Clean Eating simplified
Do you want to eat better? Learn to cook. Learn about clean eating. Wait! Before you click away from this blog in abject terror, let me explain….
Cooking for yourself is completely different from being a chef at a 5-star restaurant. Forget the Food Channel; forget Iron Chef or Hell’s Kitchen. Anyone can cook. It doesn’t even take that much preparation. What you want to do is take healthy foods, mix them up, heat them up, and add a few spices – I’m talking salt, pepper & oregano, not coriander, turmeric, and marjoram!
Tonight, for example, I came home from work – tired – and tried to think of what to have for dinner. No clean eating food choices are thawing on the counter. I didn’t make 5 days of food on Sunday to put in neat little packages in my fridge. I’m winging it. A box of Cappello’s Gluten Free Fettucini has been taunting me every time I look in the freezer. I have a bag of spinach in the fridge, a few onions, and a jar of crushed garlic. I checked the pantry – yes, I have a can of tomatoes. Sauce it is!
Was I going to cook this from memory? Nope. I pulled out Betty Crocker (the cookbook, not the cake mix) and looked over her recipe for spaghetti & meatballs. I am so not making meatballs – too much effort! But tossing ingredients in a pot and letting it simmer? I’m all into that!
Here’s the key to a good sauce – not chef quality, but tasty and hearty – DON’T MEASURE. Who wants to measure “about 1 cup of onions”? Just eyeball the most likely onion in your fridge and chop it up. And I’m not taking my 28 oz can of tomatoes and measuring out 16 oz (what am I supposed to do with the extra 12 oz?) – I just pour it all in. I use the spices I have on hand, ignore the sugar it calls for, and let it simmer. Once it’s cooked, I’ll “adjust the spices” if I need to (add more salt, add more oregano…). Healthy dinner recipes don’t have to be complicated. Yes, it’s okay if you like more basil or pepper in your sauce – go ahead, add some more!
What am I doing with the spinach I mentioned back in the 4th paragraph? I’m going to wash it, stick it in a frying pan with a little olive oil, and let it wilt for about 2 minutes. It’s a great add-in: my kids won’t eat it, but my husband and I will add it to our bowls of pasta for a little extra iron.
I decided I’d feel guilty not making a salad for my family. (No panicking: wash lettuce (ugh), cut some vegetables – cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, carrots – and you’re done). Want the easiest healthy salad dressing in the world? 2 teaspoons of olive oil to 1 teaspoon of balsamic vinegar. That’s it. Basic clean eating through simple healthy dinner recipes. Adding salt & pepper is optional…sometimes I add garlic salt instead of the regular stuff. (By the way, if tonight was Friday, there’s no way a salad would make it to the table!)
So the sauce is on the stove. I’m writing a blog. And I’m thinking about when to put the water on for the pasta. There’s a very healthy dinner that I just “threw together” when I was tired. In fact, it’s taking me longer to blog than it is to cook – and it would take me much longer to have a pizza delivered! Gotta run – I’m hungry!
PS – here’s the final product…and it was tasty!!