Dinner is the most desired meal of the day, yet most dreaded because of the prepping, planning & time-consuming cooking. However, it doesn’t have to be a chore! Just like breakfast and lunch, taking a little bit of time to strategize will reward you with a delicious meal. Once again, aim for quality carbohydrates, lean protein, high fiber, and some healthy fats. Here are some ideas to try for DINNER this week.
PVS… Protein, Veggie, Starch
Use this acronym to build a balanced plate with whatever you have on hand. Since it is grilling season, choose items to cook all at once on the grill. Some PVS pairings include: salmon + asparagus + sweet potato OR pork tenderloin + zucchini + corn on the cob OR chicken breast + bell peppers with onions + potato wedges. Best way to season? Lightly coat with olive oil, salt, and pepper.
Slow Cooker Chili
I enjoy chili year round because it is EASY & delicious. And, when you make it in a slow cooker, it is hands-off so you can spend your time outside of the kitchen. For your base, use 3 cans of your favorite beans like black, pinto, or kidney. Add 2 cans of diced tomatoes, chopped veggies like peppers, onions, squash, & zucchini, and extra tomato sauce, tomato soup, or broth to bring to a desired consistency. Want more protein? Add about a pound of ground turkey, beef, chicken, or cooked lentils. To heighten the flavor, take an extra 10-15 minutes to brown the meat and veggies before putting them in the slow cooker on low for 6-8 hours. Serve with a side of cornbread, whole wheat toast, or whole-grain noodles.
As an alternative to noodles, try shredded spaghetti squash or spiralized zucchini, sweet potato or butternut squash. Top with a low-sugar marinara sauce or tomato sauce with cooked mushrooms, tomatoes, and onions for extra flavor. Sprinkle with parmesan or nutritional yeast to top it off with that cheesy bite. To increase that protein count, serve with a side of beans, grilled chicken, ground turkey, eggs, lentils, pork chops, or soy crumbles. This meal is delicious the next day too for leftovers.
Making dinner is a necessity, but it doesn’t need to be stressful or boring. Try some of these ideas to make dinner time tasty and enjoyable. Also, tune in on my Facebook page Nicole Olen, RDN every Thursday at 1:30 pm CST for Cooking with Nicole, where I showcase a delicious recipe each and every week for you to recreate in your own kitchen.