You’ve probably already noticed, but I’m not real big on frozen dinners. Most days, I’m pretty willing to put forth the bit of foresight and planning in order to prepare fresh, homemade meals for myself… And then there are the times when I’m being a human and things don’t go as planned, or I have to make time for things that are more important than my budding domesticity.
Enter: the frozen meal.
I picked out this little guy at Central Market in the beginning of my Meatless Monday adventure. I had a feeling that there would come a moment when Monday evening just wasn’t the most opportune time to be experimenting with foreign proteins like tofu and tempeh.
Of course I didn’t blindly choose this box. Word to the wise, never purchase any processed or pre-prepared food without checking out the nutrition label. I flipped this frozen find over and noted that it had 240 calories, 5 grams of fat, 38 grams of carbohydrate (5 of which are from fiber), and 11 grams of (vegan) protein. Into my cart it went with the Slender Student seal of approval.
The best part about finally ripping into this bad boy was realizing that our microwave was broken just as I was ready to heat it up. Fortunately, there were oven directions and I wasn’t quite starving (yet). I popped it in the oven at 375º for 35 minutes. While that was baking, I quickly sautéed some frozen broccoli and asparagus with baby kale to have on the side. During the last 10 minutes of cooking, I sprinkled a tablespoon of fresh Parmesan cheese over top and let it brown a bit.
Overall, this was a pretty satisfactory frozen dinner. The tomato sauce tasted fresh, not fakey. The meatballs had a hearty texture and their flavor was slightly reminiscent of falafel. I was disappointed by their number and size, but for less than 250 calories, I’ll take it. The noodles were mushy, but that might’ve been because of the whole oven situation. Now, I’d be lying to you if I told you this low calorie meal held me over until bed, but its moderate protein content made it the perfect pre-game for my chocolate Greek froyo so I’m really not complaining.
I’ll definitely be trying more of Amy’s Kitchen Light & Lean meals and with finals coming up, you can bet my freezer is stocked.
1. If you find yourself becoming excessively hungry between breakfast and lunch, think about what you’re starting your morning with. If it’s full of simple carbohydrates (fruit, most cereals), try adding in some whole grains, protein, and healthy fats. Check out my Fuel Your Morning post to find out why (one of my favorite breakfast recipes is also in there!).
2. In the spirit of my Out On The Town: Salad Bar post from last week, here’s another salad tip: instead of calorie-laden dressings, opt for hummus, salsa, a balsamic vinegar reduction, or even soy sauce. That way, what you pour over your lettuce will have nutritive calories or none at all!
3. Next time you’re at the grocery store, buy a couple of bananas that are fully ripe (yellow) and a couple more that won’t ripen for 2-3 days (green). Now you’ll have enough to get you through the week, without needing to trash the brown, uneaten ones. If it’s too late, don’t forget that you can peel and freeze overripe bananas to use in smoothies!
There’s a lot of really unglamorous behind-the-scenes action that goes on at The Slender Student HQ (my shared kitchen/IKEA desk; unglamorous in itself). Like, there’s nothing that cool about making make dinner at 4 PM so I can photograph it in my driveway against a white poster board background.
This is why Insta-Recipe week is going to rock. The recipes I’ll be sharing this week are from the meals I make myself on random weekdays with little to no planning and certainly no high quality photographs. Hope you guys are willing to sacrifice a little eye appeal for some quality, slender food.
Turkey Meatball Fettucine Alfredo Calories: 309 | Fat: 10 g (Sat Fat: 3.2 g) | Carbohydrate: 21.8 g | Fiber: 6.5 g| Protein: 29.3 g
ingredients: 3-4 oz lean ground turkey
1 T liquid egg whites
1 T tomato purée
1 T bread crumbs
1 t minced garlic
1 t dried Italian herbs
1 package Tofu Shirataki noodles, drained according to directions on package
~1 C chopped vegetables of choice (pictured above are onions, mushrooms, and roasted eggplant)
1 Laughing Cow Light Creamy Swiss wedge
1 T fat free plain Greek yogurt
salt + pepper, to taste
PAM nonstick spray
directions: 1. Preheat your oven to 350° and coat a baking sheet with PAM. 2. In a small bowl, combine the ground turkey, egg whites, tomato purée, bread crumbs, garlic, and Italian herbs. Using your hands, roll into 4-6 meatballs and place on to baking sheet. Bake for about 15 minutes, flipping halfway through. 3. While the meatballs are baking, heat a medium skillet coated with PAM over medium high heat. Sauté your chosen vegetables and then add the noodles. Stir to distribute veggies. 4. Add the Laughing Cow cheese and Greek yogurt to the noodles. Stir until both have melted and coated the noodles. Season with salt and pepper. 5. Top the noodles with the cooked meatballs and dig in!
Hey. It’s been awhile since we got lazy on a Sunday. Let me know if you see something you like from today or any other Lazy Sunday. Next week is Insta-Recipe week, so I’ll be sharing recipes from my most popular Instagram posts.
ingredients per 3.5 oz serving of plain chicken: 2 T Soy Vay teriyaki marinade
2 green onions, chopped
2 t fresh ginger, shredded
1 t garlic, minced
1/2 t chili pepper flakes
2 eggroll wrappers
2 T PB2
1 T sesame oil
1 T soy sauce
1 packet of Splenda
PAM Original nonstick spray
directions: 1. Preheat your oven to 400° and coat a baking sheet with PAM 2. Add the Soy Vay to your shredded chicken. If you don’t want to go all the way through with making the eggrolls and prefer to use your Asian chicken on a salad or sandwich, stop here! 3. To the chicken, add your green onions, ginger, garlic, and chili pepper flakes
4. Lay your eggroll wrappers on the baking sheet, rotating them so they are diamond rather than square or rectangular shape. Place your chicken near the bottom corner closest to you and wrap the corner up. Then fold in the sides and continue to roll. Dip your finger in a little water to seal the open flap.
5. After sealing your eggrolls, bake them in the oven for 10-15 minutes, rotating halfway through. The wrappers should be slightly browned and crisp when they’re done. 6. While they’re in the oven, prepare the dipping sauce by combining the PB2, sesame oil, soy sauce and Splenda in a small bowl. Refrigerate until you’re ready to serve.