Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Easy & Healthy Weeknight Meals with the Man Stamp of Approval!

Thanks for the Garmin advice from yesterday's post! I used to lock my bezel (I have the 405) during the winter months when I had long sleeves on, but haven't been doing that lately. That's probably the problem! Also...my TNT total went over $1,400 yesterday!

Since some of you have asked how I eat up all the veggies I stock my fridge with, I figured this week I would spotlight some of my favorite veggie centric meals that help fuel my training and at the same time don't gag my boyfriend.

As many of you ladies know, it's hard to cook for two when your significant other is the McDonald's and Coke type and you're the spinach and squash type. But it can be done!

Before I get into what we ate last night, I wanted to share my recent loot from heaven on Earth, Whole Foods.

I have been trying to stay away from this food mecca until pay day, but yesterday I just couldn't resist any longer. Plus I desperately needed some GREENS! Whole Foods, Earth Fare, other natural food stores as well as seasonal farmers markets are the best place to buy your produce. If you look hard enough, the fruit and produce is generally competitively priced.

Whole Foods loot!

1 bag of organic lemons for juicing as well as for the hummus I was about to make (this bag was a better deal than the same amount of non-organic lemons!), one 5 pound bag of organic carrots for juicing, 2 avocados, 1 box of Annie's Mac N Cheese (I have been craving mac n cheese for months...so when I saw it for $1.99 I had to get it.)

1 bunch of organic kale for Green Smoothies, organic quinoa for tonight's dinner, lentils from the bulk bin, 2 cans no salt added black beans (not organic, b/c they didn't have organic with no salt added), and 2 cans of no salt added garbanzo beans for my hummus appetizer! (All of this ran me about $23, not too bad for mostly organic.)

I quickly mixed up the hummus when I got home from the store in my food processor because we were both starving and I knew dinner would take a little while to prepare. I hated it as you can see.

In my hummus I used 2 cans garbanzo beans, some tahini, some olive oil, juice from two lemons, a bit of water, 1 garlic clove, some sea salt. YUMZA! Matt and I shared the above portion. He actually didn't hate it (his words), but I ended up eating most of this.

One of my favorite dinners to make for Matt and I is simple, easily adaptable to on-hand ingredients and packed with nutrition. Stuffed peppers! Since we bought a bag of six red and green peppers a few weeks ago, I needed to do something with the remaining peppers and I immediately thought of this weeknight favorite.

This time I was going to be using:
  • 1 cup dry quinoa, cooked (you can also use brown rice or any other small grain but I love the taste and texture of quinoa, plus it is a protein power house, perfect for athletes)
  • 1 diced onion
  • 1 zucchini (we eat zucchini & summer squash at least 2 times a week, such versatile veggies!)
  • 1 yellow tomato
  • A little bit of Italian blend cheese for Matt's portion
  • 4 small slices off a Muenster cheese block for me
  • herbs & spices
On the side I was going to make pan fried tilapia (from frozen and thawed tilapia).

I started out by dicing up some veggies.

I bought four yellow tomatoes the other day at Harris Teeter for ridiculously cheap because they were going bad. All I had to do was cut off the bad spots and I had 4 yummy tomatoes for less than a dollar! This is a great way to get good quality produce for cheap. I also got 4 organic apples for less than a dollar --they were perfect for juicing!

Then I sauteed up the hard veggies in a little olive oil. I was planning on mixing the tomatoes in last minute and then baking the whole stuffed pepper, so I didn't want to saute them first because they would cook down too much.

I then prepped the peppers by cutting off the lids and scraping out the seeds and insides. I put it in a "greased" (with Pam) glass casserole dish in the oven to soften up a bit at 350 before adding the stuffings.
Then I started to dip the fish in one egg, and then a whole wheat flour/herb mixture to prep them for the pan...

...when I started to smell smoke & opened the oven to find that the drippings in the bottom of it had caught fire!! Of course I screamed for Matt and he came to my rescue with some baking powder...after I hastily removed my peppers.

Lesson learned: Clean out the oven from time to time so it doesn't catch fire...

Once that was handled I got back to the fish.

In the meantime I was cooking up some quinoa on the stove: 2 cups liquid for 1 cup dry quinoa. I usually cook my quinoa in stock but I was all out of bouillon so I went plain.

