living an unconventional life, one cocktail at a time

Wanted: Quick, Easy & Healthy Recipes

I need help!

Our little family HAS to change our eating habits. We eat at strange times (dinner at 9 p.m., anyone?), we often skip breakfast (especially Dave, since he pretty much skips mornings altogether), and we eat at restaurants, especially fast-food, way too often. It’s just easier and more fun. But that needs to change; not only for financial reasons but for health reasons.

I know it’s a matter of changing our habits. I need to plan meals better, have a regular grocery shopping list and stock our kitchen with the proper ingredients. I have a thousand and one cookbooks, and they all intimidate me. I know HOW to cook, but the recipes in cookbooks always seem to be made up of ingredients that normal people don’t have on hand, or meals that take four hours I don’t have to prep and cook. Plus, I’m not going to run out and buy some random ingredient for a recipe when I’ll never use it for anything else.

Lunch is going to be the hardest meal. It’s way too easy to run across the street from my office and grab something from the Union, and it’s more appealing than eating something I brought from home that’s been sitting in the fridge for four hours. Luckily, I live close to work, so I can run home for lunch and cook something. But I’m also hoping to visit Cooper at daycare during lunch sometimes, so I also need lunches I can make ahead and take along.

So, what I want are ideas from real people. People I know and trust. What are your go-to recipes for breakfast, lunch or dinner? I’m looking for meals that are healthy but fast. Point me to your favorite websites, your Pinterest boards or wherever you save recipes on the internet. And if anyone has a fantastic way of planning meals for the week, I’m all ears.

21 Responses to “Wanted: Quick, Easy & Healthy Recipes”

  1. Bailey says:

    Don’t try and do it all at once. And start with baby steps. Our motivation is that we’ll end up spending more money when we’re out to eat so we might as well
    Make a list of your go-to recipes – what you know and are not intimidated by and then maybe introduce 1 new meal a week. I like trying new meals on Sunday evenings (just because I have more time and there’s no rush to get other things done).
    We constantly use green peppers and onion (red or white) in everything so we always have those (they’re good in scrambled eggs, too!) and my biggest challenge/goal is eating more vegetables.
    I’ve been trying to eat more protein so I’ll eat cottage cheese or string cheese and fruit in the morning.

    The crockpot is always great – leftovers that I don’t mind eating :)
    And against what is currently popular, I save my recipes on delicious (not pinterest): http://delicious.com/baileydereus/recipe I haven’t used all of them but I at least think they’re doable!

    • Molly Shaw says:

      I make breakfast burritos by the dozen and freeze them. You can pull them out one by one and microwave them or put them in the oven while you get ready. I just wrap them in parchment paper so they go in to either nicely!

    • Debbi says:

      Thanks! We need to use the crockpot more. I don’t love leftovers, but I’m going to have to learn to like them. I’ll check out your delicious link.

  2. Megan Stuke says:

    I’m here to help! I really really am!! First, start reading The Flying Fork on Lawrence.com or in Thursday’s Pulse. I mean it. I’m on the healthy eating train, bigtime. I’m a full time working mom and freelancer with a 2 year old and a Meat and Potatoes husband, so I know what challenges await you. I’ve learned to cook things that my husband likes, that are still “normal” and healthy and delicious and FAST. FAST is key.

    Most of what I publish on The Flying Fork is dinner or maybe lunch stuff, but if you visit my Flying Fork facebook page there are loads of ideas for snacks, breakfasts, other meals…

    For me, breakfast = an eggbeater omelet with pico de gallo, mushrooms, and a tiny bit of Hormel bacon crumbles (the real stuff, in the bag). It’s 2 weight watcher points. Don’t use any grease or butter – use Pam.

    I eat snacks of fruit and occasionally nuts. Don’t overdo the nuts. They have good fat, but they are high cal.

    Lunch for me is usually a Hilary’s Eat Well veggie burger (Local burger distributes them – can get at Merc or Hy Vee) on an Orowheat Sandwich Thin with BBQ sauce and some onion. Steamed veggies on the side, usually with soy sauce because I love love love soy sauce.

    Dinner, well, you can see on Lawrence.com what dinner is like. Yum.

    Good luck! I’ve lost 20 lbs in 9 weeks eating like this and I feel like a million bucks – and I’m not hungry!

  3. Megan Stuke says:

    As for shopping: Planning is really key, and it takes time, which sucks. But I spend $90 a week on food for our family, including cleaning supplies, etc. That’s not bad. I use the Dillon’s and Checker’s circulars, see who has things on sale that appeal to me, and I build our weekly menu around what is on special that week. I do it weekly, because if I try to plan too far out, I may not like what I had planned for our dinner 10 days ago, and we lose sight of the prize and end up eating Totinos. 😉

    • Debbi says:

      Megan, thanks for the tips! I’ll spend more time on the Flying Fork and check out the recipes. Your situation is very similar to mine- substitute the 2 year old for a 3 month old- so hopefully I can learn something. Planning is the hard part.

  4. I’ll echo Bailey’s sentiment! You can do it, just take it one day at a time. If you slip don’t get discouraged, just make better choices for your very next meal.

    Since I’m Pinterest obsessed you’ll find a bunch of my favorites here:
    http://pinterest.com/skscoular/food/

    but I also store a lot of my personal recipes here:
    https://docs.google.com/open?id=0B_Y04II2DbhRMzIwNDYxMzEtMjQ0My00M2I4LTgzZGEtNWJkYmFlZmM4Nzg3

    skinnytaste.com is another resource I use frequently.

