As the sands of time pass through the hourglass of life, I find myself trying harder to eat better.
I don’t diet because I have the rebellious tendency to defy them when they get hard or start to annoy me or when I just want a damned cookie. Plus, I don’t have food allergies, really and food and diet shame is a real pet peeve of mine. So I try to eat a sensible mix of things I want and things that I should eat prepared in ways that make me want to eat them.
It doesn’t seem so hard, but I get bored after a while. Bored, bored and so I have tools for when I start to get angry at the soup I’ve been eating all week and demoralized by salad.
It happens to the best of us. Food should not do this to us. Let’s not let food get us down!
Cooking Life Lesson the First: I shop Pinterest for not-boring healthy recipes when I am not bored. That way, when I am bored, I can find inspiration.
Second, I keep it lazy. Generally, when I have gotten bored, it’s because I have been preparing fancy meals at the end of long days and weeks and I am too tired to go on in this breakneck, fast-paced, dangerous way.
Third, leftovers. I want all the possible bang for my buck. This means at least a couple of lunches and perhaps something that can be incorporated into a new meal. Roasted veggies, simple proteins. CHIMICHURRI.
Here are some of my absolute favorite Not-Boring Healthy Recipes:
1. Super-duper Easy Broiled Pork Chops with Roasted Veggies and Chimichurri. (I tend to not take pictures of broiled pork chops, because I can’t make them look delectable, not even on Instagram)
I don’t remember where I got this technique and I know for sure it’s not something I thought of all by myself, but I am unable to find reference to it after some intense Googling and muttering to myself about pork chops in my cubicle.
Anyhoo, charming back story: My mother could not cook pork to save her life. It always, ALWAYS turned out tough and after years of trying, she gave it up. After my run-in with the most insanely easy technique ever (and alas, no one to credit), she still doesn’t make them. But I single handedly reversed years of terrible pork chop ju-ju and never got them wrong again:
- Put pork chops (this recipe is for a medium-sized cut) in one layer on a baking sheet. I like to make a bunch at once.
- Salt both sides heavily
- Cover with plastic wrap and let sit while you prepare the rest of your meal (30 minutes to an hour).
- Rinse salt off, pat dry, DO NOT season with salt. Pepper, maybe but no salt. Are you crazy or somethin’ ?
- Depending on the thickness, broil for 8 minutes on one side and 12 on the other.
- Let sit, covered with foil for 10 minutes.
- Enjoy leftovers whole or chopped in salads, scrambles, sandwich wraps, stir-frys…I mean, really.
A recipe with built-in prep time is a beautiful thing. So meanwhile, we chop up some broccoli and cauliflower, beets, zucchini, whatever, but definitely roasted garlic. Roasted garlic is widely known and accepted to be the very best thing known to man.
- Chop uniformily
- Cover in salt/ pepper/ olive oil
- Roast for 40 or so minutes at 350
- Enjoy leftovers in salads, scrambles, sandwich wraps, stir-frys…And with that roasted garlic, you are only limited by your imagination. I can’t think of a time when it would be a bad thing to have around.
This last part only involves a blender. It’s chimichurri. Say it a couple of times, it’s really fun and it sounds remarkably like “chupacabra.” Here is a precise recipe for you, but basically you:
- Dump parsley, garlic, oregano, red wine vinegar, red pepper flakes, salt, pepper and olive oil in a blender and you blend.
- Enjoy leftovers in soups and salads, over meats and veggies
- If you’re not into chimichurri, try this fabulous Sweet Pea Spread as an alternative. I put it on the famous Crack Toast, but on pork chops, it is dee-voine! Similarly amazing is Karam’s Garlic Sauce if you are that lazy. Which I am. We don’t have a dishwasher.
2. Smoothies. I basically eat the same thing for breakfast every day and you know how that can weigh on a person, so these are perfect for those times when you wake up and you are hungry but willing to go without breakfast because you can’t bring yourself to turn on the stove. DON’T GO WITHOUT BREAKFAST, DUMMY!
For dinner, I try to keep the sugar down because I have a hard enough time sleeping, but I get home too late and am absolutely not cooking, enter smoothies.
- THUG KITCHEN is my spirit animal of recipe writing. Spinach Cooler.
- 3 3-ingredient smoothies including one of my favorite breaky smoothies, the Banana/ Peanut butter/ cacao powder. I like to add spinach because I’m weird.
3. Brazilian Shrimp Stew. It’s wintertime and while this girl loves her some soup, I get bored and this stuff makes for awesome leftovers and soups are easy, so everybody wins. I like to add some plain Greek yogurt or sour cream.
4. Hash. It’s hearty, it’s easy and it’s as healthy as you want it to be. I love I Breathe…I’m Hungry’s recipe for Chorizo, Kale and Sweet Potato. She has also re-ignited my love for chorizo, so for that I am forever in debt.