You will quickly find that the theme of this post is “waste not, want not”. It was a busy Saturday in the Tryon household. I was busy making whole wheat berry-lemon napoleons (that turned out great, by the way – see below!), when I had about 7 layers of phyllo dough left over. I just HATE letting good (and expensive) ingredients go to waste. So I put on my thinking cap, and go to it.
The resulting creating was a delicious, crispy yet light chicken and veggie burrito. I spread out my 7 layers of phyllo (still stacked). Next I took the left-over chicken from the previous night’s dinner and cut it into 1″ pieces and lay it length-wise along the midline of the phyllo. Then, thanks to the creativity of the huz, I added chopped green onions, mushrooms, and the left-over parsley from the week’s cooking class. Finally, a bit of pepper jack cheese and it was time to roll it up. I rolled so that it was like a long burrito and then lightly (and I do mean lightly) basted it with melted butter. To finish it off I dusted Matt’s end with some more pepper jack and placed it mid-over to bake for 6 minutes at 350. The secret to the success of this burrito was the 4 minutes of broiling to complete the masterpiece.
So, in less than 15 minutes I had a hot lunch, with some fiber, green veggies, healthy chicken protein and a splash of flavor with the cheese. Phyllo dough is very light relative to bread, thus overall grains and carbohydrate calories in 7 layers (split in 2, as I did share with the hubby!), is very little, yet the whole meal felt filling and satisfying. Not to mention the internal satisfaction I get from being resourceful.
I purchased a phyllo dough 2-pack for about $4.00 and this provided me enough phyllo for two sets of the Napoleons for social events (pic below, I PROMISE) and the burrito….and a bit for tasting, of course!
This was my table pretty much Friday – Sunday, and sometimes it was worse. That is just the nature of being a student: balancing teaching, research endeavors, having a life, classes, oh, and then there is the studying……. for those who care I was knee deep in Vitamins this weekend. Good times.
So, if I’m going to take care of myself I’ve got to find ways to maximize cooking time. We do really simple meals when life gets busy: quinoa/rice blends in the rice cooker, frozen turkey burger patties, hardboiled eggs, spinach salads, etc.
For those of you who think you don’t have time to cook healthy, I want to challenge that belief. You may not have time right now, but somewhere in the week you have a few minutes to devote to your wellness, if you are willing to get creative and try something.
Batch cooking is your tool of insuring healthy food is around when you need it. Basically I figure out what foods needed to be cooked soon to avoid spoilining and I whipped up enough foods to last a few meals. My approach is that if I’m turning on the oven, I’m going to make it worth my while, so on Saturday I baked sweet potatoes, roasted garlic and green peppers, and cooked some phyllo encrusted tilapia for dinner that night. The whole process took me about 30 minutes (including making a big green salad to last that night and the next day), and I had meal components for 3 days.
Check it out: a view of the oven (you can’t see the fish) I cooked it all @ 350 for various lengths of time. I was willing to sacrifice precision for diversity in options:
The sweet potatoes lasted 3 meals, and one was used to make some tasty oatmeal for B-fast one day. The fish served as the basis for dinner, and the roasted veggies were nice additions to a salad for 2 lunches. Easy, peasy…..