General Question

Haleth's avatar

Do you have a favorite recipe that is simple and healthy?

Asked by Haleth (17861 points ) August 2nd, 2014

I’d like to add some variety to my weeknight meals. By the time I get home from work, it’s usually about 10 PM. So I want to make something in about ½ hour or less.

And if you have any favorite substitutions that make a meal healthier, I’d love to hear that too. (Like cauliflower instead of mashed potatoes as a side dish- it kind of hits the same spot.) Thanks!

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21 Answers

rockfan's avatar

Roasted sweet potato and beet salad with apple cider vinegar dressing.

gailcalled's avatar

My go-to dish (using canned rather than dried beans). I keep a jar of home-made vinaigrette handy. This is easily halved and can be fiddled with. Or make the whole thing and eat it four days in a row.

Black and White Bean Salad (Yield: 8–10 servings)
2 cans drained black beans (you can be pure and start with dried beans)
2 cans drained small white beans ( ditto)
1 can drained corn (or cook fresh corn and scrape, scrape, scrape)

1 C chopped red onion
1 C chopped red pepper
¼ C chopped cilantro

2 C. Cumin Vinaigrette (I use 1½) Use whisk for all mixing. Add EVOO last.

¼ C cider vinegar and ¼ C fresh lime juice
1 T dijon mustard
1 t freshly minced garic
1½ C EVOO, cumin and curry to taste
Salt and pepper to taste. (Kosher and ground)

talljasperman's avatar

White rice boiled, and mixed with cool whip and caned and drained fruit cocktail. Keep refrigerated. Eat at will.

osoraro's avatar

Stir fry asparagus with garlic and olive oil.

Pachy's avatar

I have an easy recipe which I consider to be relatively healthy.

Pasta (any type you prefer. I like fettuccini)
Crumbled feta
1 can stewed tomatoes (with oregano)
Chopped black olives

Cook pasta, mix in feta and let if melt, add 1 tomatoes and sprinkle in a few teaspoons of chopped black olives.

Good cold or warm.

syz's avatar

A slice of tomato, a slice of soft baby mozzarella, a basil leaf, a drizzle of olive oil, a drizzle of balsamic vinegar, and a bit of black pepper. I eat this as a meal at least once a week in the summer when the local tomatoes are so delicious.

livelaughlove21's avatar

This week I made a couple of turkey breasts in the crock pot (with a packet of onion soup mix as seasoning) and a baked microwaved sweet potato with butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon with a side of broccoli. It was really good.

jaytkay's avatar

I take a cold bean salad to work every day.

1 can black beans or kidney beans rinsed and drained
About the same amount of frozen mixed vegetables
For protein sliced chicken or ground beef or scrambled egg or canned tuna
Vinaigrette dressing

I add whatever I have on hand, for example:
Carrots
Sliced tomato or cherry tomatoes
Basil
Hot pepper
Spinach

I make this in the morning and by lunchtime the frozen vegetables have thawed, with the bonus feature of making refrigeration unnecessary.

It goes great with rice or pasta.

zenvelo's avatar

Salads, mixed greens and spinach and kale, tomato, cucumber, garbanzo beans, avocado, peppers, with a light amount of balsamic vinaigrette dressing. And when i am feeling fancy, a fried egg on top.

Response moderated (Unhelpful)
sabbersolo's avatar

Salmon – one of the simplest and healthiest things you can eat. I fry the filets on the side with the skin (don’t turn or they’ll fall apart). Fry up some pine nuts with garlic. Then serve all together with couscous or quinoa. Usually complement with a salad: greens, avocado, cherry tomatoes. Add some sea salt, vinaigrette and maybe a dollop of hummus and tzatziki. Done in no time! And so yummy!

Coloma's avatar

Quickie bean tostadas. Get pre-made tostada shells, spread with vegetarian refried black or pinto beans about ½ inch thick.
Microwave on paper towel lined plate covered in a damp paper towel for about 45 seconds.
Remove and add shredded sharp cheddar or cheese of choice and nuke again until cheese is melted. Take out and top with diced tomatoes, avacado, shredded lettuce and load up with your favorite salsa or taco sauce.

ibstubro's avatar

Quesadillas. You can add endless variety by experimenting with different cheese and filling combinations. Any kind of meat or vegetable you have on hand can be added. Condiments are the some – sour cream and guacamole are traditional, but you can add a few drops of hot sauce (chipolata!), mustard, soy. Toast them in butter, olive oil sesame oil or…?

