Look, we all try. We try to get to Whole Foods to buy the grass-fed beef and pasture-raised chicken eggs and organic raw unsalted almonds. But let’s be real.
We’re all busy. And sometimes no matter how hard we try, we’re faced with let’s say, less than optimal food choices. The next thing you know, you’re elbow deep in a box of Cinnamon Toast Crunch at 10pm because that’s all that’s in the house. And also, SO GOOD.
That’s where this post comes in. Sometimes you just don’t feel like cooking a crazy elaborate dish. Or you didn’t have time to throw together a crock-pot meal that morning. Or you’ve just returned from the gym after a hard workout and YOU. ARE. HANGRY. <–Me, most of the time. What can you throw together that 1. has ingredients that don’t require a trip to a specialty store 2. is affordable 3. easy to throw together and 4. is a healthy and tasty *nutritious* meal? It’s not impossible. Trust me.
Let’s start with two recent discoveries: Thin ‘n Trim Italian Chicken Sausage and Rao’s Homemade Marinara.
These two products turned out to be quite delicious and highly versatile! I love that they are both mostly (if not all) free from a chemical shit-storm of preservatives. Yes, the chicken has a bit of sugar (less than 2%) but does not have added nitrates. I compared the sodium count of these to another brand that starts with a J and it was 4 times less. Less bloating and water retention? Yes, please. And Rao’s is amazingly free of anything non-natural – check out the ingredients on the label!
Here are a few examples with these bad boys:
Italian Chicken Sausage and Veggies Bowl [Paleo, Gluten Free, Optional Dairy Free]
- Slice 2 links sausage, throw in a large saute pan to heat both sides through and brown.
- Add 1 TBSP olive oil, 1 zucchini squash and 1 yellow squash, sliced. Cook until veggies are done to your liking.
- Place sausage and veggies in your favorite bowl.
- Top with 1/4 cup warmed Rao’s Marinara.
- (Optional) add 2tsp grated parmesan
Italian Chicken Sausage with Kale [Paleo, Gluten Free, Optional Dairy Free]
- Follow all steps above, except use 2 cups frozen kale instead of squash/zucchini
Italian Chicken Sausage Breakfast Scramble [Paleo, Gluten Free, Dairy Free]
- Slice 1 link sausage, throw in a large saute pan to heat both sides through and brown.
- Add 1 serving of leftover veggies into the pan. This morning I had a combo of squash, zucchini, mushroom and onion.
- When those are heated, scoot the veggies to one side of the pan and add 1/3 cup All Whites and 1 whole organic egg.
- Let the eggs set up a little before you mix everything together. Cook to desired doneness.
- Serve with 1/4 avocado and 2TBSP organic salsa
Another new addition in my repertoire are Laughing Cows. Previously, I’d only used them as a topping on an English muffin. But Carrotsncake posted a recipe that inspired me to try them as an ingredient in veggie and meat combos… and whoa, I’m glad I did. I’ve been adding a little bit of dairy back into my diet and these really help fill that craving for something cheesy/creamy. Thanks, Tina!
Cheesy Beef and Veggie Bowl [Gluten Free]
- Brown 1lb grass-fed beef. My local Kroger carries Maverick Ranch 91/9%. If you can’t find grass-fed, use the highest quality organic beef you can find. This beef is super lean and needs seasoning, but don’t go overboard with the salt shaker. I used Mrs. Dash’s table seasoning and a few shakes of good sea salt.
- Do a quick sautee of some veggies or microwave a package of Steamfresh Broccoli Florets. I did both for this one.
- Combine beef and veggies in your favorite bowl. Are you seeing my trend towards bowls? I really am a large child. Or I just prefer to shovel my food in.
- Top with 1/4 avocado and 1 wedge of Laughing Cow Light Swiss and mix well
- (Optional) 2tsp grated parmesan
Turkey Burger Veggie Spaghetti “Alfredo” [Gluten Free]
- With a knife, stab some holes in a small to medium spaghetti squash. Rrawrrr, stabby!
- Pop in the microwave and cook on high, 6-7 minute on each side. Squash should “give” when it’s done.
- In a small skillet, cook one frozen turkey burger until completely done. I use Jennie-O’s. Are these the “cleanest” turkey burger out there? I’m sure not. However, big picture? It’s not like we’re speeding to Five Guys. Less-than-clean is way better than completely derailing. Give me something better to beat myself up about. Sheesh.
- When squash is cooked, cut in half and dethread with a fork.
- Put about 1-1.5 cups spaghetti squash into a bowl.
- Top with any leftover veggies or nuke up some frozen veggies from the freezer.
- Add sliced turkey burger
- Throw in a wedge of Laughing Cow – any flavor of your choice. Mix until cheese is all melty. MMMM.
- I topped with avocado and a teeny bit of parmesan.
Lastly, MIX IT UP! These combos above can be altered in any way, depending on what your taste buds are asking for and what you have readily handy in your kitchen. Get used to using your staples (quick/lean protein, easily prepared veggies), then play with the flavor combos. Example: I had a tiny bit of Rao’s left, a serving of veggie saute and some leftover roasted Brussels Sprouts. All I had to do was cook one turkey burger, combine all ingredients, and dinner was done. But I could have also subbed a Laughing Cow for marinara, OR made a turkey burger and veggie egg scramble.
Hope these recipes help some of you busy bees out! It’s been a huge help to me in avoiding my sugar binges late at night. Don’t let this be you.
What’s your go-to quick and dirty meal?
What’s the worst thing you’ve ever had for dinner? (Like Cinnamon Toast Crunch…)