KIS (Keepin' It Simple)
I wasn't really in the mood to cook last week because of hubby's late hours. Hubby calls me from the road to estimate what time he thinks he will be home. So I usually pick things that can be put in the oven that will take about 30-40 minutes. I had a lot of vegetables in the crisper and needed to use them before they went bad. So...I used as many as I could for this dinner and two other dinners.
I bought the two largest green bell peppers I have ever seen at the commissary and needed to figure out how to use them. Stuffed Bell Peppers is a quick, easy and healthy way to use them up. I had cooked some rice a month before and of course had excess and froze it. Freezing rice is super simple and very cost effective. You just thaw it out just like anything else; on a plate overnight in the refrigerator. After thawing the rice to break up the clumps, you run your hands under cold water and then start breaking up the clumps. The rice separates beautifully.
I didn't want to boil all the vitamins out of the green bell peppers (really I waited a bit too late to boil them on the stove) and I gave them a quick microwave to soften them up after cutting off the tops and cleaning out the seeds. I had a package of 93% fat free hamburger meat that weighed 1 1/2 pounds. Way too much for us to eat at one meal. I hate wasting things like that so I took the whole package of meat and crumbled it up in the skillet to cook. I took out half of the cooked meat and let it cool, wrapped it up and put it back into the refrigerator for later use. The thawed rice and ground meat were mixed in the skillet along with some s&p, fresh chopped parsley, one beaten egg and some shaved parmesan cheese. I scooped that mixture into the microwaved peppers and put them into a casserole dish. Two 8oz. cans of tomato sauce were opened and poured over the peppers and that was then popped into a 350 degree oven for 40 minutes.
I still had way too many vegetables in the refrigerator so I made one of my favorite recipes; Roasted Vegetebles-South Beach style. I love this recipe because you really don't need to read a paper to make it. Zucchini, Squash, Red Onion, Mushrooms, and Asparagus, 3 TBS olive oil, s&p.
You can't get any easier than that. Everything is chopped up and then tossed with the olive oil and s&p and then spread on a baking sheet and baked in the oven.
This is a year round favorite for me; dieting or not. That was one night's dinner and I still had more tricks up my sleeve to make my life simplier. The other half of the hamburger meat was already cooked and ready to go into a jar of Paul Newman's spaghetti sauce. This was dinner number. We didn't eat any vegetables with that dinner but I had got another idea! I had left over veggies from the night before so while the spaghetti was boiling, I put on a second pot so I can could half a box of mini penne pasta. I took the mini penne pasta and the left over South Beach veggies and mixed them together to make a roasted veggie pasta for dinner the next night. I took some red wine vinegar, olive oil and every dried herb I could scare up with a tsp of sugar and whisk them together for the dressing on the pasta salad. The roasted vegetable pasta was then used to eat with Honey Mustard Chicken Breasts the next night.
The whole point of this post is that if anyone just gives a few more minutes to each meal it could be the ground work for a quicker meal the next night. I know most of you have full-time jobs and a family to boot and time is precious. Take a few minutes to plan three meals during your week where you build off a few ingredients to make the next meal.