March 10, 2013

Be your own food company

How many of us used to go "grocery shopping" and filled the cart with frozen, single serving meals? (Raises hand.)

A big problem of swimming against the cultural tide with Low Carb is to wish we had the ease-of-use that co-workers on Lean Cuisine seem to have. So many are hesitant about (gasp!) cooking, because it seems so daunting.
Once upon a time, you had to use the oven!

The good news is that WE CAN have all those things. And it's much better, tastier, and more satisfying than those teeny tiny portions of rubber meat and heaven-knows-what's-in-that sauce over the spoonful of vegetables that we were used to having, back in the day. Did that meal out of the microwave ever look like the picture on the front?

So take one of the best "paths to happiness" on low carb. Do you have a skillet with a lid? You're in business!

Throw a spoonful of butter or coconut oil or olive oil in a pan, medium heat. (That's the middle of your dial. See how easy?) Set the kitchen timer to 3 minutes. Now sprinkle on some seasoning... they have it labeled CHICKEN, people. You can't mess that up. My favorites are the Montreal Seasonings, but that grocery store has a whole aisle to choose from!

Then put in chicken breasts, chicken thighs, buffalo medallions, those pre-sliced steak strips, pork chops, lamb chops... whatever appeals to you. Put the cover on, set the timer for ten minutes, and see what frozen vegetables you have in the freezer. Don't take them out yet!

When the timer goes off, take off the lid, inhale (mmmmmmmmmmmmm!) and turn them over. You've got something to turn them over, don't you? Even a fork, works. Set the timer for another 10 minutes.

When that dings (you had time to check your email and tell your mom that You're Cooking!) take one out and cut it in half. Is it done? If yes, take the rest out and let them cool on a plate. Open that designated bag of frozen veg and put a serving into the pan. Turn the heat down a quarter turn, put the lid on, and set the timer for 10 minutes. (See how much of a friend we have in our kitchen timer? Mine is built into the stove so I can't lose it.)

While that is happening, you can divvy up the rest of the frozen vegetables among your single serve freezer containers. We can use any containers, but what really helped my husband Get Into It was a few packs of those single serving freezer to microwave food containers.

Timer ding! Now (test the tougher vegetables with that fork) we have OUR meal for the evening, AND we have delightful leftovers! (If we have pan drippings use those over the meat.) After our meal, we can finish our "frozen meal" assembly, snap the lid on, put them in the freezer.

Now we have meals to pull out of the freezer, microwave, and enjoy! Stash a bunch of those in the freezer in just one afternoon or evening, and you're good all week. If we are math-minded, we can add up the cost of the ingredients, and compare to the cost of the same numbers of frozen meals. Bet we are saving money and getting more food for it.

Now we have discovered that cooking a big batch of something takes no more time than cooking a small batch. That's the key to better meals... and better health.

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