Dinner's last week - Week starting 1st February
1st February - start of FebFast, healthy eating and all those other good resolutions I put on the back burner during the louche days of summer...
Well what is there to say about this week - other than - pork! Yep, once again I am berating myself for not freezing it into smaller portions, whilst at the same time loving the small packets I did freeze. My whole 'detox' Feb was meant to start this week. Normally this is pretty easy, but you can see from the meals above the results were a little mixed.
- Total number of serves of vegetables - 25
- % of desired intake- 51%
- Number of different types of fruit, vegetables, nuts and grains eaten - 15
Some thoughts about my meals last this week:
- I wish I didn't know how much brown sugar went into my favourite salad dressing - this transforms red cabbage salad
- I wish the world hadn't 'progressed' to having labels on whole foods, e.g why does my avocado need a sticky label on it.
- Frozen peas and frozen quinoa (or rice or pasta), along with access to a can of chopped tomatoes are dinner sanity savers
Freezer meals save the day
One Pan | 2 serves vegetables | 15 minutes
What can I say - what was meant to be a momentus start to 'healthy-eating' February didn't exactly get off to a roaring start.
It was saved by me having frozen small packets of pork ragu (yep - I think it will be about July before I stop having to use that as base for meals) and quinoa, and finally had stocked my freezer with frozen peas.
I know some people really recoil from having meals in the freezer - either because they don't like the concept of reheating, or they can't be bothered with the effort - but for me, the once off effort, that enables you to prepare a relatively healthy meal, with little effort is priceless. There was definitely nothing that exciting or interesting about this meal, but it still ticked quite a few boxes for me - wholesome, nutritious, home-cooked, easy, quick, economical.
Healthy lush comfort food - and some colour! - - partly because of remembering I had home made aioli in the freezer - v. lush!
Two pans | 9 serves vegetables | 45 minutes (includes roasting time)
Mmmm - well you can see the problems with sticking to health February continued - the words 'lush' and 'comfort food' are peppering my descriptions - when they should be 'clean' 'wholefood' 'salad' etc ...
This was actually a pretty healthy meal. It was the aioli (home made and left over from last week's dinner party) that added the lush part to it.
I've written about why I love roasting before. It makes a fabulous meal, but is so easy.
Plus, more than anything I couldn't face anything 'red'! I had also been to the farmers market that morning and the beetroot and parsnips smelled great. I also had some baby potatoes leftover from last week's dinner party, so it was a great way to use them up. I don't normally eat potatoes - did you know that they don't count as a vegetable - but rather are counted as a carbohydrate like rice or pasta!! I also had TONS of kale to use up, that somehow hadn't made its way into quite as many green juices as my good intentions had intended!
I also remembered I had walnuts and fresh parsley as well as frozen peas, so added them to the mix. Guiltily I didn't add the red capscicum as I didn't think it would match.
Back to the reds! Pork ragu with Zucchini spirals. And getting rid of capsicum guilt
One pan | 3 serves vegetables | 20 minutes - but most of that is the sauce cooking.
I couldn't ignore the red capsicum any longer, and had to use up the remainder of the pork fillet, so I added some onion and a can of tomatoes to a pan, added the pork to it and simmered for awhile so I could shred it and it would become a ragu. Then made some zucchini spirals and voila! In light of 'healthy Feb.' i even managed to avoid putting any cheese on top.
More colour! Equal favourite meal of the week
Two pans | 2 serves vegetables | 20 mins
Well it's a little hard to believe, but this motley assortment of ingredients turned into my favourite meal of the week.
Unfortunately I was faced more of the defrosted pork I had to eat; I was also being made to feel very guilty about a red capscium that was staring at me guiltily in the fridge. I adore red capsicum, and it was on sale, but it has sat unloved in my fridge for nearly a week and is on the point of turning, but I just couldn't face another 'red' meal. Despite Tuesday's meal I am still haunted by all the red / tomato-based meals I ate the previous week. Plus the other vegetable that was taunting me from death row was the remainder of the red cabbage from last week.
The conundrum here is that this is meant to be my sugar-free / healthy month - EXCEPT I remembered I had leftover dressing from last week's dinner party. The dressing that turns a really nice red cabbage salad into a stupendous one - BUT has about 6 tablespoons of brown sugar in it ....
Food lust trumped good intentions!
I am pretty sure I 'found' a few other ingredients, e.g. walnuts and cranberries to add to the salad. It was really yummy - and shows what can be done with a bit of imagination (and dressing!)
Tips, tricks, hacks and making this meal your own
- Don't have quinoa - use rice or pasta
- No red cabbage, use spinach, kale, rocket or cabbage
- No walnuts, add a toasted nut of your choice
- Don't want to heat anything - have it as a cold salad
- No dressing - take the high road and stick to avocado for the fun factor
Putting it altogether
The most exciting part was discovering part way through preparation that I had dried cranberries in the cupboard. All of a sudden I was waaaay more excited about the meal. The colour and sweetness just seemed to give everything a lift.
Dinner always seems more exciting when the ingredients look attractive and inviting
See blog post about how to put this together and the recipe
More colour! Equal favourite meal of the week
One pan| 3 serves vegetables | 15 minutes
This evening I had an absolute craving for the Chicken and Corn soup by Anneka Manning that I have made before, however I couldn't find the recipe. So made up a new version! It ticked the boxes of being very healthy, simple and quick, but to be honest it could have done with a bit more flavour. However, a great go-to, easy meal for a Friday.
Upping your vegetable quota
If you wanted to get more greens or vegetables into your week, it would have been easy to add asparagus and spinach to this soup.
A weekend away, dinner with friends and a trip to Patonga for stand up paddling
Leftover chicken and corn soup.
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Links you might be interested in
Next week's menu plan
Recipe for Anneka' Manning's chicken and corn soup, modified for one
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