Everyone needs quick & SIMPLE home-cooked meals from time-to-time. Lately, when I’m not too busy, I explore making basic healthy dishes while I work from home. It turns out that it’s easier than it looks to cook great meals, and I want to tell you a bit about what I’ve done while sharing some pictures of the results with you!
Before anyone asks in disbelief of single-men cooking: “Yes. I cooked all of the food you are seeing in this post.”
Things I Look For
I try to keep my forays into “healthy home-cooking” simple:
I know I enjoy meat & seafood.
I know I SHOULD eat vegetables.
I know portion control matters.
I know variety is the spice of life.
I know I only have so much time.
All of that said, when I consider what’s on the menu at Casa de Weathersby, I look for fresh looking meats or seafood (and I don’t mind frozen ready-made things that I toss in the oven) that I can prepare quickly.
The results of that simplified approach to my meals have been very enjoyable, and it also helps manage my waistline (for those who care – I workout, but the saying is true that “abs are made in the kitchen.”). You’ll work into a groove and quickly notice what you like and don’t like, and you’ll also learn that there probably really is a salad that goes with everything! Who knew!?
Quickly Raising the Steaks (see what I did there?)
And like I mentioned earlier, you’ll figure out that a salad can go with pretty everything. Check out this steak salad I made for myself and a friend (as proof that I do cook for others)…
Both of those salads’ meat portions came from one steak!
Simple ingredients: a ribeye, preferred salad greens, grape tomatoes, pasta, a little salad dressing, mushrooms, onions — super easy.
Oh, and pro-tip: The pasta in that second pic has alfredo sauce in it that’s mixed with the grease/oil/cooked-off fat from when I cooked the steaks. Trust me, it’s DELICIOUS!
Chicken is a Simple Standard, Too
I found a simple baked chicken approach online that I use to make sure my portions are cooked properly, but not dried out. That source I used has recipes (with an “s”) that are just super straight-forward and consistent.
I use it a lot for chicken salads I put together…
It’s hard to go wrong with chicken so long as you cook it properly (and I make sure that I sanitize EVERYTHING the chicken touches because I never want to get salmonella). I play with sweet additions to my chicken dishes where that’s cried cranberries, candied walnuts, or a new vinaigrette.
Pasta and Seafood for the Home-Cooked Win!
This one makes me laugh because I used to HATE salmon when I was younger – now I find myself eating it all of the time. And while I know how to prepare the portions of salmon on my own with a straightforward lemon & oil type of preparation, in the interest of speed – I’ve found ready-seasoned portions I buy at the grocery store to be a very wise investment.
When it comes to the shrimp, I will make thins like Shrimp Scampi from scratch – but anything of the fried & sauced variety, I’ll just buy in a ready-made frozen meal section at any store and then add basic things with it (keeping in mind that I’m going for pops of color).
I Still Make Room for Foods I Love
You may have noticed a pattern in my cooking. I tend to stay in the same realm of ingredients as I’m dabbling, but they’re all pretty good for you & meet the criteria I mentioned above.
I still eat Chipotle like nobody’s business. I still love eating chips and things like that (I’m a salty snack guy). I have a small bit of fried chicken or a hamburger every now and then. But I also pivot on a few things.
Rather than reach for candy or a cookie, I’ll eat a Fuji apple (my favorite apple). I don’t really do a lot of bread, but then again – I never have. And if I do — it’s normally garlic toast with some kind of Italian dish. I don’t really drink these days, and if I do – I have a single beer (favorite beer #1 & #2) or a single glass of wine (favorite wine & I love a good Petit Sirah) with a meal (but that’s still kind of rare now).
Hot sauce is my favorite condiment.
I eat chili often, and I love making fried catfish (although I was raised in Kansas City, my family is from the south). And I eat out every once in a while to break up the cabin fever. I still prefer seated restaurants, and I take the proper precautions while I’m there. Taco Bell lost me as a customer the moment they got rid of their Mexican Pizza, and I’m honestly too lazy to make my own at home. But – that also doesn’t stop me from eating tacos I either make or purchase while I’m out (I LOOOOOVE TACOS).
What I’m trying to illustrate here is that you can still “eat badly” while learning to “eat well” and cook different things. Be adventurous!
You will surprise yourself with what you find easy, and the mental challenge of getting the flavor JUUUUUUUST right is honestly fun. (Now if only we could find some way to make cleaning non-dishwasher safe dishes and cookware fun, too.)
That’s all I’ve got. What things do you normally love cooking and sharing with others (or eating on your own if that’s your jam)? Let me know in the comment section below.