cook fresh foods, forget anything packaged or in a box. If you are looking to just heat things up around meal time and to be able to cook when you have the energy than I think Sous vide is your best friend. You can take your protein cook it to its desired doneness and throw it in the fridge. Take it out before dinner and throw it on the grill or sear it and you are ready to go. This works for every thing from fish to steak.

GH

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Re: Recipes: Health(ier) EASY, quickly made or set up day before.....or just ideas?

#3 Post by Paul Bacino » April 13th, 2011, 3:45 pm

Google

Weight Watchers Zero Point Soups.. use the freshest products you can find, use your own stock and add some protein. Good place to start for lunch ideas!!

Paul

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Re: Recipes: Health(ier) EASY, quickly made or set up day before.....or just ideas?

#4 Post by Bill Johnstone » April 13th, 2011, 4:24 pm

We have a burrito/Quesadilla recipe that is great and could not be easier. make a "salsa" using Costco organic salsa one can of rinsed black beans and 1 cup frozen corn mix together and keep in a sealed container, buy a roasted chicken De-bone and pull apart the meat put this in a separate container, When you want a quick lunch top a tortilla with cheese, salsa mix and chicken put in the toaster oven for a couple minutes. then enjoy all reasonably healthy depending on the tortilla's.
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Re: Recipes: Health(ier) EASY, quickly made or set up day before.....or just ideas?

#5 Post by becca hunt » April 13th, 2011, 5:36 pm

This is a favorite around here. It's filling and tasty.

Kale, White Bean & Sausage Soup

Serves 4

Ingredients:
1-1/2 teaspoons Olive Oil
1 cup Onions, peeled and chopped
2 cups Leeks, cleaned and sliced into rings (can substitute with extra onion)
1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper, freshly ground
4 cloves Garlic, peeled and minced
4 cups Kale Leaves, washed and chopped
8 ounces Smoked Turkey or Chicken Sausage, cut into small pieces
1/4 cup Fresh Parsley, chopped
1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese, freshly grated
2-1/2 cups White Beans, canned, drained and rinsed (15 ounce can)
4 cups Chicken Stock, low sodium, low fat (homemade is best if you got it)
1/2 teaspoon Salt (adjust to personal taste)

Instructions:
1) Heat olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add onion and leeks and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in pepper, garlic, kale and sausage.
2) Cover, reduce heat, and cook 10 minutes.
3) Add beans and stock. If you have a parmesan rind, put it in to flavor the soup. Cover and cook on a gentle simmer for 20 minutes. Taste and season with salt to taste.
4) Remove the parm rind. Serve topped with grated parmesan cheese and fresh parsley.

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Re: Recipes: Health(ier) EASY, quickly made or set up day before.....or just ideas?

#6 Post by Nancy Dolce » April 13th, 2011, 6:22 pm

Lentil soup or stew is good! I believe we posted about Alton Brown's version from the Food Network a year or two ago. Need a recipe? Want a recipe? Good job so far... [bow.gif]
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Re: Recipes: Health(ier) EASY, quickly made or set up day before.....or just ideas?

#7 Post by Rick Gregory » April 13th, 2011, 7:20 pm

Steve,

what I do for quick healthy meals is some variation on this:

Have frozen veggies around. Many kinds, from a medley of peas, carrots and corn to things that go well with asian food. The idea is to always have veggies that match....

The protein! Chicken is easy, so is pork. If you want to be economical, buy a pork loin roast and cut chops to whatever thickness you like. Likewise, get chicken breasts with bones on and debone them yourself. FREEZE THE BONES... do not toss them. When you have a few (say a gallon freezer bag or so), bring some water to a simmer with the bones in, add some peppercorns and herbs and let it lightly simmer for an evening or on a SUnday. Chill, freeze and you have readymade chicken broth for soups, etc. Oh, another protein that works well are frozen shrimp. The thing to note about all of these is that you can freeze them individually and bring them down as you need them.

Keep spices and other things like pesto, hoisin, etc around. What things you keep depends on what you want to eat, but having some prepared sauces around opens up a lot of possibilities.

