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Easy Healthy Cooking for Busy People Part Five: Getting Started

Easy Healthy Cooking for Busy People Part Five: Getting Started

If you look at your weekly schedule, when do you think you’ll plan your meals for the upcoming week?

When do you think you’ll go shopping and how often? And what will you do to prepare your meals in advance or to make meal preparation easier at meal time? It makes sense to start thinking about those things now. Consider how you’ll organize your recipes; make your lists and what tools and technologies you’ll leverage.

We’ve started things off for you by creating a sample weekly menu along with the recipes and a shopping list. You can use this guideline to help you get started on your first week and as a template for future weeks. We’ve divided the menu by days and included 3 meals a day with one snack. You can, of course, change your meal plan however it best suits you and your needs and goals.

Sample Weekly Menu

Monday:

  • Breakfast: Baked egg cups with egg, cheese, and spinach or broccoli. Side of sliced fruit.
  • Lunch: Chicken salad on mixed greens with a whole grain roll.
  • Dinner: Cabbage and beef enchiladas topped with avocado.
  • Snack: Edamame

Tuesday:

  • Breakfast: Whole grain waffle with fresh fruit
  • Lunch: Leftover enchiladas
  • Dinner: Slow cooker hoisin pork roast, sweet potatoes and kale salad
  • Snack: Greek yogurt with fresh fruit

Wednesday:

  • Breakfast: Fruit and yogurt smoothie
  • Lunch: Left over slow cooker pork sandwiches
  • Dinner: Curried chicken casserole with carrot salad
  • Snack: Snack mix, dried nuts and fruit

Thursday:

  • Breakfast: Baked egg cups with egg, cheese, and spinach or broccoli. Side of sliced fruit.
  • Lunch: Leftover curried chicken casserole
  • Dinner: Arugula salad and mini meat loaves
  • Snack: Kale chips

Friday:

  • Breakfast: Whole grain waffle with fresh fruit
  • Lunch: leftover mini-meatloaves and arugula salad
  • Dinner: Black Bean Quinoa Salad with Lemon Dressing
  • Snack: Banana and nut butter

Saturday:

  • Breakfast: Fruit and Yogurt smoothie
  • Lunch: Quinoa salad leftovers
  • Dinner: Butternut, bacon, and apple soup
  • Snack: Fresh veggies and hummus

Sunday:

  • Breakfast: Whole grain and fruit muffins
  • Lunch: Soup leftovers
  • Dinner: Roast chicken, roasted broccoli, and brown rice
  • Snack: Summer fruit salad 

Easy Healthy Cooking for Busy People Part Five: Getting Started

Some Sample Recipes to Get You Started

Baked Egg Cups

Makes 12 individual cups

Ingredients:

  • 5 eggs
  • Splash of milk
  • 1 (10 oz) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 2 chopped scallions
  • 1 cup shredded cheese of your choice (you can also use feta or goat cheese)
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375F. Spray a 12-cup muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray. In a bowl, add the eggs and milk and whisk until blended. Season with salt and pepper

Evenly distribute spinach and scallions in muffin cups, adding the egg mixture on top. Sprinkle some cheese on top of the eggs.

Bake for about 20-25 minutes, or until well set and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Serve immediately.

Egg cups can be frozen for up to one month using plastic wrap and freezer bags. Simply warm them in the microwave before serving.

Chicken Salad

Ingredients:

  • Whole chicken for roasting (Use a store-bought roasted chicken to save time.)
  • Thyme
  • Mixed greens (freshly cut or pre-mixed bagged)
  • Whole grain rolls (for pork sandwiches later in the week too)
  • Edamame
  • Seeds, nuts, fresh or dried fruit (optional)
  • Vinaigrette salad dressing (optional)
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Directions

Preheat the oven to 450°F. Rinse the chicken & dry it very well with paper towels, inside and out. The less it steams, the better.

Salt and pepper the cavity, then truss the bird to help the chicken to cook evenly.

