At about 5 p.m. every day, I start thinking about what I’m going to make for dinner. But, that’s not where the process gets stunted; I actually come up with some pretty terrific ideas.
So, what’s the problem? I never seem to have the right ingredients on hand. Without fail, I’m missing at least one major ingredient, and I don’t have any good substitutions on hand. So, at about 5:04 p.m. I head to my local grocer and get what I need, turning my 10-minute dinner plan into an extravaganza that takes up the better part of an hour. This has been happening almost every day for about as long as I can remember.
Finally, after realizing how badly I need to break this cycle, I created “What’s in My Fridge” . It’s a system that helps me ensure that I always have the right ingredients on hand, and I won’t have to make a last-minute trip to the grocery store before I can make dinner.
The good news is that this system will work for just about anyone who wants to whip up healthy meals in a hurry, so you can take advantage of it too.
- My Fancy Black Bean Soup
- 1 can of refried beans
- 1 can of black beans, rinsed to remove excess sodium
- ½ container of salsa
- Chicken broth
- Cheese, grated
- Low fat sour cream
- Sliced avocado
- Chopped cilantro
- Baked Chips (Pop Chips: salt and pepper flavor work well here)
In a medium saucepan, add both cans of beans, heat on low to medium for 2-3 minutes. Add ½ container of your favorite salsa and continue to heat. Take a hand blender and blend to the consistency that you desire. Then add chicken broth to thin out the soup to the consistency you prefer. If you need to spice it up, add more salsa or a partial packet of taco seasoning.
Spoon into bowls. Top with a little sour cream, a sprinkle of grated cheese, slice of avocado and some cilantro. Crumble up chips and add on top for extra crunch.
Better Than “Take-Out” Asian Chicken & Broccoli Stir-fry
1 package (roll) of Isernio’s chicken sausage
1-2 heads of broccoli, washed and chopped
4 cups cooked brown rice (I cook up a big pot over the weekend & store it in the fridge for easy use during the busy work week)
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 cup Easy Asian-Style Sauce (see recipe below)
- Heat the oil in a 12-inch pan.
- Add the sausage to the pan and cook for about 6-8 minutes.
- Add in the broccoli and cook until slightly soft; about 2 minutes.
- Cover the cooked rice with the chicken and veggie mixture. Drizzle with the sauce and dig in!
Easy Asian-Style Sauce
1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
1 tbsp. honey
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp. ginger root, minced or grated
2 tsp. sesame oil (you can use olive oil if you don’t have sesame)
½ tsp. red pepper flakes (optional, but I like how it makes the sauce “pop”)
- Whisk together the soy sauce, vinegar, honey, garlic, ginger and sesame oil in a bowl.
- Drizzle or pour over rice, chicken and veggies.
- Since you made dinner so quickly, now you get to kick back and ENJOY!
Costco Kale & Rotisserie Chicken Salad
1 bag Costco Kale
5 cloves of garlic, chopped (I use the Christopher Ranch, already peeled)
Juice of 2 lemons
¼ cup of olive oil
1-2 cups of leftover Costco Rotisserie Chicken, cubed
- Wash and dry ¼ bag of the Costco Kale (You can certainly use more, makes great leftovers for lunch)
- Place kale in large bowl and add the garlic, lemon & olive oil
- Mix the dressing with the kale and add salt & pepper to taste
- Add chopped chicken to boost the protein content, which makes this a complete meal.
*Vegetarian option: add a can of drained garbanzo beans instead of the Costco chicken