Pre-fast Dinner

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Tonight, I fast.  Not because I’m detoxing, or going on some crazy diet, or have actually gone crazy myself, but because I have to have bloodwork done tomorrow morning.  Which unfortunately means fasting.  J joked that he was staying away from me for the night, since he knows that I get…testy…when I don’t eat.  So, in an effort to not bite his head off (since I can’t bite into an ice cream cone), I decided to make a nice dinner to last me for the night.  Because, you know, it would be a travesty if I go too long without food.

I decided on this baked chicken parmesan because the only thing I had to buy was pasta sauce.  This was SO EASY.  I used Meijer organic tomato basil pasta sauce, and J made gnocci with butter and salt (healthy, right?) on the side.  Super easy, super good, super full.

Spinach is Healthy, Right?

And now for something completely different.  Well, not really.  Obviously, I’m interested in eating healthy food.  I feel better and have more energy when I’m not eating pizza/take-out/junk food all the time.  But I don’t want to cook strictly “health” food.  Life’s too short to not eat delicious food, which is why there are cupcakes (that I made!) in my banner picture.  And why I’m posting on spinach dip bread bowls.

These things are so delicious.  And so ridiculously easy.  The most annoying part (for me) is having to tear apart the dough and shape it into the muffin pan.  I don’t even mind cooking the spinach (what!?!).  I’ve made these a few times now, both in regular muffin tins and mini muffin tins, and they always turn out well.  I follow the recipe exactly, except I use regular salt instead of sea salt, minced garlic instead of fresh (we really need to get a good garlic press!), and I use a hand mixer to mix the dip ingredients together.  I’ve found that’s the best way to make sure that the spinach is really spread throughout.

To be honest, my quest of cooking at home is more about knowing what’s going into my food and using “real food” instead of processed (when possible).  Yes, this uses pre-made dough.  I would be very interested in trying a variation using my own dough at some point, simply because I like making bread.  But overall, this recipe isn’t THAT bad for you.  I mean, it has spinach, right?!?

Sneaky Quinoa

Sometimes I like to see if I can slip a healthy recipe by J and see if he notices.  Once, he told me that the spinach-chicken meatballs that I made tasted “too healthy.”  Since then, I haven’t tried another ground chicken recipe.  Until now….dun dun DUN!

I was originally planning on making another recipe from Ambitious Kitchen (the sweet potato & chicken Mexican stirfry), but I saw this one for Enchilada Chicken and Quinoa Stuffed Peppers and was sold.  Anything I can mush up and shove into the oven always wins.

I followed the recipe as stated, except for leaving out the cilantro and adding in jalapenos.  I was a little worried about not cooking the meat beforehand, but the recipe turned out really well, and the meat was fully cooked.  It was moist and flavorful, and J didn’t even notice that there was quinoa in there (bwahaha).  The enchilada sauce really helped make the dish, and as far as canned sauces go, it’s surprisingly healthy, with few ingredients (and no weird chemicals).

The verdict?  I would make it again.  It was a nice “set it and forget it” type of dish.  I think I would add hotter enchilada sauce next time (I used mild here).  And I’m curious to see how it holds up for left-overs.  But all in all, I call a win.

Lunch Dilemmas

Lunch is usually by far my least healthy meal of the day.  Why?  Because I’m lazy.  Pure and simple.  By the time 10:00 pm rolls around, I don’t really feel like making my lunch for the next day.  And I’m certainly not motivated enough to make it before I go to work.  The result is that I end up either a) skipping lunch and snacking when I get home, b) bringing a granola bar and snacking when I get home, or c) getting something from the snack machine…and snacking when I get home.  As one of my students would say, “Yikes!”

There was one week when I was super-motivated, and ended up making a variation of this layered salad from Oh She Glows.  Basically, I left out the wheatberries and the ginger and parsley, and left everything else the same.  It was SO nice to just be able to grab a container every morning, and know that I had lunch at the ready.  And guess what?  I was full enough, so that I didn’t have to eat when I got home from work.

So, the mission for today is to make this recipe so that I’ll have lunch for the rest of this week.  I’m planning on using the wheatberries and parsley this time, but still skipping the ginger.  Sunday is the new lunch day.  Or something like that.

Ky…Cooks?

A cooking blog?  Shocking, I know.  Coming from a girl who loves baking but not so much cooking, a cooking blog seems like a stretch.  But that’s the point.  I’m 25 years old, and although I have a wonderful boyfriend who is a fantastic cook, I really should contribute more to our culinary relationship other than baked goods once or twice a month.

Plus, I like to eat healthier foods, like whole grains and vegetables.  And we do probably eat healthier than most couples our age.  But we could do better.  And I don’t see J whipping up any dishes with brown rice and quinoa anytime soon.  So here we are.  Let’s do it!