Place chicken in roasting pan and salt and pepper it. Roast 50 to 60 minutes or until it’s done. Remove from the oven and sprinkle juices with thyme. Allow it to sit about 5 minutes. Remove the twine and then baste the chicken with the juices. Let it rest on a cutting board for 15 minutes. Slice into desired thickness.

Wash and dry the mixed greens and edamame, then add to a large bowl. Top with chicken. Add your favorite seeds, nuts, fresh or dried fruit if desired. If using salad dressing, add a small amount and toss.

Serve with whole grain rolls.

Cabbage and Beef Enchiladas

Makes 4 servings

Beef Enchilada Cabbage Rolls

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. Ground Beef
  • 1 Small Onion, Chopped
  • 1 Clove Garlic, Crushed
  • 1 tsp. Celtic Sea Salt
  • 1 tsp. Ground Black Pepper
  • 1 can Enchilada Sauce
  • 1 Medium Head Cabbage
  • 2-4 Small Avocados
  • 1 can enchilada sauce

Directions

In a large stockpot, bring 2 cups of water to a boil.

Remove core from cabbage and very carefully peel off 10-12 leaves. If you do this under running water in the sink, the water will help peel the leaves off without tearing. Place leaves in boiling water and turn off heat.

Place leaves carefully into water. Boil for about 2 minutes or until soft and pliable. Remove from heat. While cabbage is boiling, using a skillet over medium-high heat, fry ground beef, onion, salt and pepper. Remove from heat and add crushed garlic.

Using tongs, carefully remove one cabbage leaf. Fill with beef mixture & roll tightly. Place in a glass baking dish. Repeat with until all leaves and meat are used. Spread enchilada sauce across the top of the rolls and bake at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes.

Top with avocado slices and serve immediately.

Summer Fruit Salad

Makes 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 6 cups mixed seasonal fruit such as pitted and sliced peaches and cherries, watermelon, cantaloupe, blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, kiwi and nectarines
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice

Directions

In a large bowl, combine the sugar, orange juice and lime juice. Add the fruit and toss. Allow salad to sit for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, before serving.

Curried Chicken Casserole

Makes 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 3 teaspoons canola oil, divided
  • 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 14-ounce can reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup low-fat milk
  • 1 10-ounce bag frozen peas (2 cups)
  • 1/4 cup low-fat mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice or cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 slices whole-wheat country bread, crusts removed, cut into 1-inch cubes

Directions

Preheat oven to 400°F. Coat a 9 x 13 baking dish with cooking spray.

In a large skillet over medium heat, heat 2 tablespoons of canola oil. Sprinkle chicken with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Fry thighs until browned on both sides and cooked through, about 8-10 minutes. Transfer to the baking dish. Reserve the drippings in the pan.

Add remaining 1 teaspoon of oil to the pan as well as the sliced onion. Cook about 5 minutes or until softened and light brown. Add the pepper, curry powder, ginger and the remaining 1/4 tsp salt. Stir well and cook for about 1 minute.

Sprinkle mixture with flour and stir to coat. Add broth and milk. Bring to a simmer, stirring constantly for about 2 minutes or until thickened.

Remove from the heat and stir in the mayonnaise and lemon juice (or vinegar). Add the peas and stir. Pour this sauce over the chicken.

In a separate pan over medium heat or in the microwave, melt the butter. Remove from the heat and stir in cubed bread pieces. Toss to coat. Then evenly distribute the bread on top of the casserole.

Bake for 35-40 minutes or until sauce is bubbly and the bread topping is golden brown. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Serve with carrot salad

Fruit and Yogurt Smoothie

Makes 1 serving

Ingredients

  • 2 cups fat-free milk
  • 1 (8-ounce) container vanilla low-fat yogurt
  • 1/2 cup thawed pineapple-orange juice concentrate
  • 2 cups frozen strawberries
  • 1 banana, coarsely chopped

Directions

Using a blender, process all ingredients until smooth, stopping to scrape the sides as needed. Serve immediately.

