This was the first week for me working full-time hours. All things considered, I didn’t do too badly, but I can see that I am going to be a bit more thoughtful if I don’t want to be overrun with convenience foods and feeling like I can justify eating out a lot more. And just to be clear — I don’t think it’s wrong for anyone to use and enjoy convenience foods, or to eat out as little or as much as you choose. I just know for us it’s harder to be healthy when I start to rely on those two things AND I also know that my stress levels aren’t helped by feeling like I don’t have enough time to cook, which I really enjoy. So I need to be intentional about having things on hand to make quick meals and determine ahead of time what my compromises will be. For instance, I had been making most of our bread and while I don’t want to give that up completely, I think that’s one thing that I don’t need to feel like it’s a requirement, more just something I enjoy.
In addition to the meals listed below, I also picked up a cheese pizza from Aldi one evening and went out with a friend another evening.
Spicy Peanut Noodles with Cabbage
Yum! This is a comfort food that I often forget about and then wonder why I don’t make them more often (although–best for my waistline if I don’t!). I used about a quarter of a head of cabbage that I cooked along with the noodles to add some fiber and ease my mind for what is essentially a one-pot meal of carbs. Also I still have a ton of cabbage on hand from the St. Patrick’s Day sales.
Oven Fajitas with Cilantro Coleslaw
Oven fajitas are a stand-by meal for us, since I usually have chicken breasts in the freezer and peppers and onions in the pantry/fridge. The slaw was so good! It’s very simple — rice vinegar, cilantro, olive oil, salt & pepper. We had the slaw on the fajitas as well as a side for a “taco stand” type meal. Yum!
Cheese Tortellini with Homemade Sauce, Roasted Asparagus
I love having homemade red sauce in the freezer. I really do prefer my homemade sauce to jarred and it’s just as easy to grab a container from the freezer as it is from the pantry. I use tortellini when I feel bad about not wanting to do more than just throw some pasta on a plate and call it good — the filling makes it feel just a bit more substantial and planned, somehow. We had roasted asparagus alongside. I LOVE roasted asparagus. There is still some red sauce in the fridge, so I think I will make Stromboli this week.
“Souped-Up” Ramen Noodles
I love ramen noodles. They are super convenient and fast and make me feel like the main part of the meal is taken care of and somehow it’s just easy to saute some tofu, steam some edamame and prep eggs or other accompaniments to take dried noodles and turn them into something fantastic. Michael made these and we didn’t quite time the noodle prep well so they soaked up quite a bit of broth while he prepped the other things but still, this was so good. Also, Michael is going to take on cooking one of my long days, so that is really nice!
Ham & Cheese Egg Cups, Pineapple
I love egg cups, which I know is starting to be quite the common refrain around here. But I really do. They are quick and convenient and good for any kind of meal you might want — breakfast, lunch, dinner or even a snack. I served these with an amazingly good fresh pineapple, one of my favorite fresh fruits.