The Great! Easy! Healthy! Tasty! Dinner Kit
O, The Oprah Magazine | From the January 2007 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine
The Challenge: "It's difficult to prepare food for yourself when you've been cooking for three," says Adrienne, whose twin sons are away at college. "I'm tired of eating leftovers." That's when she manages to make it into the kitchen at all: Too often Adrienne's hectic schedule—she's an independent film and TV producer and the coauthor of To Love, Honor, and Betray: The Secret Life of Suburban Wives—reduces her to eating a bowl of Cheerios, scrambled egg whites, or a few Girl Scout cookies for dinner. "I want to be able to cook smaller portions of food," Adrienne says. "And I'd like the dishes to be creative, healthy, and easy." She wouldn't mind losing a few pounds, either.
The Strategy: Cooking a generous portion of meat, seafood, or chicken at the beginning of the week will give Adrienne a base on which to build meals for several days. A simple recipe like pan-roasted salmon with snap peas yields enough fish for a salad the following day and a sandwich the next. (If Adrienne doubled the recipe and substituted chicken—which keeps longer than fish—she'd have a tasty protein to add to dishes for most of the working week.) Because Adrienne loves spicy foods and strong seasonings, she can easily vary the dish's flavors: Fresh basil or oregano can be used instead of cumin. She can also replace the salmon with scallops; shrimp; firm-fleshed, meaty fish, such as halibut; pork; or beef fillet. Frozen edamame (soy beans) or any stir-fried leafy vegetables can stand in for the snap peas. A side dish of a healthy starch like quinoa (a grain high in protein and iron) rounds out the meal, making it more filling. Adrienne was inspired: "I've been trying to include more fish in my diet; now I have an adaptable way to cook it."
Pan-Roasted Salmon with Fresh Mint Sugar Snap Peas
Fluffy Lemon Quinoa
Flash-Cooked Greens with Garlic