Remember on Sunday, when I said taper madness hadn’t set it? Well, I take it back: the madness has arrived. I ran a measly four miles with pick-ups today, and the whole time, my leg hurt, my foot hurt, my throat was scratchy…and nothing was actually wrong, outside of my brain. Oh, taper, why must you do this to me?
So to distract myself, let’s talk about food. Because why not.
I truly believe that the key to success when it comes to healthy eating is having a plan. And part of that plan, for me, involves an arsenal of speedy meals that I don’t really have to think too much about. “Speedy” is the key word there — by the time I get home, work out, and shower, it’s late, I’m starving, and the last thing I want to do is spend 45 minutes cooking.
Here are some of my go-to, 20-minutes-or-less meals. Sorry I don’t have pictures. I planned this post on that four-mile run, and having all these pictures would have required a little more forethought.
Fish Tacos with Fruit Salsa
No, stupid. But it’s delicious.
I usually use tilapia, but any white fish would work. Here’s what you do: Thaw your fish (unless you’re lucky enough to live where there’s decent fresh seafood). Heat your oven to 400 degrees. Put the fish in a Pyrex (Pyrex can go in the dishwasher…yay, fewer dishes!) and sprinkle it generously with chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, paprika, and cayenne. Don’t measure; that’s a waste of time. Bake for 12 minutes.
Meanwhile, make your salsa: Dice a mango, pear, or peach. Stir in 1/2 a chopped red pepper, a bit of red onion, some cilantro, and a squeeze of lime.
Shred the fish. Put it in a tortilla with the salsa. Devour.
Chicken with Arugula Polenta
Sprinkle chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Cook them in a skillet.
Meanwhile, boil 3.5 cups of chicken broth. When it boils, stir in 1 1/3 cups polenta. Cook until it’s thick. Remove from heat. Stir in 1/2 cup greek yogurt and a few handfuls of arugula.
(I have no idea what this creepy picture means. I googled “arugula” and this came up.)
Chicken Strips and Cheesy Rice
When J was a kid, his favorite meal was chicken nuggets and mac ‘n cheese. Because I’m the best wife ever, I healthified that meal so he can recapture his childhood now and then.
Cut chicken breasts into strips. Coat with a mix of whole-wheat panko, parmesean cheese, rosemary, and thyme. Bake at 350 for 12 minutes. Flip, then bake for another 10 or until done.
Meanwhile, cook brown rice according to the package directions. Stir in a handful of shredded cheese (a small handful — you want it flavored, not coated) and a Laughing Cow wedge.
We usually eat peas or green beans and/or a salad with this one.
Mix a pound of ground turkey with a handful or two of oats, an egg, some Mrs. Dash, and a squirt of ketchup. Squish into muffin tins. Bake for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook the side dish you want. I’m a fan of microwaveable sweet potatoes and veggies. That way, it can all cook while I shower. Win.
The easiest of all: Preheat your oven to 400 while you thaw some cod. Put the thawed cod in a sprayed Pyrex. Squeeze a lemon on top and sprinkle on a bunch of pepper. Bake for 12-15 minutes. Serve with the same sides as above.
Those are a few of my favorites. Although that might all change, since I’m going to make some major dietary changes post-marathon (more on that next week). But whatever…they’ll still work for you (unless you’re vegetarian. Didn’t really take that into account, did I?)
What are some of your favorite weeknight meals? Feel free to post a link!