What’s for Dinner?

January 06, 2012Leave a comment

To say I struck a nerve with the juice post would be a gross understatement. Apparently this crowd is ready for some cleansing and a return to healthy eating! I hear you on that. Pictured above is a pile of produce that eventually became juice in my kitchen. Winter produce is terrific for juicing. The fennel, kale, lemons and pears you see above are all at peak right now. But what happens after a few juice-centric days?

Keep up your efforts with meals dense in nutrients and fiber. Perhaps even more importantly (and this is where I get tripped up Every. Single. Time.), keep portions to a reasonable size. It’s better for your digestive system, it’s better for your waistline and it’s just a good idea all around. I’m not one for cutting out foods or food groups indefinitely. The second I swear off bread or chocolate, it’s all I want to eat. Keeping a close watch on how much is the key. For example, this week’s pasta with lentils and kale calls for 1/2 pound of pasta for 4 people. That’s a serving size of 2 oz. per person and believe it or not, that’s also the “suggested” serving size printed right on the box. If you’re worried you’ll be hungry after just one small serving of pasta, enjoy a big salad or steamed veggies on the side. Or start the meal with a bowl of soup. This one is a good bet and so is this one.

Now is a great time to get used to what a reasonable serving size looks like. I discovered this neat little tool courtesy of the USDA. Plug in your age, height, weight and level of activity and it tells you exactly how much of each type of food you need in a day. Cool, right? One more way to help control portions is by using a food scale. I have this model and I love it. I use it all the time. Want to know what an ounce of cheese looks like? Weigh it. Or what about a pound of broccoli? Set it on the scale and find out. This is a terrific exercise and will help you estimate appropriate portion sizes when out and about.

Not convinced yet? Perhaps what you really want to know is how to take your favorite foods and incorporate them into your healthy lifestyle. What I really want these days is comfort foods. Winter has finally decided to stick around for more than a day at a time and I want something yummy, dammit. “Comfort food” means different things to different people. To me, it’s warm, hearty, satisfying fare that leaves me feeling happy mentally and physically. A bowl of lentil soup is a great example. A square of dark chocolate doesn’t hurt either…and a voluptuous glass of spicy, bold red wine to wash it all down. For Andy, comfort food is almost always of the Italian variety and this week’s chicken marsala is a perfect example. The recipe comes from Comfort Food Fix, a new cookbook by Ellie Krieger. I received a copy of the book from the editor, who I met at a conference last year (check out his fun blog here!). I wasted no time in leafing through its pretty pages for inspiration. And you know what? It’s possible to have both comfort and joy. I think there is a song about that…um, yeah. That was last month. But it’s yours to have even in January with a bit of thoughtful planning.

What’s in Season?

Carrot | Kale | Lemons | Mushrooms | Spinach

What’s for Dinner?

The List

Produce
1 pound kale
1 pound mushrooms
2 large carrots
5 shallots
2 garlic cloves
Fresh flat-leaf parsley
Fresh mint
Fresh basil

Pantry
Marsala wine
2 cups chicken broth
Saffron
1/2 pound short pasta
1/2 cup French green lentils

Meat/Fish
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
4 halibut fillets

Dairy/Fridge/Freezer
Parmesan cheese

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