A foodie's quest to turn up the heat through strength and conditioning with whole food and a hungry mind.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Avoid Recipe Monotony

What are some of your staple meals you seem to eat/make a lot of each week? Feeling a little tired of making the same thing but not sure of any other recipes? Well, try using the same recipe but change up the ingredients for a newer, healthier meal!

I am big on using a recipe for a starting point, but then using different, more nutritious ingredients to keep things interesting and create a whole new recipe. Just like rules are meant to be broken, recipes are meant to be changed….er…“customized”…. if you will. Not only will this prevent boredom and burnout from the same foods, you’ll benefit from the different vitamins and nutrients provided in your new creations. This goes along with my eating seasonal post a while back.

With the countless recipes floating around today, I will only give a few examples of some ways to change up common old favorites. Take this as a starting point and just go crazy with your own changes…..you never know until you try. Just keep a notepad nearby and jot down your changes and how you (and anyone daring enough to try it) liked what you created.

Mashed Potatoes - Try pureed acorn or butternut squash, or even cauliflower. Just steam in the microwave or roast in the oven, add some chicken stock and non-fat plain yogurt along with salt and pepper, then puree in a food processor. Viola! Creamy, tasty goodness that’s low in calories but high in nutrition. Toss in some garlic cloves for even more flavor.

Mac and Cheese – It’s hard to let go of this staple (I know), even more so if you have little mouths to feed (I don’t know…..yet). Here’s a recipe using cauliflower in place of some of the heavier dairy ingredients. The link provides detailed pictures and a way your little ones (if you have any) can participate.

Lasagna – Make it Mexican by using corn tortillas in place of noodles and pureed black or pinto beans along with diced tomatoes, peppers, and any other veggies for the layers. If you’re a fan of the Italian version, try using zucchini sliced lengthwise in place of noodles. Before using them as layers, just slice into strips and bake in a 425 degree oven for 15 – 20 minutes to firm them up.

Spaghetti – Pasta, although pretty tasty, can get old since it’s used in so many dishes. Try cooking a Spaghetti squash in the oven or microwave and using in place of noodles with your favorite tomato sauce. Add in some spinach and cooked ground beef, scallops, beans or any other protein you like to intensify this meal.

Rice and Beans – Another great dish that’s like a blank slate to add ingredients as you see fit. What? You already use brown instead of white rice? Well, that’s nice, but forget the rice and use quinoa, millet, or barley instead. Black or red beans are always great, but so are Adzuki and Anasazi beans. Make it more nutritious and bulk up your meal with wholesome veggies like tomatoes, peppers, carrots, summer squash, etc. Try using the recipe from this blog to make Adzuki beans and rice.

Here are some other quick ideas to make your meals healthier without sacrificing flavor:

• Salsa as salad dressing
• Mustard instead of mayo (really good when used for a yellow potato salad)
• Plain non-fat yogurt instead of sour cream on baked potatoes or mixed into avocado for guacamole
• Applesauce, pureed squash, mashed beans, low fat cottage cheese, or mashed bananas in place of oil and sugar in baking recipes
• Try an all-natural, no calorie sweetener like Stevia in place of sugar.  Check out the Oats and Spice blog for a chance to win some NuNaturals Stevia and start enjoying today!
• Puree broth based soups for a creamy texture that goes great with crusty whole grain bread for dipping
• In a sauce pan, cook spinach, peppers, broccoli, garlic, onions, tomatoes, carrots, squash, or any of your favorite veggies with some chicken broth (not too much!), any spices, and lentils for good protein. Once cooked, puree with an immersion or standing blender adding plain non-fat yogurt or broth a tablespoon at a time to get things moving as needed. This is a great homemade dip you can customize to your liking and maybe get the kids (and grown-ups) to eat their veggies.

Check out this link for a list of healthy ingredient substitutes.

Hope you are inspired to try customizing some of your own staple meals to come up with something totally different but equally flavorful. If you’re revised recipe seems to come up short on flavor, I only have on suggestion……Just Add Cayenne!

No comments:

Post a Comment