    The key to my success has been devoting Sundays to menu planning, list making, grocery shopping and preparation. If I don’t do it on Sunday it doesn’t happen. So I troll my coupons, decide what’s on sale and build my menus around that. I also include my lunches in the plan. I like making bean and veggie salads that I can use multiple ways throughout the week (as a salad, wrap, top baked potatoes or rice, etc) and pre-portion them so I can just grab and go throughout the week. Soups are also perfect for this! For dinners I usually plan big enough meals that I only have to cook 3 times max and we eat leftovers the other nights.

    Good luck, you can do it!

    • Debbi says:

      Thanks Sarah- you are actually a lot of the inspiration behind this. I’ve known for a long time we needed to eat better and quit spending so much money eating out, but after reading your numbers blog recently I decided I needed to quit thinking about it and do something. I’ll check out your recipes, thanks!

      • Awesome! I’m so glad you’ve found value in my blog, I always hope to inspire rather than come across as preachy. Not only does eating well help your wallet and your waistline, it really truly helps your mentality. My family is happier as a whole because we just feel good when we eat well.

  5. Dave Zimmerman says:

    I wish you luck in your endeavor, it is a noble one and something we have tried for a while to do consistently. We started by using more local items (things we’ve grown in our garden, farmers market, locally acquired game and meat…) and it helps. Also its amazing how you can easily cook alot of foods without oils, fats, or grease and by using some herbs or basic seasoning get great tasting food! Baking fish filets with rosemary sprigs tucked through them or using dill makes the flavors go through the food and you didnt need butter or frying. Another thing we do is make sure to make extras, then while your putting it away and cleaning up, put some in easy to heat up containers that you can take to work. For a while I was using those plastic divided trays with lids and cooking all my proteins one day, then packaging them with 2 veggies or a veggie and a starch and having lunches for the entire week. Not only is it healthier than running out, but its cheaper too.
    Last time would be like others have said, baby steps and dont just dive head-first into this. Use the grill, crock pot, and foreman if you have too, all are easy way to cook and get great flavor without having to use fats and oils. If your trying to get Dave to eat breakfast, grill up some steak and veggies, chop into smaller bits, and have them in containers with scrambled eggs ready to throw in a skillet. It takes 5 minutes at most and you get a hot filling healthy meal for a growing boy (or in this case a boy who has grown enough).

    Good luck and if you two need anything local let me know!

    • Debbi says:

      Thanks David! My garden has been a bust the past couple of years, I don’t know why, so I might take a break from it this year and just go to the farmers’ market instead. I don’t know if I can get Dave to eat breakfast, but we’ll see!

  6. Kate says:

    This recipe is money. We have had it multiple times without the white sauce on the top and sometimes just as burritos without making it in the enchilada pan. Enjoy!
    http://vegweb.com/index.php?topic=29233.0

  7. Trina Baker says:

    My favorite site for recipes is http://www.eatbetteramerica.com. The recipes are great and you can search by dietary needs. I would also suggest an iPhone app for shopping. Right now my favorite is Grocery IQ. Good luck mama :)

  8. Sharon Doornbos says:

    I have made and printed off my own grocery list for a while now. I put everything on it we use and then that way I can cross off the things that we don’t need at the time. It makes it much easier to remember to check everything rather than trying to remember off the top of my head what I need. I shop Walmart and Dillons so I have one side of the paper per store. I’ve recently added a list of suppers we like to have, then its all right there on one paper and we don’t keep making the same things over and over again, I figure out how many days of suppers I will need and then start picking what we want to fix. I’ve decided I need to add a list of ingredients, including how many pounds of meat, for each because I’m forgeting things. Walmart and Dillons are 30 minutes away and I just don’t have the big bucks to shop at our local store, many times I have paid triple Dillons or Walmarts prices here in town!

    Some people don’t realize how many things you can freeze. Although you may not have the commute I do for the store it’s still nice to know especially if you get back into a kick of not eatting or eatting out. You can freeze bread, buns, Cheese, and recently I started freezing milk, because at 2.88 a gallon vs. $4 buying 3 gallons and freezing them saves us a good $1 each and we have 3 growing boys that think a gallon of milk a day is no big deal!! I’m thinking I’m going to have to figure in a Milk budget like you would gas for your vehicle!

    I have some good recipes we like let me know if any sounds good, mexican cornbread, pork loin roast, easy stew, oven baked chicken fajitas, mexican goulash, potatoes onions & sausage (which is just what it is rope sausage and fry it),cripple turkey special (family name, Lol). Robyn has a wonderful really pretty simple chicken pot pie but I have forgotten the recipe. Some simple things we use jalapenos and onions with a little bit of cayenne pepper for tacos rather than the taco seasoning packets, dry onion soup mix mixed in you hamburger patties you don’t even have to have it on a bun it’s delicious with liptons mushroom rice.

    Some things to think about we always use olive oil to cook with, its better for you and Sams has the cheapest, and if you haven’t done it already ground turkey really isn’t that bad we have started using it, sometimes I will put in both ground turkey and beef. My husband was raised on a ranch and he is pleasantly surprised that he doesn’t mind it! lol We also like to use kosher salt and sea salt, kosher is nice to cook with and sea salt is better for you and that’s what we have in the table salt shaker.

    There! Probably more info than you ever wanted, but once I get going its hard to stop, lol.

  9. Sharon Doornbos says:

    Another idea for recipes is The Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond. She’s down around Pawhuska, OK. She has a website and 2 cookbooks her cookbooks have very down to earth recipes, while they may not be supper healthy it is better than eatting out. I know exactly what you mean about cookbooks!

    • Debbi says:

      Thanks for the tips! I’ve heard good things about Pioneer Woman, my sister loves her recipes. All of your recipes sound good, especially the baked chicken fajitas. I’d love to have any recipes you want to share! And I’ve been freezing things, especially shredded cheese when I get a really great deal on it.

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