Kale Chips

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 head kale, washed and thoroughly dried
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Sea salt, for sprinkling

Directions

Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F.

Remove ribs from kale and cut into 1 ½ inch pieces. In a small bowl toss kale and olive oil to coat. Arrange kale in a single layer on a baking sheet and sprinkle with sea salt.

Bake about 20 minutes or until crisp, turning the leaves halfway through.

Whole Grain Waffles

Makes 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 3/4 cups skim milk
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 cup flax seed meal
  • 1/4 cup wheat germ
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Fresh fruit for topping

Directions

In a large bowl, using a fork, whisk the eggs, applesauce, milk, oil and vanilla. Slowly add the remaining ingredients and blend until batter is smooth.

Preheat a waffle iron, and coat with non-stick cooking spray. Pour batter into waffle iron in batches, and cook until crisp and golden brown. Top with fresh fruit. 

Slow Cooker Hoisin Pork Roast

Makes 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup lower-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup hoisin sauce
  • 3 tablespoons ketchup
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons grated peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon five-spice powder
  • 1 (2-pound) boneless pork shoulder (Boston butt), trimmed
  • 1/2 cup fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth

Directions

In a bowl, combine the soy sauce, hoisin sauce, ketchup, honey, garlic, ginger, sesame oil and five-spice. Whisk to blend well. Place sauce in a large Ziploc plastic bag. Carefully add the pork shoulder to the bag and seal. Marinate in refrigerator 2 hours or overnight, turning occasionally.

Place pork and marinade in a slow cooker. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours. Remove pork from slow cooker and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm.

Add the chicken broth to sauce in slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 30 minutes or until sauce thickens. Slice or shred pork with 2 forks; serve with sauce.

Serve with baked sweet potatoes and kale salad

Carrot Salad

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds carrots, peeled and sliced into thick rounds
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons chopped mint
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions

In a pot over medium high heat, add sliced carrots. Add enough water to cover carrots. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until carrots are just tender. When carrots are fork tender, drain well.

While carrots are cooking, in a medium – large bowl add the olive oil, vinegar, mint, garlic, salt and pepper. Whisk until well blended. Add warm carrots to this vinaigrette and let them at room temperature until cooled.

Place in refrigerator to marinade for at least one hour before serving.

Mini Meat Loaves

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 10 ounce ground sirloin
  • 5 ounces lean ground lamb
  • 1/3 cup dry breadcrumbs
  • 1/3 cup grated red onion
  • 3 teaspoons chopped fresh mint
  • 3 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 3/8 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • Non-stick cooking spray

Directions

Preheat oven to 450°.

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and well.

Coat 8 muffin cups with non-stick cooking spray. Divide meat mixture evenly between cups. Bake at 450° for 7 minutes. Then broil on high for 3 minutes.

Serve with arugula salad

Arugula Salad

Ingredients

  • 4 cups baby arugula leaves
  • 1 1/2 cups (1/4-inch-thick) diagonally sliced seeded peeled cucumber
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup plain fat-free Greek yogurt
  • 2 ounces reduced-fat feta, crumbled
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, divided
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh mint
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme

Dressing

Using a food processor, add the yogurt, feta cheese, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, mint and thyme. Pulse about 10 times to combine.

Salad:

In a bowl, add 1 tablespoon lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and the pepper. Stir. Add arugula and cucumber and toss to coat.

Serve immediately with dressing or refrigerate until ready to eat

Black Bean Quinoa Salad with Lemon Dressing

Makes 10 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked quinoa
  • 3 cups organic vegetable broth (such as Swanson Certified Organic)
  • 1 (14-ounce) package reduced-fat firm tofu, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt, divided
  • 1 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 (10-ounce) package frozen baby lima beans
  • 4 cups chopped tomato (about 3 medium)
  • 1/2 cup sliced green onions
  • 1/2 cup chopped carrot
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained

Directions

In a saucepan over medium-high heat, bring quinoa and vegetable broth to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 15 minutes or until quinoa is tender and broth is absorbed. Remove from heat.