You can pretty much apply the same thing to grilled cheese sandwiches. Cheddar and sardine is a personal favorite.

Baked potatoes. Either bake some ahead and reheat in the microwave, or just cook them there. Good way to get rid of leftovers and again, if you feel like a ‘theme’ (Oriental, Mexican, etc. that’s easily done.

I like to peel and seed tomatoes and cucumbers dice medium, mix with vinaigrette or Italian dressing. Onions if you like them. It’s great with cottage cheese. Delicious mixed with tinned salmon or tuna. Black beans would be good in it, and/or cooked frozen corn. Cubed sharp cheese, crumbled Feta or Blue. Make a good mess of the base, and add to it as you like. Good salsa for the quesadilla, to bring it full circle.

As @livelaughlove21 says, you could make a meat in the crockpot once a week or so. Refreeze smaller packets and you’ll soon have endless, no-time variety.

Oh, and small, thin fillets of fish such as tilapia and flounder thaw so quickly that you can start with frozen and still have food on the table in nothing flat. I prefer thawing and then flash-frying. Great as a sandwich, filling for some of the ideas above, or flaked into a number of the others. Buy IQF and stick them in the fridge, 1–2 at a time, and you’ll be meal-ready.

Buttonstc's avatar

If you want tons of 15 minute recipes, Jamie Oliver has a new book and TV show which airs every Sat. morning on CBS, and pretty much everything he does is healthy. Any pre-prepared foods he uses are NOT the heavily processed stuff (for instance he’ll use cryovacced peeled and sliced beets; convenient and time-saving but not loaded with chemicals and preservatives. )

His book is on Amazon (Jamie’s 15 Min. Meals) and if you put that term into YouTube search, there’s also lots of videos and recipes.)

I’ve been recording his Sat. Morning show for awhile now and there are lots of great ideas and recipes.

Here’s one tip for you which he uses a lot to save tons of time: get yourself one of those quick-boil electric teakettles. Turn it on the second you walk in the door (once it brings the water to boil, it drops the heat to keep it at a simmer so ypu dont need to worry about the water boiling over. You’ll never
again have to waste time
watching a pot of water boil
again.

downtide's avatar

I have a recipe for a delicious Middle-Eastern style red lentil soup that’s very quick, easy and healthy. Its vegan too, if made with veg stock (though I prefer the flavour with chicken stock). Serves 2 as a main meal or 4 as a starter.

4 cups or 1 litre chicken or vegetable stock
half-pound or 250g dried red lentils
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon cumin
up to ½ teaspoon cayenne or flaked chillis
¼ cup fresh coriander leaf/cilantro (I couldn’t find a European conversion for this. It’s like… a big handful.)
3 tablesp lemon juice

Bring the stock to the boil and add the lentils. Simmer for 20 minutes. keep checking & stirring to make sure it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.
Meanwhile heat the oil in a frying pan and cook the onion and garlic until the onion is soft.
Stir the cooked onion and garlic into the lentils, season with cumin & cayenne/chillis. Simmer for a further 10 minutes.
Meanwhile chop the coriander (I find this easiest to do with scissors).
Remove the soup from the heat and puree in a blender until smooth.
Just before serving, stir in the chopped coriander and lemon juice.

Delicious served with strips of lightly toasted pitta bread to dip into it.

Jill_E's avatar

Chicken baked with Kraft’s Parmesan cheese crust.

Preheat oven at 325 degrees.

In ziploc bag add lots of Parm cheese, 2 Tablespoon oregano, 2 Tablespoon parsley, 2 teaspoon paprika and shake bag.

In a medium size bowl or pie plate, three eggs whites. Whisk.

Dip defrosted chix in egg then in ziplock. And place on greased cookie sheet.

Bake for 45 mins.

