5 Nutritionist Approved Easy Dinners
By the time the end of the work day comes along, we’re overworked, hangry and that take-out menu next to the fridge looks better than ever. With Uber Eats at our finger tips, Skip the Dishes and regular old delivery service, it’s pretty easy these days to opt-out of cooking dinner and head straight for the check-out button. Who can blame us? Making dinner 365 days a year is a hefty task. Chances are, most of us do not have the privilege of a stay-at-home mom to cook or a nanny to have dinner ready for the moment our feet cross the door threshold.
Often managing breakfast and lunch is a lot easier. The foods are a lot easier to prep, the options being as simple as a banana and instant oatmeal or a salad you threw together from the fridge scraps. When dinner comes along, most of us just want something warm, filling and fresh to get into our bellies and convenience often outweighs cost. Does this sound like your life? In 2019, the to-do list seems to grow longer and the days aren’t gaining any more hours. There are less people making time to sit down and have dinner as a family, much less make the meal themselves.
If what we’re describing here is beyond accurate and you are pretty tired of throwing out last night’s take-out containers with regret and shame, we got you covered with 5 Nutritionist Approved Easy Dinners! We want you to get closer to your health and fitness goals, with less stress and more joy.
1. Sweet Potato Veggie Pad Thai Recipe by Rachel Molenda
Pad Thai Noodles
1 large sweet potato, spiralized* 2 cups carrots, chopped
2 cups cauliflower florets
1 small red pepper, julienned cilantro, to garnish
1-2 tbsp grapeseed oil
Pad Thai Sauce
1/4 cup grapeseed oil (or olive oil) 1/4 cup tamari
2 tbsp almond butter
1 tbsp maple syrup
1/2 lime, freshly squeezed
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1-inch knob of ginger, minced
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes Sea salt, to taste
1. Prepare sweet potato, carrots, cauliflower and red pepper as stated. Set ingredients aside.
2. Pour Pad Thai Sauce ingredients into a medium size bowl or measuring cup and whisk thoroughly. Set aside.
3. Preheat a large skillet on medium heat and drizzle grapeseed oil in pan. Once hot, begin to sauté the cauliflower and carrots for 5 minutes, followed by the red pepper for 2-3minutes. Remove from pan and transfer to a large mixing bowl.
4. Using the same pan, toss in the sweet potato noodles (you might want to drizzle it with a bit more grapeseed oil at this point). Toss it in the pan with tongs for 8 minutes until the sweet potato noodles look a bit glossy (but try to avoid overcooking them).
5. Once cooked, add the sweet potato noodles to a bowl with the other vegetables and pour Pad Thai Sauce all over it. Mix with tongs to ensure the sauce covers every part of it.
6. Plate, garnish with cilantro and serve!
Makes 2-3 servings. *If you don't have a spiralizer you can use a veggie peeler.
2. Fall Harvest Vegetable Soup Recipe by Joy McCarthy
1-2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 cups butternut squash, cubed
2 medium carrots, chopped
4 cups vegetable or chicken broth
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 zucchini, chopped
1 can (796 mL) canned diced tomatoes 1 bay leaf
1 tsp dried parsley
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1. In a large soup pot, heat olive oil on medium and add onions. Saute for two minutes, then add butternut squash and carrots.
2. Saute for five more minutes, than add stock, celery, zucchini, canned tomatoes. Give a stir.
3. Then add all the dried spices, bay leaf, parsley, basil and oregano.
4. Lastly add the garlic and sea salt. Give a stir. Bring to a soft boil then reduce to a simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.
5. Enjoy immediately. To store, let the soup completely cool before transferring to a mason jar. Freeze for up to 3 months or refrigerate up to one week.
Serves 6 - 8.
3. Becka Crowe’s 15-Minute Salmon Cakes
2 cans salmon, drained
2 green onions, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup almond flour
Salt + pepper to taste
2 tbsp avocado or olive oil
1/4 cup mayo
1 tbsp of your fav hot sauce
1. In a bowl combine salmon, onions, garlic, egg, almond flour, salt + pepper. Form the mixture into 3 inch wide pattys.
2. Heat a pan on the stove top and add in oil. Cook salmons cakes on each side for 3-4 minutes.
3. For the spicy mayo, combine all ingredients in a small bowl.
4. Toss a simple salad, and add these bad boys on top. Also can use in burger buns with a side salad for a different variation.
4. Rachel Mansfield’s Sweet Potato Enchiladas
3 medium organic sweet potatoes, washed and cut into half circles
1-2 tablespoons avocado oil
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup cooked quinoa
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
8 tortillas of choice
1 tablespoon avocado oil
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 15-ounce can organic tomato sauce
1/2 cup Bonafide Provisions Organic Bone Broth (any variety!)
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper
Toss the sweet potatoes in avocado oil, season with black pepper and bake for 20-25 minutes
2. Begin making sauce by heating a large skillet with oil and garlic and stir over medium heat
3. Add tomato sauce, bone broth, maple syrup and turn heat to a simmer and stir for a few minutes then remove from heat and pour into a bowl
4. Mix together the quinoa with the cooked sweet potato and add in the cumin and garlic powder and mix well
4. Add 1/3 cup enchilada sauce and mix again
5. Pour 1/4 cup of the sauce onto the bottom of the pan and spread well to coat
6. Take a tortilla and lay it down in the dish, fill it with quinoa sweet potato filling then roll it up with the seam side down and repeat for each tortilla
7. Pour sauce over the top of the enchiladas the bake for 15 minutes in oven
8. Serve with slice avocado and greens of choice! Feel free to add in your favourite protein too when making this
5. 20- Minute Cashew Chicken Zoodles
1 teaspoon avocado oil
4 boneless chicken thighs (or 2 chicken breasts), cut into bite-sized pieces
2 medium zucchinis, spiralized
2 medium carrots, spiralized
1/2 cup roasted cashews
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 cup chicken stock or water
4 tablespoons cashew butter (can sub almond butter)
1 tablespoon soy sauce (gluten-free, if needed. Coco aminos for paleo and Whole30)
1 teaspoon hot chili sauce
1 teaspoon honey (omit for Whole30)
Juice from 1 lime
2 garlic cloves, grated on a Microplane or finely minced
1. Heat the avocado oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, until it is no longer pink, about 7 minutes.
2. While the chicken is cooking, spiralize the zucchinis and carrots.
3. When the chicken is cooked, remove the pan from the heat and push the chicken to one side of the pan. Add all the sauce ingredients to the pan and stir them together.
3. Put the pan back on the heat and stir the chicken through the sauce. Once the sauce thickens (about 1 min) add the veggie noodles to the pan and toss to coat them in the sauce.
4. Let them cook for 3-4 minutes, or until they start to soften. Toss with the cashews and cilantro and serve right away.
Hope you we’re inspired to incorporate even one of these easy simple dinner options into your week. Worst case, you can always pull out the ol’ crock pot and make a tasty chilli recipe or soup. We also like to have a chickpea or lentil based pasta on hand in the pantry, throw in some sauce or pesto and your ready-to-go! Enjoy.