Walking Guide
Walking Guide
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RUNANDRUN SparkPoints: (46,485)
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4/19/18 10:48 P

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I make turkey and spinach meatballs and keep them in the freezer I can pop a few in the microwave and serve with something to make a complete meal. Last week it was with tomato soup.

LOTUS737's Photo LOTUS737 Posts: 3,978
4/18/18 8:54 A

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i keep frozen veggie burgers and veggie chicken nuggets- good for recipe fail days or lazy days :D

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ALIHIKES's Photo ALIHIKES Posts: 4,393
4/17/18 1:26 P

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In addition to some of the suggestions that were already posted, I keep salmon burgers in the freezer, plus frozen home cooked buns. I always have salad, and I add goat cheese, almonds, craisins or other fruit, chopped veggies for a main course (or if it is smaller, I'll have soup + salad). I keep several shelf stable meals in the pantry (brown rice + Indian food -- palak paneer or spicy eggplant); plus good quality sardines and tuna (for a home-made tuna salad or salad nicoise)

Alison


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ENGINEERMOM's Photo ENGINEERMOM Posts: 542
4/16/18 2:27 P

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I keep cans of water-packed tuna in the fridge for quick high-protein meals (you can even sub a 100-calorie pack of guacamole and some yelow mustard for the mayo for a little variety) I either put it on a toasted sandwich thin, or in a yellow pepper half.

When making stuff for my family, our main backups:
1. Spaghetti and meat sauce with a Caesar salad kit (I cook up ground beef, drain, rinse, then pack in plastic ziploc bags in 1/2-lb portions to store in the freezer) - Start the sauce (1 jar spaghetti sauce with 1 can petite diced tomatoes, 1 can tomato paste, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, and basil, then dump in 1 bag of frozen cooked ground beef), then start the pasta water boiling. By the time the pasta's cooked, the sauce is hot. I don't bother with breadsticks or anything if it's a true "emergency" backup meal, and I keep a salad kit in the fridge all the time, we eat them at least once a week.

2. Grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup, plus some fruit or frozen veggies.

3. Eggs and toast, or if I'm feeling creative, frittata and toast (which is just lazy scrambled eggs with veggies in them!).

4. Leftover night!

Honestly, though, I haven't had a complete dinner failure in years. A lot of it is learning when to change course mid-recipe. I've definitely started meals that were going downhill, and I've dumped part of the meal (making a curry, kept the rice and meat, made a stir-fry instead), or added a bunch of other spices/sauces to make it palatable for dinner, then just dumped what was left.

Take life one day at a time - enjoy today before you worry about tomorrow.


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MISSLORI5's Photo MISSLORI5 Posts: 9,576
4/10/18 10:45 P

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Chobani flips and fruit!


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MARTHA324's Photo MARTHA324 Posts: 5,946
4/10/18 9:47 P

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I keep some boxed chili (or canned vegetarian) in the pantry and I always have some veggies and rice in the freezer. Sautee the veggies and add the chili and rice and I've got dinner. Quick and easy.

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INZSPARK SparkPoints: (3,066)
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4/10/18 5:18 P

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Eggs with some bread and some fruits are a classic, as well as some tuna salad with laughing cow cheese instead of mayo with some crackers and raw veggies on the side.



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ANARIE's Photo ANARIE Posts: 13,192
4/8/18 9:11 P



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Omelets are almost instant, so that's one of my go-to emergency meals. People have already mentioned turkey burgers; veggie burgers are quick, too. I'm personally satisfied with marinara sauce from a jar over high=protein or high-fiber pasta and whatever veggies are lurking in the back of the fridge, but if you have a family they might not go for that. And one of my favorites is the frozen Asian-style potstickers or dumplings that Costco and Sams both sell. They're surprisingly high in protein and not absurdly high in sodium. I serve them over shredded cabbage or bok choi or whatever greens I happen to have, or with steamed frozen peas if I don't have any fresh veggies (I live a very long way from a good supermarket, so I have to live with frozen veg a lot of the time.)

And if the frustration gets to you and you really want pizza, try making your own on flatbread, a pita, or whole-grain English muffins. It's faster than delivery and you control exactly what goes onto it. Toast the "crust" with a thin layer of grated cheese before you add sauce, to keep it from getting mushy.