With all that out of the way, what I do is this... Saute the protein. Deglaze the pan with some stock or wine and add other things to make a pan sauce.What other things? Mustard and herbs. Chutney. Hoisin and some five spice. Marsala. Pretty much whatever you want, really. Steam the frozen veggies or add them to the sauté and let them cook that way. Toss this over some quinoa, cous cous, etc. For the shrimp, mince some garlic, grab some pesto and stir that into the shrimp when it's almost done (garlic a bit sooner, pesto at the end). Put that over some pasta.

All this is a variation on 'cook protein, make pan sauce, serve with veggies' and if you're inventive and esp if you add seasonal things, you can get 5-10 variations on the theme.

The other thing I like is fresh fish simply done. Give me a nice filet of something fresh, grill, broil or steam with some herbs, add some new red potatoes and a salad.
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Re: Recipes: Health(ier) EASY, quickly made or set up day before.....or just ideas?

#8 Post by Sherri S h a p i r o » April 14th, 2011, 6:49 am

My go-to simple and healthy cooked meal is grilled chicken breasts, roasted zucchini (or whatever fresh veggie you like) and a baked sweet potato. Preparing the veggies and potato couldn't be more simple, basically just go in the oven (I usually toss my sliced zucchini in a little olive oil with some salt and pepper). I usually grill many chicken breasts at one time then refrigerate and use as needed.

Simple stir fries are easy too . . . pick a lean protein you like and cut up some fresh veggies, cook together quickly in a wok or fry pan with some oil and soy sauce (or teriyaki or other Asian inspired bottled sauce). I often make a batch of brown rice and scoop out a half a cup and reheat when I want some throughout the week.

Good luck, Steve.

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Re: Recipes: Health(ier) EASY, quickly made or set up day before.....or just ideas?

#9 Post by Steve Manzi » April 14th, 2011, 7:01 am

I very much appreciate everyone's ideas and ways of doing these things. They all help in their own way and give me some direction that I can incorporate into my eating habits.

Once again, thanks to everyone for taking the time to post on this. [cheers.gif]
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Re: Recipes: Health(ier) EASY, quickly made or set up day before.....or just ideas?

#10 Post by Frank Deis » April 14th, 2011, 8:51 am

This is my big weight loss "secret" -- the trouble with the WW zero point soups is that you get hungry after eating them. Zero points = VERY few calories. I make this Zuppa with one can of Cannelini beans per recipe, and with chicken broth. That way it's about 2 WW "points plus" per serving and really rather filling. If you put a piece of bread or toast in the bowl (as recommended) then that's another point. I use way less beans than the original recipe from castello banfi.

If you have never cooked Swiss Chard you are in for a treat, what flavor! And remember to chop the stems and throw them in with the celery and carrots at the start of the recipe. I also add a dash of hot pepper flakes, a very slight burn makes this soup for me.


Zuppa di Pane (Castello Banfi)

2 or 3 leaves fresh sage
1 or 2 cloves fresh garlic
2 or 3 medium sized onions
8 medium sized carrots
1/2 bunch celery
2 medium zucchini, chopped
250 grams (1/2 lb.) each, cleaned fresh spinach and swiss chard--also optional if in season: 250 grams (1/2 lb.) of cleaned head cabbage
1 liter (2pts.) vegetable broth
1 kg. (2 lb.) dried cannellini beans
800 grams (1-1/2 lb.) fresh or canned peeled tomatoes
extravergine olive oil
1 tablespoon salt, 1 teaspoon black pepper

Soak the cannellini beans overnight. The next day, cook the beans in water to cover, 1/2 tablespoon of the salt, sage and garlic for about one hour.
Coarsely chop the onions, celery, and carrots; fry in abundant olive oil for 10-15 min. Add the zucchini and vegetable broth, cover, and bring to a simmer. Then add swiss chard, spinach, cleaned cabbage if available, tomatoes, and let simmer on a low flame for about an hour. Once the beans are cooked and soft, add them to the soup together with their cooking water, and adjust salt and pepper to taste. At this point the soup should be left to cook over a slow flame for at least another hour, remembering to stir constantly to prevent the soup from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Serve over thin slices of toasted day-old Tuscan-style bread; garnish with fresh onions and extra vergine olive oil. Suggested wine pairing: Centine

Serves 8-10
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Re: Recipes: Health(ier) EASY, quickly made or set up day before.....or just ideas?

