SALAD FOR DINNER - A SAVING GRACE

Thursday, March 13, 2014
So cooking and I haven't really got along since becoming a mother. I've had some serious epiosdes of feet-dragging into my kitchen. My first apprehensive thought when meal time rolls around is "Dishes." I either haven't done them and the thought of adding to the heap makes me weepy, or I have done them and I just don't want to hand-scrub another load. By the end of the day, truly, the last thing I want to do is make another mess (do you get that??).

So who's kept this family fed? Me, of course. And how with all this dislike? The love of good health + finding some pretty slick meals. IE, the BBQ chicken salad below. 
I feel too good after cooking fresh and eating well to not eat that way. And maybe this one's weird, but I feel totally fulfilled in my role as a nurturer after filling Ryan and Olivia with nutrient-dense stuff. Food helps shape a family's culture, and I get to choose that food! That's so sweet, I think. 

A major kicker for me, too, is that Olivia "knows" vegetables because I'm cooking every day. She tries them when she sees them - every time! - even if she realizes two bites in that they can be strong (like the bell pepper she grabbed below). But she sees Ryan and I eating veggies and liking them, and I can just feel it. One day she'll want to eat them all, too. 
So here's the recipe to that salad above - a go-to meal for me as mom. It's healthy (obviously) and it's fast - the other half to my cooking whole. 

BBQ Chicken Salad

1 | Shred a whole bunch of lettuce and spinach (sometimes spinach is easier to eat, I think, if it's in smaller pieces) and cover your entire plate. Make this dish a meal!
2 | Add BBQ'd chicken, shredded (I shared one way we make it back here).
3 | Add a billion chopped toppings - broccoli, bell peppers, onion, cilantro, tomato, avacado, carrots, black beans, peas. Include it all and more. You can't go wrong!
4 | Toss with a little extra BBQ sauce, plus something like this dressing. That combo is surprisingly delicious.

And now look over at your sink - you only have a cutting board, a knife, a pan (that cooked the chicken), and three plates to scrub. Hallelujah!!! And you have a happy, healthy soul.

Seriously, it's this kind of meal and those kind of feelings that keep me going. A salad has saved this family's life ;)

Any recipes you have in your arsenal that are healthy+slick?? Share your secrets with me, please. I'd love to know what you're doing/how you're surviving...

4 comments:

  1. I know exactly how you feel. I grapple with the same thing when it comes to cooking. Like you, I don't like the mess or the time suck of meal planning and prep, but I also don't like the idea of being unhealthy all because I didn't want to clean some dishes. Oy ve!

    Anyway, this cookbook has saved my life!!!

    http://www.amazon.com/The-Family-Flavor-Practical-Delicious/dp/1484884043/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1394739024&sr=8-1&keywords=family+flavor

    I got it for Christmas and I love, love, love it!

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  2. I can totally relate!! It's a relief to know I'm not the only one who struggles with meal planning/cooking. Thanks for all your great ideas...they're really a big help.

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  3. Btw...here is my family's favorite healthy and yummy--and meatless!--recipe (which is saying A LOT since my husband usually hates anything that doesn't include meat). I've been meaning to put it on the blog, but I'll share it with you first :-)

    Black Bean Tostadas
    1 can black beans
    1/2 tsp garlic salt
    1 tsp chili powder
    1/2 tsp cumin (optional)
    4-6 tortillas (I prefer corn since flour usually have more calories...plus I like the way they bake better here)
    1 Tbsp olive oil
    Monterey Jack Cheese, grated
    4 cups frozen corn, thawed (I use canned corn if I don't have frozen)
    1-2 tomatoes, diced
    1 avocado, diced
    1 bunch scallions, chopped
    1 lime (optional)

    Preheat oven to 425. Brush both sides of the tortillas with the olive oil and lay them flat on a cookie sheet. Then simply mix the black beans with the spices, spoon that mixture evenly over the tortillas with some cheese on top and put them in to bake for 10 minutes. All of the veggies and lime juice from the lime go into a big bowl, and when the tortillas come out, you top them with that mixture! They are seriously delish and so easy (and good for you)!

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    Replies
    1. p.s. It's supposed to be 475 degrees instead of 425. My bad!

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