Saturday, January 19, 2008

Quick eats on a lazy day

It's been a long week at my day job, and I'm not looking forward to spending a lot of time in the kitchen. I still want to eat well, however; and I don't want to blow a chunk of change at a restaurant. What are my options this weekend?

What's in the freezer? Ever since my husband rehabilitated the freezer chest in the basement, we've been careful to set aside leftovers and extras. As long as I've marked each container properly, I can simply pull out a Ziploc bag or a Rubbermaid container and heat a good, solid meal in the microwave.

Canned foods are also good choices, but watch out for the sodium (salt) content. If you select something that has more than, say, 30% of the recommended daily intake for sodium per serving, either consume less than a serving or drink lots of water to hopefully reduce the amount of water retention you'll experience later. I know my body will retain up to three pounds worth of weight after I eat something salty (that includes french fries and commercial soups), so be careful if you're watching your weight.

Having said that ... canned beans are a blessing and can be the basis for many a delicious, quick meal. You can add garbanzos (chickpeas) to salad veggies (which can come bagged from the store, which means even less effort on your part) and dressing. Beans add protein and vitamins/minerals to dishes.

Minimal prep time goes along with the homemade pastes I keep in the fridge. I have a basic mild curry paste that I like to heat up in a small pot while stirring in some plain yogurt. This makes a tasty sauce that goes well with cut-up cooked chicken or frozen veggies - just make sure the ratio of yogurt to paste is to your liking. You can buy all sorts of similar sauces and pastes at larger supermarkets, or make your own.

The nice thing about living near relatives is that you're always welcome to stop by ... and if your relative happens to be like my sister, her kitchen is always open :) I don't get to see her very often, despite the fact that she lives 10 miles down the road, so when I do stop by she's happy to play gracious hostess and pull out some of her best goodies. She makes a mean guacamole from scratch, and always has all sorts of fresh veggies and organic blue chips to go with. I do the same when she visits (even more rare, unfortunately), so it's all "even Steven."

Personally I prefer visiting my sister - not to "mooch," but because she's lots of fun and I get the bonus of getting to hang out with my 8-year-old nephew! When my only contact with the outside world is either co-workers or the grocery store, a few hours with family feeds my spirit as well as my tummy.

What other ideas do you have for eating well on a lazy day?

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