#11 Post by Chris Blum » April 14th, 2011, 10:22 am

Grilled fish....

Mahi is a slam dunk on the grill. Very forgiving.

1. Hot, Clean grill
2. Rub fish with olive oil. Season with Greek seasoning, lemon pepper, whatever
3. Brush a bit of oil on the grill with a paper towel
4. Fish on grill skinside up
5. Do NOT touch again til ready to flip. 2-4 minutes maybe, but thickness of fillet determines.
6. Flip it over and finish it skinside down.

Serve with red leaf lettuce tossed in a quick mustard/lemon vinaigrette, and maybe some steamed carrots.

20 minute from start to finish for a hearty, healthy, low fat meal and .....no processed food.
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Re: Recipes: Health(ier) EASY, quickly made or set up day before.....or just ideas?

#12 Post by Brett Johnson » April 14th, 2011, 10:49 am

Lots of great ideas so far!

The tip about frozen veggies is a great one; I always try to keep the freezer stocked with organic veggies. Another staple, is frozen brown or bazmati rice that can be nuked in 3 minutes.

These are always in rotation at my casa.

- stir frys

- pasta with a meat ragu. I make the ragu over the weekend and freeze a few batches of the sauce to use during the week

- gringo tacos. Ground beef ("tallgrass" beef), flour tortillas, garnished with lettuce, chopped tomatoes, kidney beans, guac, salsa fresca, and queso

- grilled chicken breasts, grilled veges, quinoa

- braises in a crockpot. Now that we are entering summer I won't be braising/roasting as much as grilling

- pizza. Made with regular or whole wheat "Boboli" pizza crusts. Top with whatever you have on hand. In a pinch, we use low sodium generic tomato sauce, ground beef, garlic, spinach, part-skim mozzarella

- burgers. Turkey or grass-fed beef, with sauteed shrooms, onions, side of green salad, quinoa, rice, roasted butternut squash (seasoned with pimenton, cumin, brown sugar), etc

- roast chicken. Potatoes, celery, carrots, bell peppers are cooked in the same roasting pan. One pot meals rule!

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Re: Recipes: Health(ier) EASY, quickly made or set up day before.....or just ideas?

#13 Post by Rick Gregory » April 14th, 2011, 10:56 am

I think the key for me is to have a lot of building blocks around... various sauces or condiments, the aforementioned veggies, etc. Oh and one thing I've done a bit of recently is to find markets that hand make their own prepared things... for example one near me does a nice chicken breast stuffed with rice, shrooms and cheese and wrapped in some bacon. They also have marinated flank steak, etc. Yes, I could make all of that myself, but when you're in a hurry or, like Steve, hurting, it's nice to have the prep done and the dish ready to slide in the oven.
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#14 Post by C. Bowman » April 16th, 2011, 9:41 am

Since we get home so late I usually try to keep things like frozen grilled chix breast strips, the company is EatWellStayHealthy, they also have whole chix breasts and keep several frozen vegetables and bags of tri colored bell peppers. I've used the chix for fajitas, pasta or saute them w/the bell peppers, a little onion & garlic, and some steamed veggies on the side. It's about a 10 minute meal, I change the ingredients for fajitas & add a little chili powder. The chx breasts are good for a quick chix parmesan-like, I don't bread them but just a little pasta sauce & skosh of mozarella, steamed veggies, sometimes a little pasta as a side w/roasted garlic & a sprinkle of parmesan, about 20 minutes. I also keep some different smoked trky sausages around that are quick & easy for meals, char broil sausages w/bell peppers onions, bbqued baked beans on side.
I won't suggest Randy's fav of Mac N Cheese w/bacon bits & Kraft singles, not the healthiest but quick.
The lentil stew is a great suggestion
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Re: Recipes: Health(ier) EASY, quickly made or set up day before.....or just ideas?