Kardamom's avatar

Part of making your meals more healthy is getting yourself organized ahead of time.

The worst part, and the part that takes the longest, is going through your kitchen and purging all of the bad stuff. Spend a day going through your fridge and pantry. If you don’t want to waste food, give it to the neighbors or take it to work for your co-workers to gorge on.

Some of the offending items are super highly processed foods, because they contain low amounts of nutrients, while giving you too much fat, too much sodium and too much sugar and too much weird chemicals.

Get rid of the white bread, chips, instant soups like Cup-O-Noodles and the like.

Once you’ve cleared out all of the bad stuff (it’s fine to eat bad stuff once in awhile, but don’t keep it in your house to be tempted by it) plan to spend the better part of an afternoon or morning at the grocery store. You’re going to want to find better products, and you’ll have to read labels, and of course, do price comparisons. You don’t have to go to the fancy schmancy Whole Foods to get good produce with good prices. You may have to check around, but I get a lot of my produce at the 99 Cent Only store and a big asian market. You’ll want to familiarize yourself with what stuff ought to cost. Some things, like canned beans are often cheaper, when they’re on sale at the regular grocery store, say 79 cents, as opposed to getting them at the 99 cent store. So you’ll probably want to shop at multiple stores, but get an idea of what things should cost (as the seasons change, the prices of produce will change drastically too).

With regards to produce, I like to make one big shopping trip, on my day off, and if I’m not too worn out by the trip, I’ll start to prep my stuff, or I’ll wait until the next day. This is going to seem like an arduous process, at first, but it will save you time and give you more easy options afterwards.

Some produce can be cleaned and cut up and put into tupperware or ziplock bags for easy pickings throughout the week. Examples are carrots, celery, onions, cauliflower, broccoli, radishes, lettuce, bell peppers,jicama, grapes, watermelon and citrus.

Some produce items are better left in their original package or loose, but uncut, because if you wash them, or cut them they’ll start to deteriorate pretty quickly, often before you can use them up. Examples of these items are berries, stone fruits, apples and pears and bananas and mushrooms. But all of these items are easily washed (or just wiped in the case of the schrooms, don’t wash them) and cut up quickly.

Here are some items with good substitutions:

Sandwich with processed lunch meat and cheese
Peanut butter and Jelly on whole grain bread, or hummus on a whole grain tortilla.

Regular Spaghetti
Brown Rice Spaghetti

Alfredo Sauce
Low Sodium Marinara Sauce, or better yet, make your own and then freeze some. Here’s a Recipe

Potato Chips
Whole Grain Crackers and unsalted or lightly salted nuts (peanuts, cashews, pistachios, walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts) or sliced carrots, celery, broccoli, cauliflower and red bell pepper with Low Fat Dip or home made whole grain Tortilla Chips (or healthier tortilla chips like These) with homemade Guacamole. Make sure to push your plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the guacamole in your bowl, so it will stay green, otherwise it turns brown in about an hour. This will last about 4 days and you can even put some of it on a baked or nuked potato.

Hamburgers from the drive through
A turkey sandwich on whole grain bread, with lettuce and tomato and a wee schmear of mayo, or even Veganaise which tastes so much like regular that even my Dad can’t tell the difference (as long as he doesn’t see the jar).

Chicken Nuggets or a chicken sandwich from the drive through
Rotisserie chicken from the grocery store. You can make several different meals with rotisserie chicken, including eating it hot, with a couple of veggie side dishes like Sautéed Green Beans and a nuked sweet potato. Or you can shred some of the chicken and cook it with a little bit of salsa in a pan, then throw it into a whole grain tortilla with a bit of shredded cheese, or you can make a sandwich, or some Chicken Salad

Pizza Delivery or frozen pizza with too much fat and too many processed ingredients
Healthier Frozen Pizzas that taste great, but still give you the time savings you want. You can also make semi-homemade pizza with Whole Grain Crusts and use some of the marinara sauce from above, some mozzarella cheese, but go easy on it, and load it up with your favorite veggies (instead of pepperoni and sausage) like mushrooms, red and green bell peppers, and broccoli.