Once I knew everything was about finished, I sprayed the skillet with Pam and added the fish to "fry". I cooked them for about 7 minutes on each side. The key to pan frying fish is to let them cook thoroughly on one side before flipping them.

Since I was no longer "baking" the stuffed peppers like I usually do (wth a bum oven and all) I needed to heat up the tomato, so I popped it in the microwave for two minutes. Then I poured the heated tomato & the veggie mixture all together into a bowl with the quinoa. I added some herbs (this time I used herbs de provence, red pepper flakes & a bit of sea salt) and stirred it up.

And popped the peppers in the microwave for three minutes with some water in the bottom of the dish to steam them (since I wasn't baking them anymore...)

Once the fish was done, I stuffed up the peppers and added some cheese...

I used some muenster cheese on top of mine, I mixed some Italian blend cheese into Matts. There is usually some quinoa & veggie mixture leftover that we add to our plates. But I still have one serving left for lunch today.

And if you're wondering, Matt loves loves loves this meal! He even requests it on occasion.

So there you have it, delicious stuffed peppers that can be adapted for even the pickiest eater. If your oven doesn't catch on fire, what I usually do is bake the peppers on their own for about 15 to 20 minutes while I am preparing the stuffing, then bring them out and stuff them and pop them back in the oven until the top of the stuffing is a nice golden brown. But if you're short on time, microwaving the peppers in a shallow dish with a bit of water works in a pinch as well.

This looks complicated, but it really is simple. You can easily add some ground meat of your choice if you would like to the stuffing, or add in more vegetables. You can change it up with different herb and spice combos. You could stuff it with rice, cous cous or any other whole grain or even maybe a pasta if you're feeling daring!

I love this dish because its healthy, tasty and most importantly - it's man approved!

I didn't workout last night, although I felt like I could have! I surprisingly wasn't sore at all from Sunday's 12 miler but I wanted to cook dinner and get some things wrapped up at home.

Since I'm going all healthy on y'all this week, get ready for some posts on:
  • binge eating & how to avoid it
  • at least one "raw" recipe that will get the man stamp of approval
  • ...and of course more ways to sneak veggies into dinner without the men in our lives running for the nearest phone to dial Pizza Hut!
Anything else I should add to the list?


  1. I am all about Matt's stamp of approval... I know if he likes it, so will I ;-)

  2. I love stuffed peppers!! Of course, with hamburger meat. I know, terrible. But I desperately need to get some greens up in my fridge...isn't it crazy how we CRAVE them??

  3. Hummus is excellent endurance food it's so low on the GI scale that it's crazy!

    Stuffed peppers looked great, have you thought about baking them, that softens them up really nicely

    Quinoa is also excellent, I love all the ancient grains that are popping in the stores now, spelt is another good one!

    Boxed macncheese though...I have a wicked easy one for carrot macncheese, ask if you would like a copy

  4. Yum! The stuffed peppers look awesome! I will definitely be trying that soon!

  5. Haha, I'm glad to hear that even picky boyfriends will eat those stuffed peppers because they look great!

  6. Boys like healthy food too if it's tasty...and if someone makes it for them. :)

    Looks good!

  7. so sad Shawn and I hate fish! and he doesnt like almost all cooked veggies (isnt that weird???)-- but he does love fresh veggies, so I just make him a lot of very creative salads :)

  8. I will be for sure having a stuffed pepper for dinner!!!!!!

  9. Great post! I was just at Whole Foods tonight. I am in love! Too bad our closest is an hour away. Your dinner looks so good!

  10. yum yum! now that I am on a working schedule an because its summer, I have been eating more veggies. They are so delicious!

  11. Wow, those stuffed peppers look DELICIOUS! I am going to try making them!

  12. Stuffed peppers are great! You meal looks delicious. It is so nice when you can cook a meal that all can enjoy.

  13. That looks yummy. I love stuffed peppers but so far haven't had any luck getting Rich to eat them. He finally ate some grilled peppers off a kebab and actually liked them....baby steps:)

  14. Ah, I love whole foods. :)
    dinner looked great, I'll have to try it for my husband, he's very picky, but he does like fish

  15. Two words: YUMMMMMMMMM & Pretty!

    This looks like a great meal, I may have to steal it!