Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Lighten up

I have another full day off today, so instead of spending it in front of the TV and spying on my unsuspecting neighbors, I decided to be productive. Now that I am often home from work after 7:30 PM, our dinner schedule has taken a real hit. If I haven't put something in the crock pot in the morning, or left something out with detailed instructions no longer than 3 steps, chances are pretty good that E will have gorged himself on Doritos and cheese sticks by 5:30. If he has eaten at all. It's hysterical, because he's actually a really good cook. Sadly, he's turned into a spoiled lazy ass who eats like the ladies in Lean Cuisine commercials. "Last night I ate a yogurt, 7 crackers, and half a cheesecake straight from the freezer!"

In order to save my own sanity, I decided to start stocking the freezer with food that he can pull out and stick in the oven, so that dinner is ready when I get home with very little thinking on his part. While a lot of things are great for this purpose (like casseroles and pasta dishes) most of them are loaded with fat and calories. I switched up a couple of faves to ensure that they will still taste delicious without creating massive ass expansion.

Eggplant Lasagna: My mom's old school lasagna was the best! Seriously. Nothing was better than coming home from school to smell a gravy (ok, ok, a sauce!) on the stove and see her mixing up ricotta filling. I used to sneak tea cups full of gravy and eat it with a spoon when she wasn't looking. Now that we are all more health conscious (especially my mom, the fiber Nazi. Really, she can take one look at you and tell if you've had your daily dose of fiber. If not, she'll give it to you, intravenously if necessary.) we never make lasagna. I crave it though, especially once the weather gets cooler. This recipe cuts the pasta and cheese by half, up the veggies, and is actually better than the original. Sorry, Mom.

Chicken Tattrazini: I was a casserole freak in college. Between this, tuna noodle casserole, and late night chip 'n dipping (remember that, Jenny?), it was a damn good thing I had a high metabolism. I couldn't even imagine eating like that now, any more than I can imagine drinking 6 mudslides at T.G.I.Fridays without booting. Ah, youth! I couldn't even find my old recipe (must have lost it along with that metabolism), so I looked up one of Martha's, cut the fat and swapped in whole wheat pasta for the white. This recipe smelled so good I hated to stick it in the freezer.

Cranberry Whole Wheat Muffins: Ok, not a dinner option, but worth sharing anyway! A few years ago E and I went to an adorable bed and breakfast and were served these killer muffins in the morning. I've made them a bunch of times since, but it's my mother who started playing with the recipe to add (you guessed it!) fiber. I decided to make these today when E told me he refuses to eat this oh-so-yummy Cascadian Farms "Hearty Fiber" cereal I bought. I'm a sucker for coupons and for organics, so I bought it without really reading the box. "No way am I eating anything that says it has twigs in it." Fine. I used the rest of the box to make these muffins, so he's still going to eat the twigs, he just won't know it. I wrap them in freezer paper, stick them in a large ziploc bag and freeze them for a quick snack or breakfast.

Funny thing is, E just came home from work early, literally while I'm typing this. He went straight for the fucking Doritos.


Jessica Gardner said...

OMG I can not wait to make that Eggplant Lasagna. I suck at cooking eggplant, though. I normally buy the pre-breaded ones from Trader Joes and bake them in a pyrex with some olive oil before dousing them in marinara.
HERE'S a challenging question for you though: recently because of my lame IBS, tomato sauce is giving me tummy probs. I guess it's the acidity. What's a girl who eats Italian at least once a week to do?? I used to eat sauce right out of the jar too. Now if I did that, I'd have to skip work the next day. Any ideas for non tomato (or less tomato-y) sauces that aren't as fattening as Alfredo?
Those muffins look good too. Yum yum.

Joanna said...

You can make pesto with anything (basil, arugula, etc.) and it would probably be yummy to try in lasagna. I make cream sauces with fat free half and half, by the way. I'm sure chef's everywhere would die to know it, but it works and I feel better about it :) I'll have to remember to write down my pumpkin cream sauce for you!