Top Ramen
Baked Ramen Noodles with tofu (or some of the rotisserie chicken) and veggies. These ramen noodles are healthier, because they’re baked and not fried, but the flavor packet still contains quite a bit of sodium. If you like, you can ditch the flavor packet and use your own favorite lower sodium broth, or you can make your own Broth Make it ahead of time, on one of your prep days, and freeze it in ice cube trays or small freezer bags (laid flat in your freezer to save space) for individual meals.

Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Tomato Soup
Make it a Wrap with some Easy Soup Recipes, most of which you can make ahead and freeze. If you don’t already have one, invest in a stick blender. It’s much easier to puree soup stuff in the pot, rather than transferring hot soup to a regular blender.

Submarine Sandwiches, Hoagies and Grinders
Vietnamese Bahn Mi Sandwiches

Beef Chili
Vegetarian Chili. If you want it to have a meatier texture add some Morningstar Farms Burger Crumbles or Gimme Lean

Iceberg Lettuce
Romaine Lettuce.

Soda
Cucumber, Lime and Mint Water. This is very refreshing when it’s hot.

Ice Cream
Fresh berries with non-fat Greek yogurt.

Sour Cream
Non-fat Greek yogurt. I’ve tasted a bunch of them, and so far my favorite is Voskos

Baked or Nuked Potato with sour cream
Baked or nuked Sweet Potato with non-fat Greek Yogurt.

Sometimes you might want to just throw some frozen meal into the microwave, and that’s OK, but make sure you add some veggies to whatever you’re fixing. Grilled mushrooms and or steamed broccoli is great with macaroni and cheese. Or make yourself a salad, because you’ll have all of your fixings already washed and cut up.

You might want to keep a bag of frozen chicken breasts in your freezer. That way, you can put one in the fridge, in the morning before you go to work, and it will be ready to Cook when you get home.

Add more beans to your diet. Canned beans are fine, just make sure to rinse them before using, otherwise you’ll be getting too much sodium, or you can buy the ones marked as low sodium. Have lots of canned beans on hand (black beans, pinto beans, kidney beans, lentils, chickpeas etc.) so you can make burritos, chili, or soup, and throw them on to your salad.

Eat more mushrooms, of all types. They’re nutrient dense, taste delicious and can be a good substitute for meat in all sorts of dishes. Check out these Portobello Mushroom Burgers or this Mushroom Stroganoff or this Mushroom Pizza

Take away white colored foods such as white potatoes, white rice and bleached white flour. Replace them with sweet potatoes and yams; brown rice and wild rice; whole grain flours. Don’t forget to add lots and lots of colored produce to your repertoire such as cherries, mangoes, nectarines, berries, squash, purple and red grapes, orange cauliflower, tomatoes, swiss chard, kale, mustard greens, and avocados. Make sure to eat more Cruciferous veggies.

Eat more Fiber

Eat more salads. Here are some easy salad recipes :

Avocado Chicken Salad

Broccoli and Bacon Salad If you want, you can sub a veggie bacon such as This One

Taco Salad

Quinoa, Chickpea and Avocado Salad

Chicken, Watermelon and Arugula Salad

Caprese Salad

Thai Chicken Salad

Cold Steak and Noodle Salad

Prep in Advance to make salads quicker and easier

Happy Eating!

dappled_leaves's avatar

I stumbled across this free, online cookbook, and thought it might be of interest. Simple, cheap meals that look pretty tasty; they even offer ideas for what to do with leftovers. NPR did a write-up about it this week.

gailcalled's avatar

Reiterating @syz‘s love of caprese, I am off to do errands and buy several large, ripe tomatoes. i already hae fresh basil, quality mozarella, EVOO and balsamic vinegar. If there is corn and local peaches, that’s supper. I have cherry tomatoes growing in pots but I keep eating them like popcorn through-out the day.

Kardamom's avatar

@gailcalled That sounds really good right now!

travisgrrr's avatar

In such cases I make a salad. Here is what you need to cut and mix:
1 pack of mozzarella
1 can of tuna
handful of cut parmesan (optional)
1 can of olives
10–12 cherry tomatoes
1 bunch of romain lettuce
Mix everything, add rock salt, olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

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