Remove moisture from tofu by placing several layers of paper towels on a plate, add the tofu and cover with additional paper towels. Let stand 5 minutes.

Using a large nonstick skillet, over medium-high heat, warm 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the tofu and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Sauté for 9 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from heat and cool completely.

In a large bowl, add 2 tablespoons oil, 1 teaspoon salt, basil, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, sugar, lemon rind, black pepper and garlic. Stir until blended. Carefully stir in cooled quinoa.

Cook lima beans according to package directions; cool completely. Add the lima beans, tofu, and remaining ingredients to quinoa mixture; stir gently to combine.

Cover and store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Whole Grain Fruit Muffins

Makes 12 muffins

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups whole-wheat flour, spooned and leveled
  • 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup flaxseed meal
  • 1/4 cup pecans
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup plain low-fat yogurt
  • 1/2  cup packed light brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange zest, plus 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries or one 8-ounce bag frozen blueberries (can substitute for apples pieces, raspberries or other fruit)

Directions

Heat oven to 375° F. Coat a 12-cup muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray or line with paper liners.

Using a food processor, process the flour, oats, flaxseed meal, pecans, baking powder, baking soda, and salt until finely ground.

In a large bowl, add the remaining ingredients (except the blueberries) and mix well. Add the flour mixture and stir until incorporated – but do not overmix. A few lumps are okay. Carefully fold in the blueberries.

Evenly divide the batter between the muffin cups. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Roasted Chicken with Broccoli & Brown Rice

Ingredients:

  • Whole chicken for roasting (Use a store-bought roasted chicken to save time.)
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Fresh broccoli
  • Uncle Bens Brown Rice (or your own personal favorite)

Directions

Preheat the oven to 450°F. Rinse the chicken & dry it very well with paper towels, inside and out. The less it steams, the better.

Salt and pepper the cavity, then truss the bird to help the chicken to cook evenly.

Place chicken in roasting pan and salt and pepper it. Roast 50 to 60 minutes or until it’s done. Remove from the oven and sprinkle juices with thyme. Allow it to sit about 5 minutes. Remove the twine and then baste the chicken with the juices. Let it rest on a cutting board for 15 minutes. Slice into desired thickness.

Prepare brown rice according to package directions

Cut 1 ½ inch long broccoli florets from stem. Using a saucepan over medium-high heat and a small amount of water, steam florets for 4-7 minutes or until tender.

Serve sliced chicken with a side of brown rice and steamed broccoli. Alternately, create a rice bowl by mixing everything together and adding some of the chicken drippings for additional flavor.

Butternut Bacon & Apple Soup

Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 1 large butternut squash, peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 3 whole carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  • 1/2 pounds raw bacon, chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 small apple, chopped
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup full fat coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1-2 tablespoons cinnamon(taste bud depending, start with 1 and add to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon nutmeg

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit

Using a Ziploc plastic bag, toss the squash and carrots with coconut oil to coat. Arrange them in a baking dish and roast uncovered until tender, about 30- 35 minutes.

In a large stock pot or Dutch oven over medium heat, crisp the bacon. Remove from pan and set aside as garnish.

Add the onion and apple to the bacon drippings and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the roasted squash, carrots, chicken broth, and coconut milk to the sautéed onions and bring to a boil, stirring often. Remove from heat and season with salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

If you prefer a smooth, creamy soup…. Once soup has cooled to a manageable temperature, blend it in a food processor until smooth. You may need to work in small batches to do this. Return soup to the pot and bring it to a simmer to warm it up.

