Saturday, November 8, 2014

3 Easy Family Dinner Ideas… For Days When I'd Rather Spend My Afternoon Walking vs. Cooking


I've been so focused on taking better care of myself that I haven't set aside time to write here in a few weeks. I won't lie, there is some angst that I'm not keeping up with this blog enough; that I should be posting more. But I've decided that sporadic posts are ok. It's my best effort in this moment.

That said, I came up with a few quick and EASY dinners these past few weeks, that are worth sharing. And I found myself with a few open hours today, so it's time for a new post. These recipes are for days when a lot of cooking isn't the priority, but nourishing my family still is key. So, pour yourself a glass of something delicious and let's spend a few minutes together giving you some ideas for the busy week ahead!


Easy Dinner #1 - Mediterranean Chicken

This was inspired by a recent trip to our local Whole Foods. They have this gorgeous antipasto bar, and as I whizzed through the market, I knew I was short on time to cook that afternoon/evening. So, I loaded a medium deli container with a combination of {layers, top to bottom since I know they're a little hard to see in this pic} capers, roasted garlic, roasted tomatoes and pitted kalamata olives. The other two ingredients I bought were a package of organic chicken tenders and a 15 oz jar of fire roasted crushed tomatoes. That's it. Those three ingredients.


Then, when we got home from after-school activities I preheated the oven to 350, and placed the chicken in a roasting pan, placed the contents of the antipasto tub on top, poured the crushed tomatoes on top of that, gave it all a stir, and into the oven it went until the chicken was cooked through {about 15-20 minutes, depending upon the size of your chicken pieces}. And while the kitchen was filling with these amazing aromas, the kids did homework, and I went upstairs and worked out.


Super easy, crowd pleasing dinner.


Easy Dinner #2 - Tomato-Quinoa Soup with Grilled Cheese

I have one vegetarian child, which means a few nights a week we all enjoy a veggie-based meal. And on a chilly Fall evening, really, what's better than tomato soup and grilled cheese? You can get fancy with your grilled cheese and add pesto, or you can just use good bread and some good cheese and go simple. But if I go simple on the grilled cheese, I try to make sure we're getting a protein boost another way. Easiest way I've found? Simply add a scoop of cooked quinoa to everyone's bowl of tomato soup. Usually this meal comes about when I have some leftover quinoa in the fridge. But if the request comes another night, I always have these packets in my pantry. {Oh, and I get lots of questions about my tomato soup… it's store-bought. The bowl above is Trader Joe's-brand Creamy Tomato Soup. My other favorite brand to keep on hand in my pantry is Pacific.} 



Easy Dinner #3 - Veggie Curry

Another crazy day of afternoon chauffeuring… another plant-based meal needed…. one that'll please the whole family… and can be made in mere minutes? I keep a stash of Maya Kaimal Simmer Sauces on hand in my pantry.  

On the above night, I didn't make it to the supermarket as planned after one of my children ended up home sick from school, so I had to come up with dinner from a pretty measly selection of ingredients. Normally, I like to make a veggie curry with all sorts of colors and textures, but this go round I had:
I cubed the tofu and cut the new potatoes in half and roasted them on a olive oil drizzled baking sheet, at 350, just until they had a crispy edge {about 12 minutes}. Then I popped the tofu, potatoes, rinsed and drained chickpeas and the jar of simmer sauce into a sauté pan until everything was warmed through. The result? Awesome. Everyone loved it.


So, when I am not hauling something out of my homemade freezer stash, I'm figuring out ways to get dinner on the table quickly easy and healthfully so I have enough time to take good care of myself without compromising mealtimes around here.
 

And it's working. I'm thrilled to share that by making more of an effort to move daily, and connecting with friends for walks a few times/week, I have lost 9 lbs in 9 weeks (!!!) in that friendly weight-loss challenge my friends and I embarked on. Want a kick in the pants too? See the small product that made a difference in my fitness journey. I truly cannot say enough good things about how something so simple has inspired me to re prioritize how I spend my days.



Here's to us all figuring the dinner gig out, and taking even better care of ourselves along the way.

Alrighty, so if a bit of time passes before the next blog post you'll know I'm just getting my skinny on, walking around town with friends… so be sure to wave if we pass each other.

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