Archive for the ‘Lunch Recipes’ Category

Bottled Dressing Makes Me Want to Barf

 

So, remember the ingredients used to make Quick-Fix Southwestern Fish Tacos

Well, guess what.  Those same ingredients are reusable for your bring-to-work lunches.  You’re welcome.

 

Rant Time

You may have picked up on the fact that I hate bottled dressing (as evidenced here, here and here).  It’s the foodstuffs of the Devil, as far as I’m concerned.  If I go into a restaurant and they give me dressing from a bottle, I review them poorly and refuse to return, ever. 

Seriously.  I’m not paying $12 for lettuce out of a bag and dressing out of a bottle.  I don’t care how healthy it is.  I can get that in my own kitchen for $5.

(Source.)

Sounds extreme, I know, but bottled dressing is a cesspool of unhealthy ingredients, sugar, preservatives and all sorts of artificial seasoning.  It’s laden with calories and trans fats.  And, to top it off, it ALWAYS (always) tastes like there’s a heaping spoonful of dust in it.  I can MAYBE deal with the processed part on occasion, but the taste of dust on my salad drives. me. INSANE.

AND – MOST IMPORTANTLY – it takes all of FIVE seconds to make your own dressing from home!  It BAFFLES me that I can make enough homemade dressing to last a week but restaurants with infinitely more resources and staff can’t whisk together vinegar, oil and dried herbs.

Seriously.  Get yourself an Italian herb blend, your favorite vinegar or some lemons and a bottle of olive oil.  Dressing galore.

So the purpose of this post is to share with you a few homemade dressing recipes.  Do yourself a favor and stop buying bottled dressing.  It’s unhealthy and absolutely repulsive.

 

Recipe #1: Cilantro-Lime Vinaigrette

As I said before, this recipe can be made using the ingredients from the Southwestern Fish Tacos.  You can make the tacos and prepare the dressing while you already have the ingredients out and chopped.  It’s win-win.  Maybe you can serve your taco alongside a salad with this dressing, or perhaps drizzle some of the dressing on the fish.  It makes a delicious marinade, too, if I do say so myself.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil or canola oil
  • Juice of 2 limes or 1 lemon
  • Large pinches of cumin, chili powder and cayenne
  • 1/2 serrano pepper, finely minced
  • 1 scallion, finely minced
  • 1 garlic clove, finely minced
  • 1 heaping tbsp chopped cilantro
  • Salt and pepper

The best part?  If your pantry is running low on ingredients, you can omit the serrano, onion and garlic.  Simply substitute with a little extra cayenne and onion powder and it will be very similar.  However, I would not recommend omitting the fresh citrus and fresh cilantro.

Prep the serrano, scallion, garlic and cilantro.  Toss it all into a tupperware container with some salt and pepper.

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Add lemon juice, olive oil and seasonings.  Replace lid of tupperware container.

Shake the hell of out of it.

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You can stop when it’s all blended together.  This takes all of a super inconvenient 15 seconds, max.

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Pour atop vegetables (I used red leaf lettuce, cucumbers and shaved carrots) and toss.  If your tupperware container is big enough, throw the vegetables in there and shake it all together. 

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I brought the leftover dressing to work for the week and made the same salad, except this time I crumbled spicy blue corn tortilla chips over it and ate an open-faced Boars Head Cajon turkey sandwich on the side…and some cheese toast for good measure.  It was delightful.

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This dressing takes about 10 minutes to make.  A salad in less than 10 minutes.  Me likey.

  If that’s too much prep work for you, try one of the ones listed below.

(For each of the following dressings, you can either whisk the ingredients or shake them together.  My favorite dressing vessels include mason jars, those really tiny Glad tupperware containers, and squirt bottles.  Throw the ingredients in any of these, shake em up, and you will have salad dressing for a few days.  Oh and also – all the measurements are approximate.  Use your best judgment.)

 

Dressing #2: Balsamic Vinaigrette

I’m not a huge fan, but everyone and their dog swears by it, so I should share.  Simply whisk or shake together the following:

  • 1/2 to 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (or flax oil or canola oil…whatever your favorite non-trans fat oil is)
  • 2 tbsp balsamic
  • A pinch of dried rosemary (or whatever your favorite dried herbs are)
  • Salt and pepper

Voila.  That took all of 30 seconds.

