Home Cooking: Three quick, easy weeknight dinner ideas
Suzanne Elizabeth Anderson
My Battle of the Bulge is not found in military history. Its an ongoing battle I have with my waistline. In fact, I recall writing about this same subject in a food column in January 2018. I have had small victories over the years. Unfortunately, they were mostly short-lived because they included extreme measures such as 10-day juice fasts which did indeed help me to shed 20 pounds which were regained as soon as I began eating again.
This year, Im doing things differently. Im taking a holistic approach. I bought a digital weight scale that is connected by Bluetooth to an app on my iPhone which accurately records my weight, BMI, etc. It also means I cant fool it by rocking back on my heels.
I bought a season pass to the Breckenridge Nordic Center and joined a snowshoeing group that meets weekly. Ive found that joining a group for exercise holds me accountable when Id rather stay home. This summer I look forward to joining a pickle ball group.
As for food? No more diets. I just want to be strong, healthy and enjoy my life in the mountains for another 50 years. So, Im planning meals with intention, as youll see here.
My culinary ambition in 2019 is to create and share whole food meals that are easy, inexpensive and most of all healthy. And by healthy, I mean using fresh vegetables where the ratio of vegetables to meat is at least 2:1. Not only is this ratio a healthier way to eat, its economical.
It allows us to stretch a meal and feed more people for less, especially when we use vegetables that are in season or on sale. And yes, there is still butter and cream but in reasonable amounts to add richness and flavor to a meal.
This weeks three dinner ideas are quick and easy enough for weeknight preparations, but also special enough to serve on the weekend to friends. I hope youll do both. As a singleton, Ive found food always tastes better when I share it with others around a table. This means that at least once or twice a week I call a friend or two and ask them to come over for dinner. You should do the same.
Do you have a particular type of recipe youd like me to make here? More vegetarian options? Breakfast? Vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free? Send me an email at email@example.com and let me take up the challenge.
Now lets get cooking!
Chicken with Fennel and Carrots in a Creamy Mustard Sauce
2 boneless chicken breasts cut into bite-size pieces
3 carrots diced
1 fennel bulb with greens attached, slice up the whole thing, from root to greens
1 red onion diced
2-3 tablespoons butter
Swoosh of extra virgin olive oil
cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 cup water
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
Salt and pepper to taste
In a Dutch oven, saute the vegetables in butter. Remove the vegetables, add butter and flour. Cook the flour for 2-3 minutes. Add in the chicken pieces and a swoosh of olive oil. Brown the chicken pieces until cooked through, add back in the vegetables. Add the cream, mustard, water, salt and pepper to taste. Continue cooking until the broth has thickened. Serve as a stew or over wide noodles.
Sheet Pan Salmon with Vegetables and Frittata
1 lb skin-on salmon filet ( I buy this frozen and wild caught)
2 summer squash cut into half circles
pint cherry tomatoes cut in half
2 cups broccoli florets cut into bite-size pieces
Pre-heat oven to 400 F. Place the salmon filet on the sheet pan, brush with the teriyaki marinade. Surround the salmon filet with chopped vegetables, sprinkle with teriyaki sauce and olive oil. Bake for 20-25 minutes until salmon is cooked through and vegetables are tender.
The next day I combined leftover vegetables with bite-size pieces of salmon in a skillet, added four beaten eggs, poured over the vegetables and salmon, cooked in a 350 F oven for 15-20 minutes.
Slow Cooker Umami Shredded Beef
1 lb chuck roast
8 oz sliced bella mushrooms
1 onion diced
2 cloves garlic diced
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons lite soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons butter
Add all ingredients into the slow cooker, turn on low and cook for 8-10 hours. The shredded beef can be served over rice or polenta. Leftovers make a great sandwich!
Suzanne Anderson lives in Breckenridge.
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