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Simple Meals for Two

 

Simple Meals for Two

There are common misconceptions around healthy eating that I hear often – it takes too much time, it’s too complicated and it’s hard to cook for just one or two. On the contrary, I pride myself and my kitchen skills on the fact that our meals often take 30 minutes or less, and the ingredient lists stay short and simple! The recipe for this success involves keeping a bundle of fresh produce on-hand, and knowing what staples make up a balanced meal. I always have seasonal fruits and vegetables, lean proteins (cooked beans, fish, tofu, etc.), grains, oils and herbs/spices to choose from.

You’ll always find these things in my cabinets:

Cans –
Cooked beans:  black, garbanzo & kidney
Salmon, tuna
Organic diced tomatoes, tomato paste
Lite coconut milk

Grains –
Rice: brown, wild, arborio
Quinoa
Pastas
Oatmeal

Oils – Olive, Canola, Sesame, Grapeseed

Dried herbs/spices – basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary, cumin, chile powder, ground red pepper, salt/pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves

When it’s time to start cooking for any meal,  just think  of what will make up each nutrient – protein, carbohydrate, healthy fat. Once those three blanks are filled, add in some extra veggies and/or fruits and seasoning, and you’ve got a recipe.

The following recipes are staples in my simple-meal repertoire. They’re portioned out for two, perfect for any weeknight dinner, a picnic date or to have enough for lunch leftovers the next day.

Black Bean & Sweet Potato Tacos
Black Bean & Sweet Potato Tacos

Black Bean & Sweet Potato Tacos

1.5 cup black beans, drained & rinsed
½ cup sweet onion, chopped
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cubed into 1 in. pieces
½  avocado, peeled and sliced
1 Tbsp olive oil, divided
¼ cup low-sodium vegetable broth
4-6 corn tortillas
Optional seasonings: cumin, salt/pepper to taste
Optional toppings: salsa, shredded mozzarella or cheddar cheese

Heat ½ Tbsp olive oil over medium heat in a deep sauté pan; add onions, sweet potato and vegetable broth. Mix well and cook until vegetables are softened, seasoning to taste. Add black beans and stir to heat the mixture through. Turn off heat and let sit.

Meanwhile, in a small sauté pan heat remaining ½ tbsp oil; add one tortilla at a time, cooking 1-2 minutes or each side, until lightly brown and crispy. Fold in half and set aside. Repeat for each tortilla.

Once your taco “shells” are ready, scoop in your bean and sweet potato mixture and add avocado slices and/or optional toppings.

Basil Tofu Pesto & Pasta

Basil Tofu Pesto & Pasta
Basil Tofu Pesto & Pasta Ingredients

4-6 oz brown rice pasta* noodles (3-4 servings), cooked & chilled
1 Tbsp olive oil, divided
1/2 block extra firm {sprouted} tofu, drained
1/4 cup raw pecans
1 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
Salt & pepper to taste
Splash of unsweetened Almond milk**

Optional add-in: steamed kale leaves, or other greens (spinach, mustard, etc.)
*Use any noodle/pasta you have on hand.
**Or other milk substitute (soy, rice, etc)

Before chilling the pasta, stir in 1/2 Tbsp olive oil and season with pepper.

Slice tofu block into pieces; add to food processor with pecans, basil leaves and salt/pepper. Pulse for 2-3 minutes. Drizzle remaining 1/2Tbsp oil and add in a splash of Almond milk (or other milk substitute). Continue pulsing for an additional ~3 minutes, until reaching a smooth, creamy texture. Stir tofu basil pesto with pasta to coat and mix together. Add in steamed greens.

Summer Strawberry & Chickpea Salad
Measurements up to you –make as much or as little as you need.

Strawberries, sliced
Cucumber, halved (lengthwise) & sliced
Pecans, crushed
Chickpeas*, cooked & rinsed

Canned Skinless & Boneless Salmon
Salad greens – raw arugula & spinach leaves
Fresh basil leaves, chopped
Black Pepper
Balsamic Vinaigrette

*Optional protein substitutes: tofu (cubed and sautéed in olive oil), canned tuna, grilled chicken or shrimp.

Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl, toss & enjoy!

With that, you’ve got almost half of your week planned out, and simply doubling any of the above will leave you with one night off and leftovers to hold you over. Dine on!

About Guest Blogger Heather Calcote:

Heather Calcote is a registered dietitian (RD) in Corporate Wellness, based out of Washington, DC. Through an active lifestyle she began to value a filling, simple & quick meal. Her work in nutrition focuses on weight maintenance, plant-based diets, endurance training and lifestyle management. She posts recipes, healthy-eating tips, training anecdotes on her blog, Dietitian on the Run.

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4 Comments on “Simple Meals for Two”

  1. Pingback: Simple Meals for Two | Nutritious | | BeeWell For Life | Healthy Easy Cooking

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