I read somewhere that the average American eats the same 10 Meals on rotation. This got me thinking… if everyone learned to cook just 10 Quick Healthy Staple Meals, (and opted to cook those meals instead of eating out or grabbing something packaged,) wouldn’t that make for a much healthier America?!
With that thought came the next…What are my families 10 Go-To Healthy Dinners? Well here you go…
- Stir Fry – Use any lean protein you like, but I usually start by cubing up skinless chicken breast and chopping up a variety of veggies – carrot, broccoli, bell peppers, celery, mushrooms, etc.. For the sauce, whisk together ¼ cup of low sodium soy sauce with the juice of one orange, diced ginger, black pepper, a good splurge of honey and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Season and sauté the chicken breast first. Once no longer pink, throw in your veggies and cook for about 3-4 minutes. Add sauce and bring to a simmer. Let it all reduce down and simmer for another 5-10 minutes, until chicken is cooked through. Serve over 1 cup of streamed brown rice.
- Veggie Soup – Chop Up your veggies to fairly equal sizes. Chop up one onion and dice up a few garlic cloves and set aside. In a small bowl, combine some herbs and spices, (use ones that will complement the veggies you are using. For me I use Ground Coriander & Parsley the most.) Place your stock pot on the stove. Turn the heat to medium. Add 2 tablespoons of oil. Once oil is hot, add in your onion, garlic and spices/herbs mix. Stir for 1-3 minutes. Add a box of stock or 3 cups water and veggies. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and let cook through for about 20 minutes. Taste your soup! Salt & pepper as needed. Serve as is or blend soup mixture for a different texture. Tip – I often like to add diced tomatoes or a can of chickpeas to make it hearty too.
- Spaghetti – One of my all-time favorites – I LOVE Italian food! You can make this the traditional way… (Brown lean ground beef in a pan then add to your jar of spaghetti sauce.) OR you can make it leaner and tastier by using ground turkey or chicken, adding a ton of chopped veggies, and making your noodles from Spaghetti Squash instead of Pasta. Spaghetti Squash is an amazing low carb alternative that tastes good too. To make it QUICKER THAN PASTA. Cut it lengthwise, scrape out the seeds, cover with saran wrap and microwave each side on HIGH for 6 minutes. Once cooked, you just use a spoon or fork and scrape it out. It will come out stringy like Spaghetti noodles!
- Breaded Chicken & Steamed Veggies – My husband likes his chicken breaded, so I simply bake it to keep it healthy! I like to either use skinless chicken tenders or bang out a couple of chicken breasts. Beat an egg in a large dish. Put your bread crumbs in a separate dish or large plate. First dip your chicken in the egg wash, then straight into the breading, covering completely. Place on a sprayed cooking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes at 350 until chicken is cooked through. For a crispier crust, place the chicken under the broiler for 2-3 minutes each side to finish. While the chicken cooks, Chop great big chunks of broccoli and carrots and place them in the saucepan to steam just 5-8 minutes before the chicken is done.
- Dinner Salad with Vinaigrette – This one’s the easiest and probably the most nutritious! Chop your greens – the dark leafy ones are the most nutrient packed! Top with your fave chopped veggies and maybe some fruit. Here’s the secret ingredient…FRESH HERBS! Roughly chopped mint or cilantro can really kick your salad up to gourmet. Use a light Vinaigrette or make one from scratch at home if you prefer. Top with a handful of nuts, an egg, or maybe some leftover cooked chicken breast for some protein!
- Fish in a Bag – Season your fish with salt & pepper. Chop some onion rings and fresh lemon rings. Make a pouch with aluminum foil. Drizzle with olive oil and place fish inside, topping it with the onion and lemon, and a sprinkle of parsley. Add a chunk on butter on top and close up your bag(s). Cook in the oven on a baking tray at 350, for 15-20 minutes or until fish is cooked through. Serve with quick steamed veg or salad and maybe a side of rice.
- Homemade Lean & Tasty Burgers & Baked Fries – My husband’s specialty! Use either lean ground beef or turkey for this one. To make the patties you add a beaten egg and some breadcrumbs to about 1-1.5lbs of ground meat. But the secret to the tastiest homemade burgers ever is to add your own extras into your patty mix like diced onions & bell peppers, Worchester sauce, cumin, salt & pepper, etc.! Grill these up outside or on the George foreman. Either way they will be way more amazing than your favorite burger joint-I promise! We often use sweet potato and always do our baked fries in a little olive oil, salt & pepper at 425 for 20 minutes (10 per side.)
- Thai Curry – My absolute favorite curry is Thai. Curries are usually as quick as stir fry, but you will need to make a few variations. I first brown my chicken and add my veggies to the pan until the veggies are starting to cook down, then remove them. Then using that same pan, I start the Thai sauce. For Thai, you will need a can of coconut milk, fish sauce, brown sugar, and Thai curry paste. First sauté 2-3 Tablespoons of your paste in a little oil over medium high heat. Add the can of Coconut Milk fish sauce and brown sugar and bring to a boil, add your cooked chicken and vegetable mixture and reduce to simmer. Cook for 5 more minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Serve over 1 cup steamed jasmine rice.
- Roast Dinner – This one is pretty self-explanatory and an absolute must-have. Salt & Pepper your Bird or other Meat Roast. Drizzle with olive oil or melted butter. Use any additional herbs you desire. (Fresh Garlic and Rosemary are staples in my roast dinners.) Place in the top of your roasting pan. For the bottom of your pan, roughly chop up root vegetables and coat in olive oil salt and pepper. Place in oven for the given necessary time at on 350-425, depending on your meat and size of roast. Always let your roast rest for 10 minutes outside the oven prior to carving.
- Chili – For number ten I am going to give you the link to Jaime Oliver’s 15-Minute Meals Veggie Chili. Hands down this is the absolute most delicious chili recipe I have ever had! It works great as a meat chili too…just add your cooked lean ground beef or turkey. http://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/vegetables-recipes/veggie-chilli-with-crunchy-tortilla-avocado-salad
HAPPY COOKING & HEALTHY EATING EVERYONE!
Sarah Gogarty, (ACE-CPT)
SGO Fitness, LLC