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ZIGGYSTARSHAY's Photo ZIGGYSTARSHAY Posts: 669
4/8/18 5:34 P

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I definitely always have frozen turkey burgers on hand, I broil mine in a pinch. Often I have shirataki tofu noodles in the fridge, those need no cook time (other than a quick nuke) and can top with a quick sautee of veggies, sauce, pesto, etc (I also usually have the frozen Morningstar 'chicken' strips that can be added as well).



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MLAN613 Posts: 18,835
4/8/18 4:51 P

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I was just at a local grocery store because I know they carry pre-marinated chicken breasts. You can get them from the butcher or they have some in microwaveable bags in the grab and go case. I got a few of those and it was a super easy way for me to prep some lunches for the week after a crazy busy weekend.

Edited by: MLAN613 at: 4/8/2018 (18:08)
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PICKIE98's Photo PICKIE98 SparkPoints: (546,377)
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4/8/18 1:56 P

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Crock pots are your friend. You know exactly what is going into the food, less sodium and fat than frozen meals. Frozen plain veggies DO have the same nutrients that fresh ones have.

TEN YEARS SPARKING!!

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NADINE200's Photo NADINE200 SparkPoints: (19,849)
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4/7/18 10:19 P

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Thanks for the help everyone. I'm going to take some of your suggestions and put them on the inside of my cupboards so that the next time I need something in a hurry I'll have a list of ideas right there.



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NEED2MOVE2's Photo NEED2MOVE2 Posts: 1,451
4/7/18 11:48 A

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meat and salad.. always my go to



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LUCYICANNON's Photo LUCYICANNON SparkPoints: (7,030)
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4/7/18 10:27 A

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@NADINE200 If you add meat to your soup I think it makes a complete meal. A bagel, biscuit, or dinner roll on the side. There are lots of calories in that meal. Homemade soup is my favorite thing to make in the crock pot, and it makes meals for several days for the two of us here. Blessing to you.



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LUCYICANNON's Photo LUCYICANNON SparkPoints: (7,030)
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4/7/18 10:24 A

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A large crockpot of homemade soup makes a great mean for several days. There is so much variety you can do with homemade soup. It is fun and creative. Add fresh spinach leaves for the last 10 minutes or so. They don't really add much flavor, but full of vitamins and minerals. Add leftover cabbage and those wilted carrots. Carrots should go in first. Cabbage a little later. I also use lots of fresh basil that I grow in a pot right outside the kitchen door all summer long. Fresh Basil is very mild, and you can use quite a bit.



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SANDYBREIT's Photo SANDYBREIT Posts: 1,253
4/7/18 10:02 A

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There are LOTS of reasonably healthy frozen things in the supermarket -- most of which don't take that long to cook. Frozen meatballs, frozen ravioli, frozen garlic bread, frozen salmon fillets - the list is just about endless. One of my favorite things to keep in the freezer for a quick dinner is boneless, skinless chicken breasts; they thaw quickly by sealing in a zip-lock bag and putting them in a sink full of water, and can be used for a quick stir fry, along with a bag of the frozen stir-fry vegetables and a packet of stir-fry sauce mix; serve with some instant brown (or white) rice and you have a very satisfying meal. Or season the chicken breasts -- I like to use either cajun season or a blackening spice mixture -- sear in a frying pain with a little olive oil for a few minutes on each side, then finish in the oven for about 20 minutes while you throw together a salad or cook a package of frozen veggies and maybe microwave a baked potato.

It does take time to get to where you can pretty much look at a recipe and tell whether you will like it, so don't give up on the cooking and keep trying new things -- and, although the internet abounds with recipes, I'd suggest buying a good basic cookbook that has recipes that don't need a lot of special equipment or ingredients that you'll never need for cooking anything else. (Can't go wrong with the Betty Crocker cookbook, in my opinion.) Best wishes - you can do it!


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NIRERIN Posts: 14,275
4/7/18 8:51 A

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Have you looked around for a cooking class to work on your cooking skills? My local extension office has them and so does Publix along with a few other restaurants and organizations that you'd have to hunt around for. The other thing to focus on is what recipes you are choosing and what's not working within those recipes. Do you dislike the spices? The texture? What about it is so offputting? These things are key so that when you are searching out new recipes you know what to avoid and what to look for. You might find some sources that are too complicated or that you don't like their spicing, and you should avoid or adjust those recipes accordingly. Both of these time investments can help yield better results.