Garnish with bacon

Easy Healthy Cooking for Busy People Part Five: Getting Started

Your Sample Shopping list

Egg cups

  • Eggs
  • Shredded cheddar
  • Fresh spinach/baby spinach or chopped broccoli
  • Seasonal fruit (for several recipes)

 

Chicken salad

  • Whole chicken for roasting
  • Mixed greens
  • Whole grain rolls (for pork sandwiches later in the week too)
  • Edamame

 

Enchiladas

  • Head of cabbage
  • Pound of ground beef
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Chili powder
  • Beef broth
  • Tomato paste
  • Dried oregano, cumin, salt
  • Fresh or frozen edamame
  • 1 can enchilada sauce

 

Waffles

  • Skim milk
  • Canola oil
  • Unsweetened applesauce
  • Vanilla extract
  • Whole wheat pastry flour
  • Flax seed meal
  • Wheat germ
  • All-purpose flour
  • Baking powder
  • Sugar
  • Sweet potatoes or yams
  • Kale, 2 bunches
  • Greek yogurt (for snacks and smoothies)

 

Pork Roast

  • Soy sauce
  • Hoisin sauce
  • Ketchup
  • Honey
  • Minced garlic
  • Grated peeled fresh ginger
  • Dark sesame oil
  • Five-spice powder
  • 1 (2-pound) boneless pork shoulder (boston butt)
  • Chicken broth

 

Curried chicken casserole with carrot salad

  • Carrots
  • Vinegar
  • 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed
  • Onion
  • Curry powder
  • 10-ounce bag frozen peas
  • Mayonnaise
  • Unsalted butter
  • Snack mix, dried nuts and fruit your choice

 

Arugula salad and mini meat loaves

  • 10 ounce ground sirloin
  • 5 ounces lean ground lamb
  • Breadcrumbs
  • Fresh mint and thyme
  • Reduced-fat feta, crumbled

 

Black bean quinoa salad with lemon dressing

  • Uncooked quinoa
  • Vegetable broth
  • Firm tofu
  • Dijon mustard
  • Grated lemon rind
  • Fresh or frozen baby lima beans
  • 3 medium tomatoes
  • Green onions
  • Can black beans
  • Bananas
  • Nut butter

 

Butternut, bacon, and apple soup

  • 1 large butternut squash
  • Coconut oil
  • Bacon
  • Apple
  • Canned coconut milk
  • Cinnamon
  • Nutmeg
  • Snack: veggies, your choice, and hummus. You can buy prepared hummus or make it yourself with tahini, chickpeas, lemon juice, salt, olive oil, and garlic.

 

Roast chicken, roasted broccoli, and brown rice

  • 2 chickens to roast
  • Broccoli
  • Brown rice (box or bag – your choice)

 

Fruit and Yogurt Smoothie

  • Fat-free milk
  • 16 oz vanilla low-fat yogurt
  • Pineapple-orange juice concentrate
  • 4 cups frozen strawberries
  • 2 bananas

 

Summer Fruit Salad

  • 6 cups mixed seasonal fruit: peaches, watermelon, cantaloupe, blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, cherries, kiwi, and nectarines
  • sugar
  • orange juice
  • lime juice

 

Whole Grain Fruit Muffins

  • whole-wheat flour
  • old-fashioned rolled oats
  • flaxseed meal (available at natural-food stores)
  • ¼ cup pecans
  • baking powder
  • baking soda
  • kosher salt
  • 1 cup plain low-fat yogurt
  • light brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • grated orange zest
  • orange juice (1/4 cup)
  • egg
  • pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries or one 8-ounce bag frozen blueberries (can substitute for apples, raspberries or other fruit)

As you can see, a healthy pantry and spice cabinet can eliminate many of the items on this shopping list. Healthy cooking doesn’t have to be complicated. Plan your meals. Make a list, and prepare what you can in advance. All of the meals on the sample weekly menu are recipes that make a lot of food so you can enjoy leftovers. You can make them in advance and leverage your efforts all week long.

I Hope you Enjoy your new healthy cooking lifestyle!

 

 





Health Fitness Gym 2018

 
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