Why Should You Cook Several Dishes at Once?

That’s why I recommend cooking several main courses at once, perhaps on a Saturday or Sunday when you may have more time to prepare. Then you can simply reheat these items and make some quick veggie side dishes during the week.

As you likely know, the biggest change you face when you get put on a restricted diet is that buying prepared or processed foods of any kind becomes nearly impossible because of the amounts of sodium, sugar and fat in them. You are forced to cook for yourself, learning if you haven’t cooked before or relearning if you had cooked but used the big three of forbidden foods that you can no longer eat.

I’ve been a cook all my adult life but have been relearning and refining old recipes to get the salt, sugar and fat out, as I write about here. I pretty much make everything from scratch now and after eight months of doing it, have a fairly good rotation of nightly dinner dishes which I make for my wife and I. But cooking from scratch every night is time consuming, and tiring after long, long days at work.

That’s why I recommend cooking several main courses at once, perhaps on a Saturday or Sunday when you may have more time to prepare. Then you can simply reheat these items and make some quick veggie side dishes during the week. I did that with the items in the picture you see here.

Cooking three, or more, meals at once.
Cooking three, or more, meals at once.

The center item is my latest take on a pizza I can eat. It’s made with a whole wheat prepared crust from Whole Foods, salt-free tomato sauce and fat-free mozzarella cheese I get from a local supermarket, along with peppers, low-salt black olives, and mushrooms.

To the right of the pizza is my turkey meatloaf, which includes two pounds of lean and very lean ground turkey combined with low-salt Panko bread crumbs and Eggbeaters (equal to one egg). A meatloaf that size is at least two meals for my wife and I, and easy ones to quickly heat during the week.

To the left are portobello mushroom caps covered in salt-free tomato sauce, no-fat cheese and peppers. I originally cooked these as a main course but we ended up having them as a side dish. Simply bake those at 350 degrees for about 20-30 minutes depending on your oven.
John

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A Simple Side Dish: Peas and Onions

They aren’t quite my mother’s yet, but I’m getting closer. I think adding some garlic next time will help as well.

One of my favorite side dishes when I was growing up was peas and onions, something my mother made quite regularly. I tried making it when I was first out of college but could never get it to taste like my mother’s (no surprise there I suppose).

Given my new diet, which is supposed to be heavy on usually boring-tasting vegetables, I decided to give it another shot. This time, rather than just boil peas and slices of onion, I first coated the bottom of the pan with a fat-free cooking spray product (PAM or a store brand version) with a small amount of olive oil and then fried my onion slices in that pan until they were translucent.

Peas and onions; mine looked a little better than these.
Peas and onions; mine looked a little better than these.

This heightened the flavor of the onions. I then tossed in frozen peas but didn’t add more water, assuming the moisture as the peas defrosted and heated would be enough and so keep the whole thing from getting soggy. I think it all worked out well.

They aren’t quite my mother’s yet, but I’m getting closer. I think adding some garlic next time will help as well. My wife isn’t an onion fan so she didn’t eat this dish but I feel like anything I can do to add some flavor depth to peas, which I consider the most bland of vegetables, has to help.
John

Can You Ever Make a Quick, Healthy Meal?

One of the biggest frustrations for me now that I’m on a low-salt, low-sugar, low-fat diet is that I pretty much have to cook everything from scratch to avoid those three food demons I’m not supposed to eat.

One of the biggest frustrations for me now that I’m on a low-salt, low-sugar, low-fat diet is that I pretty much have to cook everything from scratch to avoid those three food demons I’m not supposed to eat.

That means coming home tired from work only to face an hour of cooking every night. I love to cook but not every night. I used to have go-to quickie meals like frozen pizza or quick hamburgers or grabbing some hot dogs on the way home. Those all are no-gos these days.

A simple tilapia dinner
A simple tilapia dinner

I have found some quick substitutes though. One of my favorite is tilapia fillets made in lemon juice with a side of broccoli or beans. Frozen tilapia is common in major supermarkets these days, I buy a bag of eight frozen four-ounce fillets. They defrost quickly in the microwave and cook on the stove in the lemon juice almost as quickly. Pop some frozen broccoli or frozen string beans in the micro too and you have a relatively quick, relatively healthy meal in about 15 minutes. Continue reading “Can You Ever Make a Quick, Healthy Meal?”

How Many Ways Can You Prepare White Meat Chicken?

A skinless chicken breast is about 142 calories, according to Lose It! Plain tomato sauce is a negligible amount of calories.

Chicken legs and thighs have been my favorite parts of the chicken. I’ve been taking the skin off for years to save on fat intake. Now, after the new diet I’ve been ordered on since my angioplasty, the legs are out completely as well and I’m left to find creative ways to make normally dry breast meat taste like something.chickgravy

The only dish I’ve cooked in the past with chicken breast was a low-fat version of chicken Parmigiano in which I did not bread the chicken breasts and I used low-fat cheese. Now all cheese is out of my diet, so I’ve modified the dish again to simply chicken breasts baked in my own home-made tomato sauce.

Continue reading “How Many Ways Can You Prepare White Meat Chicken?”