Sunday, July 18, 2010

A Few Quick Recipes That Are Healthier Than Fast Food

It has been really interesting to me to read your challenges and concerns about eating healthier in the comments of the giveaway post. Many of them are my challenges as well. Over the last six (almost!) months, I have become much better at avoiding fast/convenience foods and eating healthier instead. But... I totally understand the problem of not having the time, or energy, to cook a healthy meal after a busy day. So, here are a few of the "quick but healthier than fast food" recipes I fall back on when I just don't feel like cooking.

The first one I have posted before. That's my Who Hash recipe. The only caveat with this one is that it does involve rice (brown rice, because it's better for you! * Ha! Naturally, having posted that, I then read this article that presents a different view of that. You be the judge!). Sometimes I am too tired to wait for rice to cook. But rice is also something that can be made ahead of time (heck, you can probably even freeze cooked rice for a quick go-to). This is such a simple, filling food- and the kids love it.

Next is what I call Cheater's Chili. I know chili aficionados will be appalled, so it you consider yourself in that category please look away now. Cheater's Chili caveat: involves canned ingredients. I try to avoid canned ingredients these days, but on days where the choice is between canned or take-out, I try to go for the can.

Cheater's Chili

brown a pound of ground beef (with onion if you have it, but it's fine without too)
if there's a lot of fat, drain it off (I don't bother if the meat was very lean)
dump in a couple cans of pre-seasoned chili beans (I like Bush's)
dump in a large can of diced tomatoes
chop a green bell pepper and toss that in
add chili powder
stir while heating through
eat and put leftovers in the fridge

And this last "recipe" is really just a way to prepare salmon (Pacific wild-caught is best, but honestly, you could do a variation of this with canned salmon for less money).

Yummy Salmon

Cover the bottom of a large pan with diced tomatoes, basil, garlic, chopped onion, and chopped/sliced black olives. You can use canned seasoned tomatoes and it works great. Lay the salmon fillet on top of the mix. Cover and heat until salmon is cooked through. The flavors melt together nicely. You don't need to stir this or anything, but use a medium heat so it cooks quickly but doesn't burn to the bottom.

Okay, one more thought... We stir-fry pretty often. I don't really consider stir-fry to be super quick, but it just occurred to me that if I pre-cooked the meat when it was convenient and kept it in the freezer, I could toss it in to re-heat with the veggies and save some time. Especially if I had cooked rice in the freezer. Has anybody frozen cooked rice? How did it work out? I think I have to go try that now... Anybody else care to share your "quick but healthier than fast food recipes"?


  1. Actually I have frozen cooked rice, simply because I had too much left and didn't want it to go bad. It worked out just fine, though I usually steam leftover rice because I find that brown rice anyway, seems to dry out a bit as a leftover.

    I'm thinking though, now that I have a deep freezer, I really should try to prepare and freeze some homemade "convenience" meals. Sometimes they're just the ticket after a busy day. My biggest problem with my freezer though, is finding what I'm looking for (assuming I remember what's in it in the 1st place!)

  2. Thanks for this update Leigh! It would be so convenient to have pre-cooked rice in the freezer. I think I will cook up a pot, portion it out, and get it in the freezer today.

    I am hoping to get a freezer before Sept. in order to have room for our garden harvest and homemade quickie meals(craigslist here I come). I plan to keep an inventory sheet taped to the top, and maybe even a "map" of what is where inside.