Friday, August 10, 2012

The "Balanced" Meal

My perfect meal is:

  • Cheap- No explanation needed. We have a budget and I need to fit that. 
  • Quick-  I never know when my husband will be home so I have to be able to cook in 30mins once he calls & says he is leaving the office.
  • Healthy-  I'm not a nutritionist so don't count on the "healthy" aspect to be super healthy... Its more of being cognizant of the balance of carbs, veggies, protein, & fruit. I don't count calories, sugars, carbs.. none of that. We really eat based on the "everything in moderation" mentality.
  • Toddler Approved- I don't have just one, but two kiddos I am having to please. They are pretty good eaters & not too picky, but still get weirded out by different textures or new flavors.
  • Delicious- I have had numerous styles & flavors of meals. I wouldn't say I have a "broad palate" for food so it needs to be something I would cook again & eat the leftovers! 
It's hard to find meals that incorporate all of those traits without having to go on a "special eating plan" which I personally don't have any desire to do! So over the last few weeks I started documenting our meals and have picked a few of our favorites that I think cover all the above.

Note: On most of our meals, I will separate the ingredients for the kids. 
They tend to eat it better when it's not all mixed together!!!



1 pkg Romain Salad
1 lb bef stir-fry strips (can use frozen)
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 tsp Greek seasoning
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 thinly sliced cucumber
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/2 cup bottled Greek salad dressing (I use Panera Bread's)

Cut any large pieces of beef into bite-size. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add beef & Greek seasoning. Cook and stir for 2-3 minutes or until desired doneness. (If using frozen strips, cook according to package directions & add Greek seasoning once cooked to desired doneness)  Divide salad among plates & top with the cucumbers, tomatoes, beef & feta. Drizzle on the dressing. 

Serving Suggestion:  Serve with pita chips & hummus! 



1 3/4 lb boneless beef sirloin steak, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 large red bell peppers, seeded, cut into 1-inch pieces
3 Tbsp olive oil (EVOO)
1 tsp kosher salt
8 ounces dried fettuccine
1/3 cup prepared pesto (I like Classico)
2/3 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp ground black pepper

Thread beef & peppers onto skewers. Brush with 2 Tbsp of the oil. Season with salt. Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, heat grill to medium-high heat & cook kabobs, turning frequently until meat is done (7-9 minutes for medium). Remove from grill & coat generously with pesto. Toss drained pasta with Parmesan, remaining oil and the pepper. Serve with kabobs.

Serving Suggestion: Serve with in-season berries!



1 pkg (16 ounces) bow-tie pasta
1 large boneless, skinless, chicken breast.. or 1-2 cups of already cooked diced chicken
1 tsp EVOO
1 cucumber, peeled & diced
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 can (15 ounces) Italian-style diced tomatoes
1 cup Balsamic Vinaigrette 

Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain & rinse with cold water. Dice the chicken breasts & saute in small skillet for 8-10 minutes, or until the chicken pieces are no longer pink in the middle. In a large serving bowl, toss the pasta with the chicken, diced cucumbers, cheese, diced tomatoes and dressing.

Serving Suggestion: Serve with watermelon and/or foccacia bread for the kiddos.



1 lb ground round
1 minced garlic clove
3 cups cooked yellow rice
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 pkg Romain Salad
3 cups of chopped tomato
1 cup of corn (frozen or canned.. I like Green Giant's Canned Mexicorn)
1 can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed & drained
1 diced avocado
1/2 cup shredded cheese (Cheddar or Mexican style)


2/3 cup fat-free sour cream
2/3 cup picante sauce
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add beef and garlic, cook 9 minutes or until browned. Drain; return beef mixture to pan. Stir in rice & next 4 ingredients. Cool slightly. Combine lettuce & next 4 ingredients in a large bowl; toss to combine. To prepare dressing, combine all the ingredients in a small bowl & stir with whisk. Spoon dressing over lettuce mixture; toss to coat. Place lettuce mixture on plates. Top with rice mixture & cheese.

Serving Suggestion: Light baked tortilla chips, cantaloupe, and/or kiwi.

I LOVE feedback so let me know if you tried these, have some suggestions for meals like these, and/or just your thoughts!!!! Happy Eating!