Thursday, March 8, 2012

A quick and easy meal for one

It helps to keep a moderately well-stocked pantry and refigerator. I got home from work today. Yesterday I was at the clinical site until 8:30pm, back at the site at 5:30am, and finally got home after lecturing about the economics of health care at 5pm.

I did not want to cook anything.

So, I poked my head in the fridge, and started pulling stuff out. I ended up with a salad. A nice, robust, flavorful salad. I built it with a sense of fun, thinking what ele can I add that will make it tasty and still healthy.  I started with a base of mixed lettuces, and then halved about eight cherry tomatoes.  Then I weighed out an ounce of walnut and an ounce of Gorgonzola (crumbled) cheese, and 1/3 cup of fresh blueberries. I layered each of those on top, and then made an ounce of balsamic vinaigrette.

Delicious! This is what I looked like:

Make it easy for yourself to make a quick meal. Unless you live next door to a grocer, keep some basic essentials in the kitchen. I always have lettuce on hand. Never iceberg (far too bland) but usually some romaine hearts (for crunch) and mixed greens (for color and flavor). A bag of baby spinach works well, too. When in season, I have fresh blueberries, blackberries or strawberries on the bottom shelf of the fridge. If you want to use raspberries, that would work, too, but that is one fruit that I don't like. Grapes would also be a nice salad addition, as would an apple, mandarin orange wedges, or dried fruit such as cranberries, raisins, cherries, or mango. (Dried fruit tends to add a LOT of sugars, to use sparingly.)

Walnuts are my favorite nut to add to a salads, but pecans, cashews or slivered almonds would be tasty. Remember, you are building this salad to your preferences, so use what you like. I like cherry tomatoes for their texture, but any tomato would be okay to use. Diced onion would also be a good addition, but I didn't chop any tonight.

If you want to avoid sodium, skip the cheese, but I was able to budget for it, and I like aged blue cheeses. An aged Parmesan or cheddar, or even shredded Swiss would be good. You'll need a robust cheese with the fruit and nuts or the cheese will get lost (so no mozzarella.)

Top it with your favorite dressing, or make my vinaigrette. It is a simple recipe.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp sugar (or 1/4 tsp stevia or other non-sugar sweetener)
1/2 - 1/2 tsp of your favorite herbs

Stir together, pour over salad immediately.

The nutritional data, for the salad I have in the picture, and with the vinaigrette:

Calories:          489
Fat:                  41.5g
Sat fat:               8.8g
Chol:                  25mg
Sodium:            315mg
Carbs:                21g
Fiber:                6.3g
Protein:           16.1g

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