Sunday Night: How To Cook A Fast, Nutritious Meal

Good morning! Did anyone else have a really hard time getting out of bed this morning? I pressed snooze six times, and I went to bed before 11!  Not to mention that I’d be all too happy to get back in bed for a few more hours… but alas, I’m sipping on some java to prevent that from happening. What is with me?!

After the race, I was pretty much hungry all day yesterday.  I’m not sure why, because I’ve been running longer distances than a 5k for the past couple weeks… it must have been all of the excitement.  So it ended up being a two-snack kind of afternoon, starting with an Almond & Coconut KIND bar… I really love these things, but I wish they weren’t so expensive.

Almond Coconut Kind Bar

I also had a yogurt bowl with a green plum, apple and cinnamon.  (I may or may not have washed it down with some sappy romance.)

Yogurt with green plum, apple & cinnamon

Although I love going home, leaving is always a huge production.  I’m still shuttling clothes and other necessary objects back to Ari’s, so every time I leave with at least two bags more than I came with.  Yesterday was shaping up to be a particularly heavy load… I also still had a ton of work to do and time was getting the better of me.  I’d planned on packing up some food items and taking them back with me, but then I probably wouldn’t end up eating until 9 or 10, not to mention the extra weight they would add… Oh decisions, decisions! So. With a cool head, I relaxed, surveyed my options, and came up with a delicious and nutritious meal with pretty limited options.

How to Cook a Fast, Delicious Meal:

Step 1.  Identify any leftovers that may be on the way out. I had some leftover brown rice from the bento box I ordered on Friday night.  It was cooked perfectly, so I didn’t want to let it go to waste. I also found some leftover salad greens and a wedge of heirloom tomato… both fancy ingredients that didn’t deserve to be thrown out.

Step 2.  Look around for fresh fruit and vegetables. If there aren’t any available, check the freezer. There was a lone green bell pepper in the refrigerator that I couldn’t figure out what to do with.  Green peppers aren’t my favorite on their own (because of their slight bitterness), but when added to something else they can be pretty good.  I also found some frozen corn in the freezer, and a can of black-eyed peas in the pantry.

Step 3.  Are there any specialty ingredients you’ve had for awhile but haven’t gotten around to using? Foodbuzz recently sent me a box of Emeril’s goodies, but I hadn’t found a way to incorporate them into a meal yet.  Tonight was the night! I pulled a bottle of Emeril’s Original Essence off the shelf.

Emeril's Original Essence

I went back into the fridge, and pulled out a log of Extra Sharp White Cheddar that my mom and I brought back from our hiking trip in Vermont over a year ago. It’d never been opened!

Vermont Aged Extra Sharp White Cheddar

After I chopped and prepped all of my ingredients (including rinsing the beans, reheating the rice and warming the corn) I heated up some olive oil in a pan.  I added two cloves of garlic, and once they started to brown, tossed in about 1 tablespoon of Emeril’s Original Essence. Once the pan was coated with the mixture, I tossed in the green pepper and let them soften, about 2-3 minutesI added the brown rice, stirring to mix everything together.

I plated half of the rice/pepper mixture and saved the rest for later.  I added the mixed greens, corn, beans and tomatoes, and topped it all with a few pieces of chopped cheddar.

Fast Dinner 2... cheezy!

Is there anything better than melted cheese?

Fast dinner 3

Step 4.  Just because you took the (short amount) of time to cook your dinner doesn’t mean it has to get in the way of your hectic life. Go ahead: do some work while you eat! A home-cooked meal will make your reading a little more pleasant.

Fast dinner + work

Step 5.  Use your new dinner to make leftovers for later in the week! I’m going to eat the rest for lunch today.  It’s one less meal I have to plan out and shop for.

Step 6.  Have an easy dessert! I had a bowl of Ciao Bella‘s Blackberry Cabernet sorbetto.  So light and flavorful.

Ciao Bella Blackberry Cabernet Sorbetto

Well, back to the grind I go.  Although Monday and Wednesdays are usually my “yoga days”, I don’t think I’m going to have time to get to the gym by 1:30 for class so I’ll probably just go on a run.  My feet are sore! I think I slept in a funny position.  It’ll probably be a “slow run” today.

Have a great Monday!


15 responses to “Sunday Night: How To Cook A Fast, Nutritious Meal

  1. Great tips, I’ve been using more leftovers in meals lately. nothing wrong with frezzing and saving.

  2. I couldn’t wake up yesterday! Haha- I am always up before 6, but yesterday went back to bed. I remember rolling over and looking at the clock around 11 and wondering if your race had started 😛

    Impressed by your dinner skills! Looks great- my “short for time dinner” is usually cereal 😛 Ah, such a foodie 😛

    Nope, nothing better than melted cheese. Though melted nutella is close behind…

  3. There is nothing better than melted cheese – I’m pretty sure it’s a scientific fact. Way to go with dinner! At that point I would have just eaten anything I could get my hands on.

    Hope you have a fantastico Monday 🙂

  4. LOVE the dinner! It looks totally delicious! My “use up the fridge/cabinet” day is usually Thursdays and I follow pretty much the same procedure 😉

  5. great tips, and it looks like such a great meal!

    Congrats on the race!!!

  6. southerngracesblog

    That meal looks so pretty and so yum…especially that melted cheese! Hope your Monday is fun, my love 🙂

  7. Your meal looks amazing! Have you tried the Maple Ginger Snap gelato from ciao bella? Oh my’s so good!

  8. I dig your little fast n delicious tutorial with stuff you already have on hand!

    And Kind bars…yet another bar I had never heard of but looks awesome. Thanks for mentioning 🙂

  9. OMG! I LOVE Kind bars! I thought I was the first to discover them, and now now that they are catching on, I’m even more excited than ever about them! I have not tried one flavor that I didn’t love! I usually keep one in my purse for emergency hunger, works every time!

  10. Iloved the 5 easy steps, the ferreting through the fridge for forgotten edibles this side of.the dumpster, and breathing new life into leftovers. As creative as browsing through an outdoor market. Organizing the meal around rice and cheese was
    so smart.
    Take care of those tired dogs after your race.

  11. Awesome tips!!

    Miss you, girl!!

  12. the coconut and almond is my favorite kind bar !!!
    that meal looks delicious, too, and would totally be something i would make!

  13. I love those KIND bars too. You know what’s awesome? They sell them on campus for food points…which means I currently have them in practically every flavor.

  14. But did you say “BAM!” while you were making it? I think I’d buy that Essence of Emeril (which is just a gross name, really) just so I could say “BAM!” and put it on everything. I’d be like, “Hey girls, here’s your cereal…BAM!” and “Here’s a cup of yogurt, Chris…BAM!”

  15. Pingback: Bum Run « Lilveggiepatch

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