#15 Post by Brian G r a f s t r o m » April 16th, 2011, 11:27 am

as much as the hedonist in my *hates* the idea of it, I have to admit that I hardly notice a difference in taste when substituting ground turkey for ground beef in applications such as a meat sauce or tacos --- applications where the meat gets heavily seasoned and is a mere part of a dish, rather than the feature.

grilled veggies are awesome: olive oil, pepper, salt = awesome. Works great for fresh grean beans, asparagus, cauliflower, brocoli, zuchini, corn ... lots of things, really.

if you like lots of flavor: jerked chicken breasts. Make sure you use a good WET jerk seasoning (such as the Walkerswood brand). Mix some of the jerk seasoning with some olive oil, and brush onto the chicken breasts. Thrown the chicken on the grill and brush once again on each side while grilling with the olive oil/jerk seasoning mixture. Tons of flavor, and quite healthy.

Boiled tomatoes: if you like tomatoes, a side dish doesn't get much easier than this. Score a small "x" on the bottom of a few roma tomatoes; bring pot of water to a boil; drop the tomatoes in for about 10-20 secs; remove tomatoes and peel skin off (which is made very easy to do by the "x" you previously scored in their bottom ends). Goes great with all kinds of proteins -- I like sprinkling some chopped fresh rosemary, a bit of pepper, and a very small pinch of salt on top. So easy, but so good ... if you like tomatoes.
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#16 Post by C. Bowman » April 16th, 2011, 11:45 am

The other easy sides are to partially cook yams, leave the skin on, slice & then finish them on the charbroiler. I do the same thing with potatoes, partially cook, finish on the grill and sometimes put a little smoked mozarella on them & finish them under the broiler. They don't need anything else.
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Re: Recipes: Health(ier) EASY, quickly made or set up day before.....or just ideas?

#17 Post by Tom.Cole » April 16th, 2011, 11:48 am

Steve, here are a few things to think about from my neck of the woods that I think incorporate your desires for cooking ahead of time, uncomplicated to make, and incorporating more legumes and greens in your diet. One additional benefit is that these dishes taste mighty good. Use of a pressure cooker will significantly cut down preparation time.

Gumbo Z'herbes
Red beans and rice
Jambalaya

Throw in a salad with each of these and you end up with a very good tasting, nutriious meal that is not high in calories. Decent to very good recipes are easily available on the web. One caution. For the Gumbo Z'herbes, find a recipe that is not roux based.

Spinach/kale/Swiss chard/mushroom lasagna is another possibility.

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Re: Recipes: Health(ier) EASY, quickly made or set up day before.....or just ideas?

#18 Post by Steve Manzi » April 18th, 2011, 12:34 pm

Just wanted to poke my head back in and let you know that I tried Becca's recipe. I added far more kale (simply because I bought too much), and used organic turkey sausage that wasn't smoked, so added in some williams sonoma SmokeHouse Rub to get the smokey flavor in. I also used half fresh beans and half canned, and also some white wine. I forgot to put in the parm rind, but it came out delicious. Hard to believe that there is SO little fat, except for the cheese and a little olive oil.

Also, last week I cooked up some fresh black beans, added in some rosemary, thyme, olive oil, salt pepper, some frozen corn (warmed up of course) and a small can of mexican chilis, and used that mixture for 3 days. Once with a piece of salmon over top of it. And then once with just some avocado cut up with a little lemon added in, over some brown rice (and that was all we ate, and I could not finish it). So I ate up the avocado and saved the rest and had it with some eggs the next morning.

Some really tasty stuff and ridiculously easy to put the black beans together. The other one took some times simply because I had to go to a few places to get what I needed.

Thanks for the ideas. I'll use more as I get myself going on some of them.

becca hunt wrote:This is a favorite around here. It's filling and tasty.

Kale, White Bean & Sausage Soup

Serves 4

Ingredients:
1-1/2 teaspoons Olive Oil
1 cup Onions, peeled and chopped
2 cups Leeks, cleaned and sliced into rings (can substitute with extra onion)
1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper, freshly ground
4 cloves Garlic, peeled and minced
4 cups Kale Leaves, washed and chopped
8 ounces Smoked Turkey or Chicken Sausage, cut into small pieces
1/4 cup Fresh Parsley, chopped
1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese, freshly grated
2-1/2 cups White Beans, canned, drained and rinsed (15 ounce can)
4 cups Chicken Stock, low sodium, low fat (homemade is best if you got it)
1/2 teaspoon Salt (adjust to personal taste)

Instructions:
1) Heat olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add onion and leeks and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in pepper, garlic, kale and sausage.
2) Cover, reduce heat, and cook 10 minutes.
3) Add beans and stock. If you have a parmesan rind, put it in to flavor the soup. Cover and cook on a gentle simmer for 20 minutes. Taste and season with salt to taste.
4) Remove the parm rind. Serve topped with grated parmesan cheese and fresh parsley.
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Re: Recipes: Health(ier) EASY, quickly made or set up day before.....or just ideas?

