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Old 06-28-2005, 12:10 PM   #1  
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Default Healthy eating for those who hate to cook

My earlier post got me thinking. I think the people who had an easier time changing their eating habits might be the ones who enjoy being in the kitchen. Whipping up tasty meals that are good for you might actually be fun. Me? No way in h*ll! I hate to cook.. My parents bought me a $300 stand mixer for christmas about 4 years ago and it has never been used! And we all know that most convenience foods are not good for us. Lately I have been eating a lot of salads (pre washed bagged kind!) and grabbing good stuff like grapes, apples and cherries. But as far as healthy meals go, I would perish if not for Boca burgers and Turkey sandwiches.

What oh what is a girl to do?
Oh yeah, I am also trying to closely monitor my sodium intake so mostly ALL of the so called "diet" entree's are out.
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Old 06-28-2005, 12:33 PM   #2  
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I'm with you on this, except when mom comes home from work she occasionally will have dinner ready (lucky me!) too bad I'm going back to school in August, no more home cooked meals. When I have to make something for myself it usually consists of some fake meat. I LOVE Morningstar farms, they have vegetarian sausage links, sausage patties, bacon, corndogs, chick patties, chick nuggets, honey mustard chick nuggets, crumbled meat. and it's all delicious! NO clue about the sodium intake in all of this stuff, but if you like the Boca products (I personally can't stand Boca stuff and prefer Morningstar farms). You may also want to purchase a George Foreman grill, as a vegetarian I don't have experience with it, but my mom will come home and throw a chicken breast on there for 10 minutes or so and ta da it's done. I know you can do fish on the grill too. If you're not going to cook veggies at all costs, you may want to look into canned veggies (not sure of the sodium in those either) so you can at least get your veggies in. It's also not too hard to scramble up some eggs or make an omelet.

Hope this helps some...
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Old 06-29-2005, 01:01 AM   #3  
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Subway. I finally got so sick of Subway, I forced myself to start cooking.
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Old 06-29-2005, 07:00 AM   #4  
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I am certainly not a big fan of cooking, either. I am also watching my sodium, so I agree that most prepared foods are not an option (even Healthy Choice and Lean Cuisine meals have a TON of sodium!). What I do is suck it up and cook one day a week. Yup, once a week. I make big batches of stuff and put them into individual servings in Gladware containers (I have TONS of them!), then just toss in the fridge or freezer to grab and reheat for meals during the week. I have done this with pasta (whole wheat, of course, with low-sodium sauce), stir fry (chicken, brown rice, veggies, pineapple, and teriyaki sauce), chicken and rice--I even make things like fruit salad and sandwiches in advance because I hate having to be in the kitchen to make even simple stuff. If I do have to go out or eat on the run, I also try Subway. It is probably a bit high in sodium, but I don't have it every day, so I don't worry about it too much.
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Old 06-29-2005, 08:21 AM   #5  
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:wave try goung on a cooking kick on the weekends and freeze them individually and you have meals ready for the week. i am not much a cook either. i am single and buying fresh veggies is hard because they come in large quanties. glen
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Old 06-29-2005, 08:43 AM   #6  
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You can cook a lot of healthy meals with minimal effort. I like to cook, but I am always tired during the week. I never spend more than half an hour cooking dinner during the week. OTOH, I eat lots of pasta and rice, which are really time-savers in the kitchen, and a lot of people around here are cutting carbs.

Here are a couple of my quick and easy meals:
1 - pasta w/sauce. Cook up some pasta (whole grain if you like), and while you're doing that, open a container of pre-cut mushrooms, dump them in a frying pan, cook them up, pour in some canned pasta sauce, dump in half a bag of frozen mixed veggies. Open up a bag of salad mix, dump into a bowl, and serve with the pasta with veggie sauce.

2 - salmon! Preheat oven to 425, take a salmon fillet, sprinkle a couple drops of low-sodium soy sauce on it and rub in, sprinkle it with lemon pepper and rub in, put in oven for 20 minutes or until done. Meanwhile, prepare some sort of vegetable (I usually boil some broccoli or green beans, but you can just open a bag of frozen veggies and microwave them) to go on the side. I usually make a pot of rice too. There's a dinner!

Anyway, it's possible to make quick meals. But if you're looking for something quicker than half an hour, it's harder. I'd try what the other people are suggesting -- cook a huge amount once a week, then parcel it out!
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Old 06-29-2005, 08:47 AM   #7  
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Originally Posted by haleys
You may also want to purchase a George Foreman grill, as a vegetarian I don't have experience with it, but my mom will come home and throw a chicken breast on there for 10 minutes or so and ta da it's done.
This is what saved me!!! It is faster than throwing a Stouffer's lasagna in the microwave, which is what I did before. I use it like 3 times a day for turkey burgers, chicken breast and pork.The great thing about chicken breast is it is so cheap and versatile. I use spices, bbq sauce, honey, or buffalo sauce so I don't get bored. The fat(which is almost nothing to begin with) just drips right out. I also make batches of brown rice, so I can just nuke it later. Other than that I eat a lot of eggs, cottage cheese, cereal, tuna, anything that is fast.
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Old 06-29-2005, 04:24 PM   #8  
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I have a 4 hour RT commute during the week, so I'm the queen of quick weekday dinners. With the precooked shrimp we keep on hand in the freezer (yay Costco) I can make shrimp fahitas (with ww tortillas, spinach, mushrooms, lowfat sour cream & salsa) in about 15 minutes flat, including defrosting the shrimp.

