Friday, June 4, 2010

What I had for Dinner Last Night

Yesterday, my comment that it was just as easy to make dinner as it is to go the take-out route pulled a "but it takes too much time to shop and prepare a meal" comment.

First of all, I don't shop for each meal I prepare. I go to the store once or twice a week and stock up on whatever I need, what's for sale, what looks good and cook from there.

So yesterday afternoon I was trying to decide what to make for dinner. Earlier in the week I had picked up a bag of peeled, cooked, frozen shrimp because they were on sale. So I knew whatever I made would include shrimp. I then looked at what else I had in the house and found a box of arugula, lemons, garlic, olive oil and pasta (the last 4 items being pantry staples). I also had half a pint of cherry tomatoes.

So here's the recipe for what I made:

1 pound of frozen, peeled, cooked shrimp, thawed
Juice of 3 lemons
zest from 2 lemons
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
5 ounces of pre-washed baby arugula
1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
16 ounces whole wheat spaghetti

I combined the shrimp, lemon juice and zest, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper and set it aside to marinate. Then, I put on a pot of salted water on the stove to boil, cooked and drained the pasta.

Then, I tossed in the arugula and tomatoes with the shrimp mixture, and threw the hot pasta on top and mixed, allowing the heat from the pasta to wilt the arugula.

All told, it took 15 minutes of actual prep time and a grand total of less than 30 minutes to put a healthy, nutritious, low sodium meal on the table.

And, because the "sauce" for the pasta was uncooked, I only used one pot. So all I had was one pot and one pasta bowl to clean up afterwards.

Another easy meal--grilled boneless chicken breasts with salad. I keep boneless chicken breasts in the freezer and when I need a quick meal, I simply salt and pepper the thawed breasts and throw them on my grill pan (I have one that covers two burners so I can grill enough for the entire family). While the chicken takes fifteen minutes to grill, I make a salad and, if I don't already have salad dressing in the refrigerator, the dressing. Dinner done in under 20 minutes with no shopping (I always have salad fixings and dressing fixings in the house).

So if you plan properly, you can make dinner every night in less then 30 minutes with no shopping involved.

I'm with Jamie Oliver on this one, there is absolutely no excuse to not make your own food. You are doing nothing but throwing your own health, and the health of your family to the food manufacturers when you cede food preparation to them.

1 comment:

  1. I keep chiken parts (breasts, leg quarters-- whatever is on sale), frozen veggies of all sorts and rice always in the pantry. For a quick meal I just throw the chicken parts in a baking pan, mix 1 cup of rice with 2 cups of water and pour it in around the chicken and dump a bag of frozen veggies on top. Sprinkle with some seasoning (lemon pepper, goya packets, garlic powder, whatever) cover with foil and put it in the oven on 350 and forget about it for about 45 minutes.

    As long as you remember to throw the chicken in the fridge sometimes the day before to defrost it, this meal literally takes about 5 minutes to prep & put in the oven.