So I have a confession. I’m kind of anti-recipe.
Not when it comes to baking. But when I make pretty much anything else, I like to just get in the kitchen and cook! Perhaps using the recipe as a guide. When I talk with people who struggle to make healthy meals throughout the week, one of the biggest roadblocks is not having all of the ingredients on hand that the recipe calls for.
I get this. Which is why I am an advocate for omitting and adding flavors/ingredients that make life a little easier for you! Don’t run to the store to buy something that you will use once and never again. Like fish sauce, for example. (That one stir-fry recipe that calls for that one tablespoon probably ain’t worth an entire bottle of fish sauce.)
So here is a guide for a common meal that…
1. People enjoy
2. Is super adaptable
3. Can be made healthy
Behold, pasta night.
The above dinner includes: oven-roasted tomato sauce, spinach, chicken sausage, and gluten-free penne pasta, along with a caesar salad.
Now, here is a template to create your own pasta night that suits you! Pick one from each category (unlimited veggies and flavors/seasonings)
- Pasta (whole grain, gluten-free, quinoa, zoodles-noodles made out of zucchini; angel hair, penne, macaroni, fettuccine, spaghetti, farfalle, gnocchi)
- Sauce (tomato sauce, pesto, olive oil + garlic + red pepper flakes, olive oil + garlic + lemon, parmesan + butter, alfredo, vodka sauce)
- Veggie (spinach, mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, asparagus, broccoli, capers, onion, carrots, peas, butternut squash, red pepper)
- Meat (grilled chicken, shrimp, chicken sausage, Italian sausage, ground turkey, ground pork, ground beef, meatballs, bacon)
- Other (parmesan cheese, goat cheese, romano cheese, mozzarella, pine nuts)
- Flavors/Seasonings (basil, garlic, red pepper flakes, cajun, Italian, buffalo)
- Salad (romaine + caesar, baby spinach + raspberry vinaigrette, mixed greens + olive oil + balsamic vinegar, kale + Italian dressing)
Here are some ideas for tasty combinations:
- Spicy garlic chicken penne with peas
- Chicken pesto
- Creamy lemon pasta with shrimp and asparagus
- Parmesan garlic spaghetti
- Tomato basil sausage pasta
- Roasted red pepper and garlic fettuccine alfredo
- Cajun chicken pasta
- Broccoli, chicken, bacon pasta
- Lemon butter garlic shrimp angel hair pasta
- Buffalo chicken pasta
The list is endless! These ideas are just skimming the surface. Let me know what combinations you try!