Tag Archives: quinoa

Cooking for One

28 Sep

I was recently asked by a client to write a blog post about “how to cook healthy for one”.  She explained that she is having a tough time cooking meals that are single serve, and often ends up making way too much food and has to give it away (or worse- throw it away).  While the recipients of her extra meals may think this to be just fine and dandy, my client wanted some ideas/thoughts/guidance on how to tailor her cooking to serve just one person.  I thought it was a great idea and probably something from which many more people could benefit.

dirty dozen

Here are my tips for simplifying cooking for one:

1) PLAN AHEAD: This one applies to everyone, whether cooking for one or for ten.  When trying to maintain healthy eating habits, it is ESSENTIAL to plan ahead.  Preparation is the key to making sure the best & most nutritious foods end up in your belly & the nutrient-empty bad food stays far, far out of temptation and hunger’s reach!  Whether this means chopping/slicing/peeling fruits and veggies as soon as you buy them, or getting lunch ready in Tupperware the night before, do all the planning you can.

2) COOK A LOT & PORTION IT OUT.   When cooking for one, it’s often hard to make proper adjustments to a recipe that is written to serve 4-6.  Instead of shying away from these recipes, I suggest setting aside time to cook (Sunday afternoon/evenings work for me) large quantities of food and then package them in single-serve containers.  For example: cook a Crockpot full of vegetarian chili and use Pyrex or Tupperware to divide it into 4-5 meals worth.  These don’t all have to be consumed within that week.  If you are someone who likes variety, keep one or two servings out for the week, and freeze the rest.  These frozen single-servings can simply be defrosted for another meal at another time.  If you can devote a day or an afternoon (just a few hours will do) to preparing a few big meals to be divided for the week (or frozen for longer), it will save you LOTS of time in the day-to-day.

3) FIND YOUR FAVORITE “STAPLES” AND ADD VARIETY:  everyone has a few “go-to” favorite foods (hopefully these are all whole, natural foods!) which they eat regularly.  One of mine is salad.  If you’ve ever seen me eat a meal, you can almost guarantee 2 things: it’s a salad and its in Tupperware!  Many think of salads as boring and unsatisfying but with a little creativity, they can be DELISH and filling.  Start with any type of greens, add your fav veg [tomato, peppers, carrots, snap peas, broccoli, cucumber, avocado, mushroom, peas, etc] and then make sure to add a source of protein [chicken breast, tuna, salmon, beef, soy nuts, tofu, edamame] and an all natural dressing [I use olive oil and balsamic w/spices].  I also add dried cranberries, raisins, or nuts to change it up.  Keep fresh veggies stocked at home, chopped and ready to go.  Then it is only a matter of assembling the mix of ingredients you want that day!

Another staple I love to have around is quinoa or cous cous.  Make several servings of either (for the week), and scoop a single serving out to serve with protein and veg.  You could also add either of these to a salad or stir fry dish.

4) DON’T OVER SHOP AT THE GROCERY STORE: don’t over do it when shopping just for you!  It is far better to buy less and use all the food than to buy too much and have some go to waste.   If you run out of milk/chicken/veggies/etc midweek, a second trip to the grocery store won’t be the end of the world.  Try and keep 4-5 days worth of fresh food in your house at a time.    Additionally, when you have more food around (that you don’t want to let spoil), you tend to eat more, and this can lead to distorted portion sizes….which leads me to my next point.

5) PAY ATTENTION TO SERVING SIZE: this is a good tip for cooking/eating in general.  Take a moment to LOOK on the packaging of the food and see just exactly how much a “single serving” is!  Make sure to portion out appropriate amounts of food depending on your daily calorie intake and dietary needs.  An entire pizza could be considered “single serve” if one person eats the whole thing!   Get in the habit of using measuring cups to portion out food instead of just filling a container.

 

Do you have any other ideas of “how to cook healthy for one”?? Let’s hear them!

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Super Tabouli

15 Sep

Who’s hungry???  Try out this cool new twist on traditional Tabouli made  by one of my favorite chefs in the world- Chef Mike.  Mike is very creative and has cooked/baked some great stuff for me, which has all been delicious!  This week I got to try his “Super Tabouli” which uses quinoa instead of the traditional bulgur wheat.  This would be a great substitution for those with Celiac Disease, as quinoa is gluten-free!  I really enjoyed the quinoa instead of the bulgur, and most certainly give it two thumbs up.  As a Lebanese girl who has tried MANY tabouli recipes, I can safely say this is one of the best yet!  This versatile dish is great in place of a salad, as a side dish, or as a main meal served with a bit of grilled chicken!  Try it out and let me (and Chef Mike) know what you think by posting a response below!

Chef Mike’s Super Tabouli

-Two finely chopped large bushels of Curly Parsley
– Handful of chopped basil leaves
-One small chopped red onion
-Three large ripe tomatoes, I used a red, orange and some multi red green mutant from Whole Foods
– Finely Chopped garlic to preference. I chopped up three or four cloves
– I used 3 ripe lemons. Used an old school juicer
– One cup of cooked then cooled Quinoa
– Salt and pepper to taste
– Extra virgin olive oil to preference. I usual just pour it in till I like what I see

Summer Squash Quinoa Yumminess!!

1 Sep

Here’s a recipe put together by one of my greatest friends, who has a knack for creating new recipes whenever he has a fridge full of food and a kitchen to himself.  This week he whipped up a new dish which was DELISH!

recipe

  He wrote out the recipe and I am passing it on, exactly as he wrote it:

1 cup of quinoa
1 summer squash cut in half lengthwise and then chopped into half circles
1/2 large sweet vidalia onion
Large handful of fresh chopped spinach. (Real spinach, no frozen preserved shit)
1/2 chopped bulb of fennel
1 can of rinsed black beans
3 heads of garlic minced
And my spice mix   [his spice mix is: fresh ground black pepper, oregano, sea salt, ground red pepper, paprika, and ground cumin]

– Cook 1 cup of quinoa with 2 cups of water
– stir in 1 can of black beans a few minutes before the quinoa is fully cooked
– in another pan sauté onion, fennel, garlic and spices
– once onions are browned toss in summer squash
– once summer squash is starting to get cooked toss in the spinach
– when everything is cooked toss in the quinoa with the veggies for a few minutes to absorb the flavor
– I ended up dicing an avocado and tossing it on top of the whole mix after I plated it

I have to admit it’s now one of my favorites and it’s really filling

Aside from all the nutritional value of the spinach and summer squash, this dish is also packed with proteins (by way of black beans) and a healthy complex carb (quinoa).  Try it out and let me know what you think!!