 

Dressing #3: Red Wine Vinaigrette

My go-to.  Whisk or shake together:

  • 1/2 to 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (I’d recommend the olive oil for this one because the flavor is nice)
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tbsp whole grain dijon mustard (honey mustard works too, but do yourself a favor and go with a nice mustard on this one, like Grey Poupon)
  • Pinch of Italian herb blend
  • Salt and pepper

OMG that took so much longer.  Like, a whole minute.

 

Dressing #4: French White Wine Vinaigrette

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp white wine or champagne vinegar
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 tbsp dijon mustard
  • Large pinch of chopped fresh thyme OR chopped fresh tarragon

OH MY GOD FIVE WHOLE MINUTES TO MAKE THIS HOW WILL I EVER FIND THE TIME??!?!?!???! jikjf*&(*&(*&*fjdkljfu*(fuoijf(*u_

(Fresh herbs are better for this one, but if you sub with dried herbs it will take all of 1 minute.)

 

Seriously, people.  It’s so easy.  Try it and you’ll really never go back to bottled dressing.

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Mix N’ Match

 

Since I eat like a shameless, gluttonous swine on the weekends, I generally try to incorporate healthy and low calorie foods into my diet during the week. 

I know this may come as a shock.

Considering that I love this

(Duck breast.  Source.)

and this

(Source.)

and cannot control myself when I see this,

(HOLY MOTHER OF ALL THINGS THAT ARE HOLY!!!! Source.)

you would probably assume that I’m not one for this

(Source.)

And you would be right…sort of.

I actually really like vegetables (roasted or covered in ranch dressing, chili and/or something involving garlic and cheese), but I’m not going to say I wouldn’t prefer the burger.  I just eat the burger (with a nice duck breast chaser) on the weekends.

Anyway, because I refuse to eat food that tastes like sh*t and most restaurants don’t put the same effort into making their healthier options taste like anything but soggy paper, I have to take matters into my own hands.

…She says with all the best intentions.

(Source.)

You see, I’m a bad, BAD person and probably the worst food blogger on the planet.  Why?  Because I don’t get home until 9:30pm, which is WAY too late to do anything but curl up in a ball and cuddle with Maverick.

(This is what happens every time I sit down to write. Or to do anything else.  Love it.)

Additionally, the earliness of the hour is directly correlated to the crankiness of my disposition that day.  I am NOT an early riser, and therefore cannot do anything requiring thought, time, effort or coordination in the morning.

So when my weekend does not allow sufficient time to prepare my meals for the week, eating a healthy lunch during the week can get very hairy (like, Yeti hairy).  Last weekend was a weekend that left me no time to plan, so this week I’m doing my best to sustain a healthier diet despite the multitude of unhealthy and very delicious restaurants in my office’s near vicinity.

This requires mixing and matching food from different locations to create something healthy that’s still edible, like in this post.  For instance, sometimes I get a sandwich from one place, but I don’t like their soups so I go somewhere else for the soup.  Or the first place doesn’t have side salads, so I trek down the street for a smaller bowl of rabbit food elsewhere.

Today’s combo looked like this:

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It included mixed marinated vegetables and chick peas from the meze bar at the Boston Kebab House

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a side salad from Sebastians

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and homemade vinaigrette.

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The sum of all parts?

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Some of my favorite combinations include:

  • Chili from Rebecca’s Cafe atop a mixed green salad from Sebastians
  • Soup from Bailey and Sage with a piece of flatbread from Cosi
  • A half wrap from Roly Poly and steamed vegetables from B.Good

(Stay tuned!  I’m working on a post about the best lunch destinations in Boston’s Financial District!)

You get the point.  Sometimes I feel like a total Fat Kid Special walking into multiple places carrying bags sporting the name of another area restaurant, but in the end I get the exact lunch I want (often for a better price) and I end up feeling full and satisfied.

Question: What are your tips for eating healthy food (that actually tastes good) during the week?

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