Why Should You Cook Several Dishes at Once?

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

What happens when you have an unexpected meal?

my egg white omelet, and the sneaky buttered toast.
my egg white omelet, and the sneaky buttered toast.
Living on a restricted diet means you need to plan every meal to ensure your avoid the foods and ingredient you need to avoid. What happens though, when an unplanned meal develops?

I faced that situation recently and had to scramble, literally. Coming home from work one recent evening, trains were delayed after they pulled out of my Chicago station. I literally sat on a train for two hours waiting to move, unable get off because we were between stations.

When we finally did get to a station, we were again stopped as tracks ahead were being cleared, so I decided to get off and call my wife to come get me. I was about 20 minutes from home by car at that point.

Looking around where I was on Chicago’s north side, I saw a nearby pancake house and decided to get some dinner while I waited, since it was then nearly 9 p.m.

The pancake house had a large multi-page menu but page after page had things I couldn’t eat, either because they were high in fat, salt, sugar or white flour.

My now go-to pancake house item, whole wheat pancakes, were available but they had nuts in the batter and I don’t eat nuts.

I defaulted to a veggie melt made with egg whites only, an incredibly bland choice that also had cauliflower, something I don’t eat and so had to pick out. I also ordered it without the usual cheese, worried about the fat. I did use some ketchup to give it some taste, which probably had more salt in it than is recommended for me.

Not being able to get an Angus burger, which is what I would have done before my angioplasty, was very depressing.

And to make it even more depressing, some whole wheat toast I asked for came already covered in melted butter, something I couldn’t see until I separated the slices brought me.

Unplanned meals stink.
John

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