When I first graduated college and entered “the real world” cooking was not exactly my forte. Typically, I’d pick one to two meals for the workweek, purchase all the ingredients on Sunday, and then eat the same thing for dinner for the next five days. Can we say blasé?
Add this lack of knowledge in the cooking-for-one field to my pure disgust for all things raw-meat and you end up with a meal plan that looks something like this:
- Spaghetti with red sauce and garlic bread
- Chicken quesadillas (using pre-cooked rotisserie chicken, of course)
- Ravioli with red sauce and garlic bread
- Egg salad
- Macaroni and cheese (and garlic bread if I was feelin festive)
- Ice cream
- Anddddd repeat.
After a few months of this monotony, I started to branch out…. to every local restaurant within walking distance that is. The food was FABULOUS, and the weight gain was… well… FLABULOUS.
Fast-forward a few years. I started to realize that Olive Garden take-out wasn’t the best option for my wallet. And while the Chop House in Cleveland has THEE MOST AMAZING MASHED POTATOES and Fat Fish Blue has fried pickles with hot sauce that rock my friggin socks off, these weren’t the best options for dinner every night of the week.
I love multi-purpose ingredients, but I HATE eating the same foods day in and day out. So how the heck do you eat healthy delicious meals but avoid having to eat the same foods over and over and over again? This is about the time I started batch-cooking basic ingredients to have on hand throughout the week to toss into whatever random concoctions I decided to make each night after work. Additionally, I changed my approach to grocery shopping. Rather than buying ingredients for a specific recipe (that undoubtedly made 6+ servings), I simply started purchasing fresh produce and ingredients that LOOKED tasty and then worked on incorporating those things I really liked into as many different concoctions as I could.
And I FORCED myself to get over my repulsion for raw meat. At first I handled all raw meat with two sets of tongs… Even this method led to sporadic dry heaving… Can you picture forming a hamburger with two sets of tongs?! Trust me… it ain’t easy.
In my house, Sundays are for cooking. Every Sunday, I cook up breakfast for the entire workweek, wash and chop veggies, batch-cook chicken breasts or turkey sausage, and roast up some veggies. Not only does this make healthy eating during the week super easy, but it also cuts down on my work-week cooking time.
So where does this lovely story take us? It takes us to a Loaded Joetato. Feast your eyes on this puppy:
This Loaded Joetato consisted of my leftover healthified sloppy joes atop 1 medium sized potato topped off with some fat free sour cream and chopped onion leftover from my chicken quesadilla and some roasted broccoli leftover from my Sunday cookfest.