Tuesday, July 22, 2014

A Happy Birthday and Meal Planning

Tonight we celebrated the 8th birthday of my niece, Avery.  Avery turned 8 today, and my sister invited us over for dinner to celebrate.  We had a great time, and looking back through these pictures, I'm still having a hard time believing she's actually 8.

Happiest of birthdays to you, dear Avery.  You are an energetic, thoughtful, and funny little girl!  I'm so proud to be your aunt.  (I'm also so happy you finally got a pair of "high heels" that you've been begging for.....sorry we couldn't get you a bunny, but your mom said no ;))

I blogged a few weeks ago about my work towards eating healthy, and just like the title of the blog then "The Constant Battle of Eating Well," this week has proven to be difficult.  When I got home from the party, I unfortunately had no choice but to get to work on finishing up my meals for the week.  I got home from vacation over a week ago and getting back into the swing of things hasn't been easy.  I've been letting my weekends slip away without getting all my cooking in for the week, which usually proves to equal a bad eating week for me.  I had already done the grocery shopping so I made myself get to work in the kitchen!  I wanted to share the recipes I made:

Asian Chicken

I marinated several chicken breasts in one of my favorite asian sauces (I've found this sauce at Meijer and Walmart) and cooked them on the stove top for a few minutes on each side.  I usually slice my chicken breasts in half horizontally to allow them to cook more quickly without burning.  I also like using this marinade on the chicken breasts because it caramelizes and allows the chicken to sear well.

I combine the chicken with a side of green beans and place in tupperware dishes, so that I can grab them easily for lunches throughout the week.  I also prepared a large salad with romaine lettuce, carrots, diced radishes, shredded red cabbage, and onion.  I eat this salad with a store bought ginger dressing with no preservatives (I find mine in the deli/veggie section of the grocery store).

I like this recipe because it makes a lot of meals and takes very little time.  Feels good to spend 35 minutes in the kitchen and know that I have several lunches and dinners ahead of me for the week.

I also made some summer Gazpacho, which I've always loved ordering in restaurants, but never made before.  I found this recipe from the blog Eat, Live, Run, which added shrimp! I followed the recipe exactly since I've never made it before, and was happy with the results (with the exception of the shrimp....after returning from a week at the beach, frozen shrimp just wasn't cutting it. The shrimp tasted ok, but I missed fresh shrimp for sure).

I chopped all the veggies roughly and then placed them in my food processor.  My food processor is medium sized and all the ingredients except the tomato juice fit.  I just added the tomato juice at the end and stirred really well.

Boo, frozen shrimp.....

One of my favorite parts of cooking recipes like these in bulk is watching my refrigerator's veggie drawer go from bursting to emptied out in just a couple of short hours and used in recipes that I'll eat throughout the week.  It feels good to incorporate so many veggies, but it feels even better to be done cooking, especially late on a Tuesday night.