Another piece of advise would be to only make half the recipe so that there is less waste. Also, try choosing recipes that use ingredients that you already use in other recipes. So if your zucchini noodles and meatball marinara doesn't work, you can easily grate up some unused zucchini and add some eggs for a frittata/quiche/omelet that you already know you enjoy.

My lasagna trick would be to freeze lasagna roll ups instead of actual lasagna. It's a little more prep work, but a single noodle rolled up with stuff thaws really quickly. Your other option is to make it your practice before you leave for the day to pull anything that needs extra thaw time before dinner down into the fridge. So if you pull an individual portion of lasagna down from the freezer in the morning, it's going to shorten the cooking time that night for dinner. For larger portions (and really, use smaller portions here) pull them down the night before. The other thing that I like doing it taking lasagna fillings and just warming them through with any shape pasta that I just cooked up. My favorite lasagna is butternut squash and mushroom, which takes forever because of the butternut squash. So what I do is get a butternut squash, peel and cube it. I sweat some onions and add the squash until the squash is just shy of fully cooked. I either portion this into one cup containers and freeze or I sautee the mushrooms, distribute and portion that into one cup container and freeze. I'll either do ricotta or tofu depending on what's on hand, but the ricotta I will freeze into portions (think ice cube tray here), so that it's quick and easy. Then the day of, if I haven't already taken the veg down to thaw, I'll bring it down as I put on a pot of water, cook and drain the pasta, then add in my freezer portions to reheat. Easy peasy.

I'll also do things like cook up a big batch of rice while I am at home so that it is ready to reheat on busy days. Already cooked rice plus frozen vegetables plus a jarred sauce plus a protein yields a quick and easy dinner. You can make it into fried rice with a little more work, or top it with cheese and broccoli or just about anything.

If a soup isn't a complete meal then have something else with it. Quiche or egg cups or tortilla or omelets are all quick and easy and go well with soup. So do salads or sandwiches. Keep in mind that salads can be green salads from a bag, or just about every vegetarian cookbook has some sort of a cold grain salad that's loaded with cooked vegetables (ie fairly easy to batch cook and eat for a few days) or you could go for something like a three bean salad for easy and variety.

Homemade pizza is also super easy to have ingredients on hand for. Bagels, english muffins, premade crusts (including freezing your own cauliflower), pitas, lavash and just about every other bread product in existence freezes well individually and reheats quickly. Pasta sauce in cubes is a great way to portion for this and reheats quickly. Whatever veg you have on hand can easily top the pizza and the only other thing you need is cheese. You can also pair with a soup or salad and additional protein if you want. Many pizza toppings also fare well on premade rice or pasta (think cheese, artichoke, mushroom and olive with a little basil).

-google first. ask questions later.

MLAN613 Posts: 18,835
4/7/18 6:48 A

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I keep salad fixings in my fridge and canned meat (tuna, chicken, and salmon) in my pantry.

Meghan in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA


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LADYSTARWIND's Photo LADYSTARWIND SparkPoints: (83,977)
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4/7/18 12:54 A

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I just grab a pound of frozen hamburger, microwave to thaw... and cook with a bit of BBQ sauce. Add veggies/salad...done. An omelette works equally well...

Patti
"The only thing we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us."
Gandalf: Lord of the Rings


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SLIMMERKIWI's Photo SLIMMERKIWI SparkPoints: (250,566)
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4/6/18 11:28 P



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With the home-made soups, do you puree them down? I do and make them fairly thick. I also add a good amount of protein to them, either with lentils; beans; meat; chickpeas etc. and find that they are more filling this way. Then just have some grilled cheese on toast to go with it, or have a healthy pizza in the freezer ready to zap and have with it, too.

I always have a variety of casseroles; smoked fish in mornay sauce (with some shredded cabbage and onion added); cooked pasta; stir-fries and roast meats (sliced with gravy) etc. Then I can either have a 'no-cook' night, or just take a casserole etc. out and cook my veges. I don't peel them so all it takes is the time to cook (not long) and I do enough for 3 nights at a time.

I also have single-sized Brown Rice/Chia here that just need a quick zap. Some of my freezer dishes go really well with it, and make a full meal without the need to add more veges. There are times I have at least 2 months' worth in the freezer. Saves time (cooking and cleaning) and money.

