I ate nachos tonight. And I had no idea what I was going to eat for dinner after I finished a run. I walked into the kitchen, grabbed a mostly empty bag of lentil chips, swung open the refrigerator and rummaged around for veggies. I chopped up broccoli, cherry tomatoes and red bell peppers. If I would’ve thought about the beans in the pantry, I would’ve added them. Chicken would’ve worked too. Instead I grabbed a block of cheese and shredded it over the top. In the oven on 325 until they were warm, broiled them for a few extra minutes then pulled them out and had dinner. It was good, it was healthy and it was quick. This is how I normally eat. It makes cooking an adventure and it’s fast. You don’t know what you’re going to come up with until you open the refrigerator, but it’s easy to throw together. So, here are my top 5 tips on creating a meal quickly.
1. Keep your fridge stocked with veggies. I go to the farmer’s market every weekend and grab things that can be thrown into lots of different dishes. Tomatoes, carrots, broccoli, kale, green beans are all top choices.
2. Hard boil eggs and keep them in the fridge for an easy grab and go snack or part of a breakfast. I hard boil eggs at the beginning of every week and eat 2 for breakfast along with a piece of fruit (banana, apple, pear), a veggie (carrots, red bell pepper, snap peas), cheese, raisins and an almond meal muffin (I bake them instead of microwaving – 325 for about 20 min or until they’re springy on top) with almond butter *almost* every morning. I use an egg genie to boil my eggs because it’s fail proof . You can use a steamer to cook them the same way. Steam for 15 minutes and then put on ice. These two methods are so much easier to me than boiling in water. I can never get the timing right with the old fashioned, guess-how-long-to-boil method.
3. Stock up on cans of food that are easy to add to lots of dishes. Beans and chopped tomatoes (look for cans without bpa in the lining) are two of my go-to’s. I always get organic and low or no sodium. It’s so much better to control the salt content on your own. I rinse my beans too before I eat them. I don’t know what ‘they’ add to the can so it makes me feel better to rinse them. Beans and tomatoes can be added to nachos, stir frys and quesadillas (just a few examples).
4. Make a pot of lentils and put in the refrigerator for the week. Saute garlic and onion in olive oil, add veggies of your choice then the lentils, salt and pepper and any other spices you like (I love cumin). Scoop into a bowl and eat up! Add lentils to a salad to add protein.
5. Use your freezer! Tilapia defrosts really fast so I always keep a few fillets on hand. Thaw it under warm running water and cook it up. Eat lentils as a side and make a quick side salad. Need help with dressing? Check out these recipes.
These are tips I actually use and they work really well for me. I always experiment with new veggies. I try to grab one new thing from the farmer’s market every week that I don’t usually incorporate into my meals. Figuring out what to do with it is fun and makes cooking more of an adventure for me. When I get home I google it up and go with whatever recipe/prep idea that catches my eye.
Hopefully you found these tips helpful. What do you do to create quick meals? Any other tips you use on a regular basis that have helped you? Or do you struggle every night trying to figure out what’s for dinner? Leave me a comment and let me know!