Every so often I like to feature recipes I have come across that are quick, easy, and inexpensive. With a four-month old at home and an endless to-do list at work, I certainly don't have time to waste. While many of us value well-rounded entrees, time is often the limiting factor. So here are 3 of my favorites. I make these in my very own kitchen on a regular basis because they are just so delicious that you would never know they could also be good for you. Drum roll please.......
Breakfast: Power Packed Breakfast Cookies
Make a batch of these ahead of time, wrap individually in saran wrap and throw in the freezer. In the morning grab one, remove saran wrap, pop in the microwave for 10 seconds (or not) and pair with a Greek yogurt or one hard-boiled egg (make those ahead of time too). Pair with a cup of coffee because it is just so delicious. In fact, dunk in coffee for added goodness. Mmmmm....
2 large eggs
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup canola oil or applesauce
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup dried cherries or other dried fruit
1/3 cup raisins, seedless
1.5 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup raw oats (either quick or old-fashioned will work)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup sliced almonds or chopped walnuts
1/3 cup chocolate chips (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl, lightly beat egg. Stir in brown sugar and oil. Add spices and dried fruit. Mix.
In a medium bowl, combine all remaining ingredients.
Gently stir flour mixture into egg mixture until everything is just combined (be care not to overmix).
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or spray with non-stock oil. Drop 2 tablespoons cookie dough each about 2 inches apart. Gently flatten with damp hands (rinse in water) to assure more even cooking.
Bake for 8-10 minutes or until set and very lightly browned at the edges.
Yield: 16 cookies
Source: I can't remember, but I would surely thank them if I knew.
Lunch: Quinoa Tabbouleh
In light of typing this entire recipe, I will defer you to its source and my newest obsession: Budget Bytes. Click on the title above to get there. This blog is fantastic. Each recipe's items are listed along with prices to prove that each is healthy, yet affordable. Her motto is "my wallet is full and my stomach is too". Love her recipes; every one I have tried thus far is easy and delicious. One caution about this particular recipe: it only lasts a few days due to the fresh veggies. So, make enough to have for 2-3 lunches or you might try keeping the dressing to the side and adding when you are ready to enjoy to help everything last longer.
Dinner: Chicken Fried Rice with Vegetables
I love this recipe because it uses one of my best friends: frozen veggies. If you don't have chicken on hand (did you know you can freeze already cooked chicken to use for later???), you can also grab a rotisserie chicken at the store if you are super short on time. Or try cooking chicken in the crock pot while you are at work so it is ready to go when you arrive home. And invest in a rice cooker. Another great "set it and forget it" kitchen appliance. This is hands-down one of my quickest recipes that doesn't taste like it.
1 12-oz skinless, boneless chicken breast half, chopped
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce (or 4 teaspoons Worchestire sauce + 2 teaspoons water)
1 teaspoon oil (sesame if you got it - otherwise canola or olive oil is fine)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup chopped onion (about 1 medium or 1/2 large onion)
1/2 of 10-oz package frozen mixed vegetables, thawed (or just use the whole package like me - I love my veggies)
4 cups cooked brown rice
3 large eggs
Pepper to taste
In a bowl, toss chicken with soy sauce and the 1 teaspoon of oil. Cover; let stand/marinate for 10 minutes.
Warm a skillet over medium-high heat. Stir-fry chicken and marinade until cooked
through (about 4 minutes). Transfer chicken to a plate.
Warm vegetable oil in that same skillet over medium heat. Saute onion for 3 minutes. Add mixed vegetables; saute for 1 minute. Increase heat to medium-high; stir in rice and cook for 3 minutes.
Form a well in the rice mixture. Add eggs to well; scramble just until soft. Mix into rice and season dish with pepper.
Let cook undisturbed until a crust forms (about 1 minute). Turn rice with a spatula. Repeat until rice is uniformly golden. Add chicken and stir to combine.
Yield: 4 servings
Source: All You Magazine
Katie Davis MS, RD, CSSD, LDN is a board-certified specialist in sports nutrition and owner of RDKate Sports Nutrition, based out of Naperville. She helps ordinary athletes becomes extraordinary competitors using food to improve sport performance. She specializes in sports nutrition and the treatment of eating disorders and disordered eating. Visit her website for more information: www.RDKate.com