I am looking for some dinner menu ideas, I think I am a dunz in the kitchen. I can be a pretty good cook, although I am not a real knowledable one and hope to become more creative. I am just looking for some ideas--like the full menu (some main entree, veggies, any startches). I am cooking for a family of 4 and like many of us juggling a busy schedule. I really hate when 6 pm rolls around and we just start thinking, what's for dinner? I am aiming to plan, shop and have everything ahead! Thanks so much for sharing!
I would love to hear some ideas as well. I am pretty good at planning out meals, and doing all my shopping at once. I go every other week, with a couple of stops for fresh items during the week.
However, I'm in a rut. It seems like we are eating the same thing every week, and it's not necessarily healthy stuff either. Two nights ago I actually made fish. And not the kind that comes in sticks Obviously, I need help in planning healthy meals. Some of our usuals are taco salad, Philly cheese steaks, mac & cheese, etc. None too healthy, but not absolutely horrible.
The dinners are fairly routine at our (hubby & me) house and I've been gently suggesting to him that that may be changing soon, as I feel we need more variety and I have a ton of Cooking Light recipes I haven't tried. The general pattern is: Main dish - salmon, chicken breast, hamburger, pasta, sometimes pork tenderloin or steak (rarely); One veggie - broccoli, asparagus, Brussel sprouts, sometimes spinach or zucchini/yellow squash: One starch - baked "white" potato, baked sweet potato, brown rice, Basmati rice. As you can see, we are in a bit of a rut! The problem is that we don't have time during the week to "make a recipe," we just have time to broil, sautee or steam something. We keep saying we're going to cook for the week on the weekend and use the crockpot more but it hasn't happened yet.
Hope this wasn't too general to be helpful. Good luck finding what works for you and your family.
"The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams."
"If it's a good day, enjoy it. If it's a bad day, learn from it."
A good friend
One thing that I've been doing is going to allrecipies.com and just going through their databases one at a time (appetizers, then bbq, then baked goods, and so on) looking at each dish that sounds interesting and has an okay score to see how I can fit it into my meals. For instance, many of the appetizers make great main dishes, side dishes, or savory desserts. A lot of the barbeque recipies work quite well in the oven, toaster oven, or on an indoor grill.
A lot of items that look too high in calorie at first glance can be made much better with tweaking (bake instead of deep fry, 1/2 the oil or butter, ect), and often a 1/2 portion of a great tasting dish is more than enough so I just pare down the recipe.
It's been a lot of fun! And although I'm eating a lot fewer calories than I used to, I can honestly say that I'm enjoying my food much better now.
The things I believe:
Cal in < Cal out = weight loss
All foods can fit into a healthy diet, some just need to be in smaller portions.
Variety is the spice of life: eat a new dish, play a new game, or go to a new place every week.
Last night I made some wonderful whole wheat calazones. They do take a bit of planning and a bit of time, but I was thinking that once they were done they would freeze well. Also another thing that I make that freezes well are chicken and rice burritos. I make them for one evening and then freeze the rest. Recipe follows.
3 1/2 C Chicken stock (reduced fat, reduced sodium) (divided)
1 1/2 C Salsa (divided)
2 C Brown Rice
2-3 Cloves Garlic
2 Pkg Whole Wheat Tortillas
1 C reduced fat cheddar cheese
Shredded Chicken (I usually crockpot 2 thighs and 2 legs to make even less calories you could crockpot chicken breast, Just put in crockpot with water and let cook all day)
Salt to taste
Put the rice on to boil bring rice, chicken broth (3 C) and salsa (1 C) to boil then place on simmer and cook for about 45 mins.
Meanwhile in frying pan spray pan with non stick cooking spray. saute onions and garlic about 5 mins. When done add chicken and 1/2 C chicken broth and 1/2 C salsa. simmer for 5 mins. After rice is done mix with mixture in frying pan. Place filling in whole wheat tortillas and place in a 9X13 baking pan (this recipe will make 2 pans full) Spread Cheese on top and place aluminum foil over pan and bake at 350 degrees for about 15 mins.
8 servings (2 burritos each)
Calories 300 fat 11 g Carbs 13 g protein 33 g
I make these up and then freeze half for a dinner later in the week they heat up very well. I hope this helps a little.
mini goal 1:
10% body weight
I have a simple dinner formula as well. One meat (pressure cooker is good for that), one or more veggies (steamer is good for that or chop raw veggies), one carby thing (usually rice cooked in rice cooker). Although, one of my focuses right now is to decrease the amount of meat I eat so I am in the process of tweaking my formula.
You can't out-exercise poor eating habits.
Hubby and I LOVE Rachael Ray's cookbooks. They are relatively easy to use, not that I have completed them in the "30 minutes" that she can do them in
They are healthy too! We have found that since we've started using her book, we've been eating more fresh veggies. We have the 365 book, so there's a lot of variety in there.
One of our favorites is the Greek Bread Salad (I think I've got it commited to memory)
~Enough shrimp for whoever will be eating the meal, we do about 20 medium ones for a total of 3 meals, you can substitute grilled chicken. Marinate the shrimp in olive oil and oregano and we usually put in an Emeril's BAM! pack too. Then grill.
~1 English cucumber, sliced in half moon pieces.
~1 fresh onion, diced. If you like more bite to your food use a red onion
~1 garlic clove, minced
~3-4 Freshed tomatoes, diced
~2 handfuls of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
~1 handful of mint leaves, finely chopped
~3 celery ribs, thinly sliced (I've never added this in, neither DH or I like celery)
~Lemon juice from 2 lemons
~Lemon zest from 1 lemon
*Combine the above items to make the salad.
~Pita bread, sliced in half and opened up, grill (don't char) enough to make the pieces crunchy.
~Black olives, if you like them...I don't add em
Serve individually in a bowl. Break pita up and put pieces into the bottom of the bowl. Add salad, then shrimp (or chicken), feta, and olives.
This is one dish we don't mind eating over and over again.
Here's an easy crockpot recipe...Healthy Choice Cream of Chicken Soup, 2 cans (it's the low fat, low sodium Campbell's kind), 4 or 5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, a half can to 3/4 of a can of water, ff shredded cheddar cheese.
Place chicken breasts in the crockpot, salt and pepper if you want, add the cans of cream of chicken soup and water. Cook on low for about 7 hours, stirring occasionally. The chicken will break up, when done sprinkle the ff shredded cheese in the hot mixture and stir. Serve over brown rice. It's really good and makes quite a few servings and ends up being pretty low calorie. Add a veggie and you've got your meal. My kids love this and it was a higher fat recipe (made with 2 cans of regular cream of chicken soup and 1 can of the campbells cheese soup, but they never even noticed the change).
Very quick , easy and yummy...I make this a couple times a week
Cook Whole wheat pasta
Drain it over 3 big handfuls of fresh spinach (to wilt the spinach), toss with cottage cheese and top with a little parmesean. Add roasted red peppers, garlic, turkey sausage, other veggies, ect.
The cottage cheese melts somewhat and makes it all very tasty.
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