Monday, February 27, 2012

Simple, Healthy Recipes for a Busy Schedule

By Stephanie of Infinite Life Fitness

The second I wake up in the morning, the first thing that runs through my mind is the long list of things that I need to try to get done that day. That includes fitting in my working out and trying to eat/snack on HEALTHY things.

With busy schedules, that may be tough some days. What are some suggestions to help with this problem? Plan a cooking day. I have one (or two days depending on the week) that I will cook a few things and divide them up into the right portion sizes and put them in Tupperware in my refrigerator. This helps me out by allowing me the option to have several things ready when I am in a hurry and need to grab dinner or lunch. If you make two or three recipes (and most recipes have a serving size of 4-6) this will give you PLENTY of meals for that week. I also make a few so that I am not eating the same thing each day. I will also try to make things that I can slightly change from meal to meal. By adding pasta, rice, a salad, or something else I can give the meal a slightly different look and taste.

Here are a few examples of some simple, healthy, and non-expensive meals that you can make for your menu:

Chicken Piccata with Pasta & Mushrooms

4 servings
Active Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

• 6 ounces whole-wheat angel hair pasta
• 1/3 cup all-purpose flour, divided
• 2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
• 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
• 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
• 4 chicken cutlets, (3/4-1 pound total), trimmed
• 3 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
• 1 10-ounce package mushrooms, sliced
• 3 large cloves garlic, minced
• 1/2 cup white wine
• 2 tablespoons lemon juice
• 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
• 2 tablespoons capers, rinsed
• 2 teaspoons butter

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until just tender, 4 to 6 minutes or according to package directions. Drain and rinse.
  2. Meanwhile, whisk 5 teaspoons flour and broth in a small bowl until smooth. Place the remaining flour in a shallow dish. Season chicken with 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper and dredge both sides in the flour. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook until browned and no longer pink in the middle, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate; cover and keep warm.
  3. Heat the remaining 1 teaspoon oil in the pan over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring, until they release their juices and begin to brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Add garlic and wine to the pan and cook until reduced by half, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the reserved broth-flour mixture, lemon juice and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring, until the sauce is thickened, about 5 minutes.
  4. Stir in parsley, capers, butter and the reserved mushrooms. Measure out 1/2 cup of the mushroom sauce. Toss the pasta in the pan with the remaining sauce. Serve the pasta topped with the chicken and the reserved sauce.

Per serving: 397 calories; 9 g fat ( 3 g sat , 3 g mono ); 54 mg cholesterol; 45 g carbohydrates; 0 g added sugars; 28 g protein; 5 g fiber; 544 mg sodium; 609 mg potassium.

Inside-Out Lasagna

4 servings, about 1 1/2 cups each
Active Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

• 8 ounces whole-wheat rotini or fusilli
• 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 onion, chopped
• 3 cloves cloves garlic, sliced
• 8 ounces sliced white mushrooms (about 3 1/2 cups)
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
• 1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes with Italian herbs
• 8 cups baby spinach
• 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)
• 3/4 cup part-skim ricotta cheese

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add pasta; cook until just tender, 8 to 10 minutes or according to package directions. Drain and transfer to a large bowl.
  2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring, until soft and beginning to brown, about 3 minutes. Add mushrooms, salt and pepper and cook, stirring, until the mushrooms release their liquid, 4 to 6 minutes.
  3. Add tomatoes, spinach and crushed red pepper (if using). Increase heat to medium-high; cook, stirring once halfway through, until the spinach is wilted, about 4 minutes.
  4. Toss the sauce with the pasta and divide among 4 bowls. Dollop each serving with 3 tablespoons of ricotta.

Per serving: 364 calories; 9 g fat ( 3 g sat , 4 g mono ); 14 mg cholesterol; 55 g carbohydrates; 0 g added sugars; 16 g protein; 7 g fiber; 588 mg sodium; 786 mg potassium.

Turkey & Tomato Panini

4 servings
Active Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

• 3 tablespoons reduced-fat mayonnaise
• 2 tablespoons nonfat plain yogurt
• 2 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese
• 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
• 1 teaspoon lemon juice
• Freshly ground pepper, to taste
• 8 slices whole-wheat bread
• 8 ounces thinly sliced reduced-sodium deli turkey
• 8 tomato slices
• 2 teaspoons canola oil

  1. Have four 15-ounce cans and a medium skillet (not nonstick) ready by the stove.
  2. Combine mayonnaise, yogurt, Parmesan, basil, lemon juice and pepper in a small bowl. Spread about 2 teaspoons of the mixture on each slice of bread. Divide turkey and tomato slices among 4 slices of bread; top with the remaining bread.
  3. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Place 2 panini in the pan. Place the medium skillet on top of the panini, then weight it down with the cans. Cook the panini until golden on one side, about 2 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low, flip the panini, replace the top skillet and cans, and cook until the second side is golden, 1 to 3 minutes more. Repeat with another 1 teaspoon oil and the remaining panini.

Per serving: 286 calories; 6 g fat ( 1 g sat , 3 g mono ); 27 mg cholesterol; 36 g carbohydrates; 10 g protein; 5 g fiber; 681 mg sodium; 136 mg potassium.

A good tip would be to figure out a few recipes that you would like to try out. Make your menu before you go to the grocery store so you can get the items that you need to cook for these meals. And you can always substitute certain veggies and other ingredients with other things that you like. It is also nice to add and change some recipes to suit your personal taste.

Hope that these were some helpful tips!
Please don’t forget to check out my health and fitness blog for more tips!


Kola said...

i am STARVING after reading this! Lol

Loo said...

@Kola: I'm not going to lie. This post made me hungry too. :o)

vonnie (socialitedreams) said... all looks DELICIOUS

mskraizy said...

All of this looks so yummy!!! Specially the tomato panini!