My favourite and very quick to cook soup which has a really good amount of protein and fibre is diced potatoes (skin on) and little onion and garlic, quickly sauteed and then add chicken stock. When it is almost cooked I add about the same amount of minted peas and then puree that down with tasty cheddar. Start to finish .... about 15 minutes. If you want you can add some lentils to the chicken stock when you are sauteing the veges.

Kris

Edited by: SLIMMERKIWI at: 4/6/2018 (23:31)
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URBANREDNEK Posts: 700
4/6/18 11:05 P

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I always have a few items stocked in the freezer:

- Individual portions of stews (definitely a "meal") and soups (which are usually enough as a "meal", but a split portion works as an "appetizer" while a larger meal is cooking if we are unusually hungry)

- Portions of blanched mirepoix (chopped onion / carrots / celery), which can be tossed in to a pan as a start for an omelet or stir-fry

- Sliced meats (turkey, ham, chicken, pork roast, inside, beef roast, etc.) since I always slice and freeze the left-overs when I do a large piece of meat --- these can be added to the omelet or stir-fry, or used as a side protein with soup or stew, or made in to a wrap or sandwich

- Sliced homemade wholegrain sourdough breads, and homemade low carb wraps, to either use as a sandwich with a soup, or to wrap around a stir-fry, or I can top with some tomato paste and cheese and sliced meats and broil as an individual "pizza"

- Packages of frozen vegetables: asparagus, green beans, sweet corn, sweet peas, etc. which can be quickly steamed as a side item, or added to a stir-fry

- Portions of gravy with onions and mushrooms (again - I always deliberately cook too much so that I can freeze some), which I can just toss in to a pan, add whichever meat, and a side or two of veggies

- Portions of various stir-fry sauces that I've made (the cook too much and freeze thing again!)

- Frozen fish fillets, usually cod or halibut or pickerel, which can be quick-thawed under running water or in the microwave, and can be thawed and cooked in under 30 minutes. I'll often toss a bunch of sauerkraut in to the pan (always a big jar in the fridge), add some mirepoix, and cook the fish in that. Add in some side veggies, and good to go.

I always have eggs, there are usually a portion or two of left-over roasted potatoes or other vegetables hanging out in my fridge (planned as a lunch for the next day), so a quick omelet / scramble with whatever left-overs and some of the frozen meats and mirepoix is cooked and ready to eat in under 20 minutes.

We rarely have it anymore, but when we used to use more grains as side-dishes, I would usually have some left-over portions of quinoa and wild rice kicking around the freezer, too. These were great as a base under meat-and-gravy or a stir-fry.

I don't often end up with the need for quick dinners because a new recipe didn't work out anymore, since I have (mostly!) learned my lesson on that and am now cautious about new recipes and only make them as a PART of a larger meal when we know we like everything else. This way, the worst case scenario is that we end up filling up on the rest of the meal, and just ditching the rejected recipe.... For us, it is more often that our planned 1 hour walk turned in to a 3 hour walk and there just isn't time when we get home to put together the meal that I had originally planned on, and we need something filling right away.

I'm only feeding two of us, but seem to be only capable of cooking for a minimum of six, so I always have leftovers being portioned out and frozen! I keep a list on top of the freezer, update it as needed, and they are used as part of our regular meal rotation as well as being a handy emergency back-up.

GRAMCRACKER46's Photo GRAMCRACKER46 Posts: 1,778
4/6/18 9:37 P

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I keep a package of frozen turkey burgers in the freezer. They're better grilled but a pan works too. Pair with veggies and fruit or salad.

People!
read the INGREDIENTS!

"It's not what you eat between Christmas and New Years that matters, it's what you eat between New Years and Christmas that counts. "

Sharon from Florida





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NADINE200's Photo NADINE200 SparkPoints: (19,849)
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4/6/18 8:52 P

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I tried a new recipe and it turn out a mess. It happens (more often than I'd like to admit). So as I wait for the pizza delivery I thought I'd ask my fellow sparkers, do you have any good back up meals you can pull out when things don't go as planned?

I'm looking for something that cooks in 30 minutes or less, from the freezer or the pantry. I've tried frozen homemade soups but they don't feel like a complete meal. And I've tried lasagna but it takes to long to cook from frozen.



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