Need a quick and easy dinner for tonight? Instead of making a single and super complicated recipe from Pinterest, you could give my SUPER EASY method a try.
I'm not saying to never peek at Pinterest for a new recipe, but if you're anything like me, those recipes really only get made when we are having a party and want to impress our friends with the cute things we made. See our dog party last year! All the food was dog themed! #pinterestwin
The other 98% of the time, I need QUICK meals that I don't have to plan out way in advance. Things I can make on the fly with regular grocery items we have in our house already. Meals that don't need a ton of thinking or decision making. Just healthy and tasty AF.
Enter the Veggie, Protein, Carb combo.
It's super easy, and this way of thinking just might solve your "what's for dinner?" issues. And if you follow this way of thinking about dinner, your "what should we buy at the grocery store?" issue just needs a quick run through of this combo too.
Step 1: Pick a veggie. One that you like. Pick this first!! Here's why: The CDC reports that only 9% of Americans eat the recommended 3 cups of veggies a day. So pick a freaking veggie. And do not douse it in butter, cheese, or salt. Hold up.
For this meal, I picked broccoli. I had a FROZEN BAG OF BROCCOLI for like $2 from the grocery store. Gasp. And it wasn't even organic. I'll survive. I lightly sprayed the cookie sheet and then roasted them for 30-40 minutes at 400 degrees. I didn't even put oil or salt on them. They're still tasty AF. You can do this on Sunday and then reuse the veggies through the week.
How much to use in your meal? Grab a measuring cup, yes, a full cup or eyeball a fist size of veggies. Love them? Super hungry at dinner time? Miss out on veggies through your day? Go for 2 cups! Veggies: the more the merrier.
Step 2: Pick a protein. Ok. So food isn't protein. Food has protein... but we tend to think of meat as protein, so let's go with that. Carnivore? Lean meats like chicken, ground turkey, ground beef, chicken sausage, whatever. Vegan? Grab some beans, a veggie burger, whatever your fancy. Omnivore? Do a mix of both.
How much to use in your meal? A palm size or deck of cards. Or use a food scale and measure 4 oz. Or follow whatever the serving size is on the package. If you have a grill, grill a bunch of meats for the week on Sunday or whatever day you cook and then save to reuse through the week for different meals.
For this meal, I used 1/2 Trader Joe's chicken sausage. They're super easy. I sliced it and browned on a skillet. And I did 1/4 cup chickpeas. From a can. Gasp.
Step 3: Pick a carby, carb, carb. Ok, so this is kinda a lie because food HAS carbs. Food ISN'T carbs. But we tend to think of things like pasta, bread, and potatoes as carbs. So I'm just going with it.
How much to use in your meal? Follow whatever the serving size is on the label. Measure it out. What we think is a plate of pasta is actually like 4 servings of pasta. That's why people think carbs are fattening. Not because there is anything magically fattening about them but because we are so used to overeating them. (I'm Italian. Growing up, Sundays meant eating 2 plates of pasta and then sopping up the gravy with a slice of bread. The pasta isn't evil. The overconsumption of food I used to eat was the issue.) It might not look like a lot when you measure out what 1/2 cup of rice, pasta, or quinoa actually is. But remember you are mixing this with other food. You're normalizing what serving sizes are. And if you're hungry, you can add more veggies. Make a big batch of rice or pasta on Sunday and you can reuse through the week for more DIY meals.
For this meal, I did 1/2 cup mostaccioli. I am not gluten-free, but if you are, check out the pasta made from chickpeas or brown rice. Yum. They're tasty AF even if you are not gluten-free.
Step 4: Assemble. And add some additional tastes. I warmed everything up in a skillet with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. I sprinkled with Italian spices and a little bit of parmesan cheese. Wanna add tomato sauce? Cool. Wanna add a different sauce? Cool. Look for ones that are not pure sugar or a million calories.
Step 5: Eat. All in all, this took like 5 minute to assemble BECAUSE I made the pasta on Sunday and reused through the week.
1. Cauli rice and mixed peppers, ground beef with taco seasoning, 1/4 cup rice and 1/4 cup black beans, a touch of cheese and guac.
2. Roasted peppers, shrimp, pasta, a touch of sauce.
3. Romaine lettuce and raw peppers, veggie patty, quinoa, 1 tablespoon salad dressing
Is this helpful? Would you like to see more DIY meals like this?
Checkout my free guide below!