A well stocked pantry (including the freezer) makes quick healthy cooking a lot easier. Our staples during the week are fahitas and wraps, pastas, salads, stirfries & turkey burgers.
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Old 07-01-2005, 09:58 AM   #9  
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I enjoy broiled veggies when I eat out, but am clueless on how to prepare them at home. The things that I enjoy when I prepare them myself are things that take longer. I would love to try salmon, but don't even know how to go about selecting a good one at the grocer.
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Old 07-01-2005, 10:56 AM   #10  
Eating for two!
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I'm with you, princess. I have purchased fish because I know it's good for you, and I like it sometimes when I eat out, but I haven't a clue how to prepare it at home, so it's just been hangin' out it my freezer
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Old 07-01-2005, 11:23 AM   #11  
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I am not a fish fan but I have found a few recipes for milder fish varieties (mahi mahi, orange roughy, tilapia) that are really fast.

My current favorite is mixing lemon juice, a bit of melted butter (or olive oil if you prefer). Pour this over the fish and stick it under the broiler for 5 minutes or so - until the fish flakes easily. Sprinkle with about a tablespoon of breadcrumbs that you've mixed with a bit of the butter mixture and some parsely. Put it back under the broiler until the breadcrumbs turn a light brown. Less than 10 minutes from start to finish. I usually serve it with wild rice an broccoli but the flavor is so mild that any of your favorite sides will do.

Also,never underestimate the power of a marinade. You can do them ahead of time and really change up the flavors but still enjoy minimum perparation and cook time.

A great marinade for shrimp or fish is a 1/4 cup each of lemon juice and olive oil, 1 teaspoon for minced garlic and a good sprinkle of dried parsely. Let the fish or shrimp marinade for about half an hour then throw it on the grill (GF grill works great for this). Again, only a few mintues prep time and your done. And the half hour marinade time gives me a chance to throw in a load of laundry, check messages, etc. Nothing like multi-tasking to save time!

For a different but still mild flavor I use a mixture of teryaki sauce, honey, garlic, and ginger. You can use this as a marinade for chicken, mild fish, beef, or pork. It is best grilled - George Foreman to the rescue once again!

After a little trial and error I finally figured out that healthier cooking doesn't have to be a hassle. It just takes a little forethought. Once you get a handful of favorites into your menu rotation you are good to go.
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Old 07-01-2005, 01:38 PM   #12  
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When buying salmon, just make sure it's a healthy... err... salmon pink/red color! Anyway, Here's an easy way to prepare it. In the spice section of grocery stores, you'll find something called Carribbean Jerk Rub (mccormick's). Wash the fish. Rub the carribbean stuff into the fish (flesh side, of course). Let it sit for 30 minutes or so. Brush it with olive oil and spray your baking dish with Pam or whatever and put the fish in there, flesh side up, covering the pan loosely with foil. Oven cook it at 375 for between 40 and 60 minutes- depending on the size o' course- and it's done when it flakes easily. When you serve it, squeeze some lemon juice or orange juice on it if you have some. You can put that rub stuff on chicken and pork as well.

Serve some steamed veggies with it, like carrots, broccoli, califlower, or a mix of all 3. Hey, steaming is also super easy. Get one of those cheap metal colanders from Wal-Mart or wherever, put your veggies in there. Put the colander in a pot big enough for it to fit inside, and pour enough water in where it touches the bottom of the colander. Cover it and put it on high heat until it boils, then reduce the heat to medium. Check the veggies after 10 minutes and pull them out when you get them to the point that you like.

This is all super easy, not expensive (I get a big old slab of salmon for under 5 bucks at wal-mart and veggies for a couple bucks) and makes a pretty plate, instead of a boring one. Boring food at home= running out for fast food, and we don't want that.
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Old 08-01-2005, 12:02 PM   #13  
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Great suggestions. I am a guy and I really enjoy cooking. I will agree with all of the above suggestions. Tilapia is also one of the low mercury fish so that is extra good. I have bought the Rachel Ray 30minute cookbooks but have yet to make them.

Great suggestions about the pasta. A lot of places now carry whole wheat (it does cost a lot more). Be careful though. I bought a 'whole wheat blend' pasta so I think it is not 100% whole wheat. Caveat emptor.

One thing people forget is that although fresh vegtables are best, frozen and canned are still good. Also think about this, frozen vegtables are the best deal out there. Why? Manufactuers can use bits and pieces and stuff left over from fresh. It does not have the be a whole good looking zuchinnci or squash. Most frozen vegetables are under $2.00 a POUND. And then look at the ingredients, most are a lot more than $2.00 a pound.

Cooking does not at all have to be hard. In fact the cooking part is a breeze. Cleaning up is a lot more work.

Oh yeah one more suggestion. Buy good knives. The trick here is you do not have to buy a whole set. Me and my wife got a Henckles professional S chef knife with a wedding gift certificate. I then bought a 4 star utiltiy knife from them. The chef knife is about $70 and the utility knife is $40. Lot of money right? Yes it is. But think about years of cutting everything like a dream. No brainer. Just a few meals not going out and they are paid for. It is very tempting to get the $50 knife set with 12 knives. Those can be good for odds and ends, I am pretty happy with the Ronco knife set we got since it has so many utility knives. But 2 or 3 great knives. Cooking goes that much easier.
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