#19 Post by Jay Miller » April 25th, 2011, 6:44 am

Things that have helped in my dieting:

Roasted vegetables - it's easy to roast asparagus, cauliflower, peppers, etc. and it really brings out a lot of flavor. Optional extras of minced garlic, shallots, toasted sesame seeds, etc.

I also keep bags of frozen vegetables as a way to quickly make a meal or pasta dish both healthier and more filling.

For when you're really in too much pain or too much of a hurry to do any prep work some of the Progresso Light soups are pretty good. I find the Chicken and Dumpling satisfying.

Lassi made with non or low fat yogurt is a good source for both protein and fruit. I keep various frozen fruits in the freezer in case I have nothing fresh on hand and of course a bottle of rosewater in the fridge.

At the moment the drug my neurologist prescribed for my back pain/herniated disk is acting as an appetite suppressant (luckily I avoided the more common side effect of nausea) but I don't really recommend that as a preferred solution :).

Try to think of bread, rice and potatoes as condiments rather than a base. When I go out for chinese food these days I immediately push most of the rice off to one side. I want the flavor but too many simple carbs are an enemy. A small amount is a friend as it keeps you from feeling deprived. Along the same lines the Arnold Bread Sandwhich Thins are the closest thing I've come to a satisfying lower calorie bread. Avoid at all costs Weight Watchers bread which makes styrofoam seem like a tasty alternative.
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#20 Post by Benjamin Sullivan DNA » September 6th, 2011, 7:27 pm

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Re: Recipes: Health(ier) EASY, quickly made or set up day before.....or just ideas?

#21 Post by Michael Sopher » September 7th, 2011, 11:41 am

This one reheats well, sticks to the ribs and if you have beans and a grain together you have complete protien.

Soup - Tuscan White Bean & Spinach
Ingredients
o 2 teaspoons olive oil
o 1 garlic cloves, finely minced
o 1 shallots, finely diced
o 3 -4 cups fat free chicken broth or 3 -4 cups vegetable stock
o 1 (14 1/2 ounce) cans diced tomatoes
o 1 (14 1/2 ounce) cans white beans ( cannellini or other)
o 1/2 cup whole wheat pasta shells or 1/2 cup shell pasta
o 1 teaspoon rosemary
o 3 cups baby spinach, cleaned and trimmed (or frozen)
o 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
o 1 dash crushed red pepper flakes
Directions
1. In a large sauce pan, sauté the shallots & garlic in the olive oil.
2. Add broth, tomatoes, beans and rosemary to pot. Season with black and red pepper. Bring to boil.
3. Add pasta and cook 12 minutes. If the soup seems too thick for your liking add a bit more broth.
4. Add spinach and cook until wilted or use frozen and cook until hot

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Re: Recipes: Health(ier) EASY, quickly made or set up day before.....or just ideas?

#22 Post by Craig B » September 7th, 2011, 12:54 pm

this was in food & wine a couple of years ago. Just made it over the weekend, loads of veggies and very lean protein.

http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/pork ... tillo-stew
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#23 Post by Jay Miller » September 7th, 2011, 1:08 pm

I don't know if you have a sous vide machine, but if you do it's currently my favorite way to prep chicken breasts. Just toss a bone in breast in a bag with some fresh herbs at the recommended temp and eat it it the next night. Or the night after that.
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Re: Recipes: Health(ier) EASY, quickly made or set up day before.....or just ideas?

#24 Post by Anton D » June 14th, 2019, 9:55 pm

Jolly Green Giant frozen broccoli with cheese sauce.

Jolly Green Giant frozen Brussels Sprouts in sauce.

Both low cal and put them on a baked potato. You can pre-bake your potatoes and keep them in the fridge. Then slice one in half and warm it as you make the vegetables.

Trader Joe’s pre-prepared Fava beans and lentils are awesome. So are their ready to eat beats.
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