For the past two or three weeks, I’ve been making a concerted effort to cook clean meals at home. Because I was really watching my calorie intake, my meals started to become really routine: protein, carb, veggie. Add a bunch of spice. Eat. While it got me through the days, it just wasn’t very interesting.
I thought back to the days when I had a regular food blog. Back in my hay day, I’d plan meals a week or two in advice, pin new recipes and brainstorm new ideas. I was always on the look-out for delicious, healthy meals that would photograph well. So, I decided to take a page from my old book. Each weekend, I now sit down with my favorite websites and a Google doc. I list out ingredients and plan out the week’s menu.
I was amazed after putting the pictures together in this gallery at how delicious this food looks — and it’s all clean and easily prepared at home.
Top right: Spinach Turkey Burgers. These were actually supposed to be Broccoli Rabe Turkey burgers, but all I had was spinach on hand. This meal was really easy to prepare. It took me about 10 minutes to mix everything together and then another 15 minutes to cook the burger. Served with a heaping pile of spinach, these pack a solid punch of protein and veggies.
Top middle: Lime-Cilantro Pork Tacos. Because of this meal, I now can say I’ve purchased a tomatillo. Plan ahead for this meal, guys. The chopping time takes a while. I’d recommend prepping ingredients on the weekend and then cooking things up the night of your meal. This took far too long for me to make, but it was absolutely delicious. I also made enough salsa that I used it in another meal a few days later.
Top right: Quinoa-Crusted Salmon with Plum Chutney. I improvised on this one, too. I didn’t have plums so I instead made a blueberry chutney. It worked really well with the flavors. I also love the concept of coating salmon with quinoa. Again: a protein punch! This one wasn’t too hard to make it all. You might want to make your quinoa in advance to save time in the kitchen.
Middle left: Shrimp and Artichoke Quesadilla. These were interesting. They cooked up quickly and are perfect for weeknight meals. But you have to really love shrimp, which I do not. You might consider trying this with crab, if that more suits your fancy.
Middle middle: Greek Style Grilled Fish with Cucumber Mint Yogurt. I loved this recipe. It was a breeze to make on a weeknight. The yogurt dressing was perfect. I considered making more of the dressing for other meals. Note: I omitted mint because I don’t like it.
Middle right: Chicken Spanakopita Pizza. This was really filling. Instead of spanakopita dough, I just used whole wheat pita bread. It was a perfect personal pan pizza, and it reheated well the next day (in the oven). This is a great alternative if you’re craving pizza but don’t want to blow all of those calories.
Bottom left: Tilapia with Papaya Salsa. I made up this recipe myself using the leftover salsa from the pork tacos. I sprinkled salt, pepper, herbs de Provence and garlic powder on the fish. I then baked for 15 minutes at 350 degrees and piled some salsa on top. Delicious!
Bottom middle: Crab Cakes with Creamy Cucumber Sauce. These were super yummy. M made them for us, so I really can’t tell you how hard or easy they are to make. They weren’t as filling as the other meals, but they definitely hit the spot — especially if you love fish.
Bottom right: Hummus, Beet, Feta Wraps. These are great to make ahead of time. I made four of them on the weekend and used them as lunches and meals throughout the week. Perfect if you’re in a pinch and short on time. Wrapping and refrigerating them for a while makes them even better. Plus, I love beets!
Hopefully you can use some of these recipes to inspire your future cooking!