Part of my budgeting plan for this new year is bringing lunch to work and having prepared food at home for dinner every night. My decision to eat out will now be based on spending time with friends, not necessity or exhaustion. This plan is both good for the wallet and the bikini bod, however it has been harder to achieve than I originally thought. The last thing I want to do on a Sunday night – that already comes up far, far too quickly – is spend hours grocery shopping and cooking.
I’m here to tell you that I finally made it happen this past weekend and it is completely worth it. I have lunch and dinner for the entire week and the cooking was actually more relaxing than I thought. This means, ladies and gentleman, that I barely open my wallet for 5 days out of the week. Success.
What did I make.
* Salad: washed and cut up everything so all I have to do is put it together and add some dressing. I kept the salad simple, since I just need this for nights I am extra hungry and need to munch on something – cucumbers, carrots, lettuce, some oregano and a little cheese for those extra long days.
* Lentil Soup: Soup is healthy, easy to make and will last you through the week. This week I made my mom’s lentil soup.
8 cups of water (I might try using less water next time, my soup was a bit watery)
1 cup of brown lentils
1 chopped large carrot
1 chopped large celery stalk
1 chopped small yellow onion
1 smashed garlic clove
1/2 a large tomato (optional)
1/2 a stick of sliced/chopped pepperoni (we don’t add oil or salt to this soup so the pepperoni is where most of the flavor comes from)
Directions: put all ingredients in pot. Bring to a boil, then down to a strong simmer. Let simmer for an hour. Add salt to taste at the end, but again, the pepperoni should do most of the work.
* Chicken Cutlets: Breaded Chicken Cutlets are also extremely easy to make, delicious and versatile. You can eat them just so, or get creative and throw on a topping like salad or cheese. In this case, I cooked up a delicious version of my family marinara sauce which included sliced eggplant, red pepper flakes and some sprinkled grated cheese on top. Impressive, easy and delicious.
I am not a big eggplant lover but this sauce really is amazing. While your base marinara sauce is cooking, slice up some eggplant (about an inch thick), salt them, let them sit and absorb the salt. Then shake off the excess salt, put in the oven for about 30 minutes at 350 degrees. About 15 minutes in, flip them over. You just want them to brown a bit. When they are ready, chop them up and throw them in your cooking sauce. The longer they cook with the sauce, the softer and more delicious they get.
Now bake your chicken cutlets. When they are pretty much done, scoop some of your delicious sauce on top, sprinkle some grated cheese and put it back in a warm oven for a few more minutes. Now eat them.
Here’s to healthy eating and a full wallet!