Ahh life with babies is the best. But sometimes a baby gets a virus…and then gives it to her twin sister…then her daddy and then a week later mommy gets it and then the nanny. (Turns out having a throat so sore you physically can’t swallow is an amazing diet jumpstarter.) Good news is everyone at my house is currently (as far as I know) virus free and back eating and more importantly, sleeping.
Here’s a few things I’ve done lately that I thought were worth sharing:
First – Chilean sea bass en croute. They pre-make this at Fresh Market and I picked one up and loved it. I’m always looking for simple fish recipes that I’ll actually make at home. I did a quick google search and found this Real Simple magazine recipe which is obviously what Fresh Market was using. I skipped the mushroom tapenade (not real simple at all) and did the rest and it was PHENOMENAL. I ate every single bite and my fish was like, 8oz. Next time I’ll use a smaller piece of fish. You just roll out some of the puff pastry (sounds hard but it’s just pre-made dough in the freezer section. Be sure to thaw it that morning.) and then lay down some raw spinach, then the fish, then season with s&p and wrap it all up. (Literally 5 minutes to make two.) Brush with a beaten egg and into a 375 oven for 25 mins. Golden, flaky, creamy sea bass perfection. Now I’m all “what else can I wrap in puff pastry?” Top it with a pinch of Maldon sea salt!
Secondly, I’ve recently taken up a new sport that is pretty physically challenging so I need a more substantial dinner the night before. That’s where your potatoes/pasta/rice dishes come into play but I’m still counting those calories so I need to find a balance of enough carbs for energy but not so much that I undo the intense calorie burn the next morning. Two weeks ago I decided to make a simple pasta salad but I used about 1/4 the pasta I would normally cook. I added roasted boneless, skinless chicken thigh chunks, grape tomatoes, a few handfuls of spinach, and some flavor-packing kalamata olives. THEN I added some pasta and then just one ounce of fresh mozzarella. So here’s the trick – fill your plate/bowl with the stuff you want to fill up on, then add just a few calories of the carb or fat (whether it’s avocado or cheese or whatever) to your own plate. Then you definitely know how much you are serving yourself. (Is anyone like me where you can make a big plate of salad that is 1/8 lettuce and carrots and then a ton of avocado and bacon and nuts and cheese and croutons? This is how to avoid that.) Here’s my pasta. The protein is what keeps you full and I got just enough carbs to keep me energized the next morning.
Yup, I cut up my one ounce of fresh mozzarella.
Finally, I caved again and bought some more of Fresh Market’s “ultimate crab cake” which keeps going on sale. In my head, a meal definitely consists of two crab cakes but I actually beefed up my salad enough to get away with one – which is good considering they pack 220 calories per cake. I found myself making a list of salad toppings that are also pantry friendly, some of them are on this salad. Items to pick up so you can get more creative with your salads: hearts of palm, jarred artichoke hearts, canned olives, sun dried tomatoes, dried jalapeños, raisins, craisins, pumpkin or chia seeds and of course nuts. I usually buy romaine or butter lettuce every week and then mix up my fresh ingredients like tomatoes, strawberries, watermelon, blue berries, pears, avocado and different cheeses. I find that when I have some different shelf-stable options I’m more likely to skip that second crab cake!