Celebrating Healthier Meals - Celebrating Life with Paula Blog at Allrecipes.com - 294519

Celebrating Life with Paula

Celebrating Healthier Meals 
Jan. 16, 2013 1:10 pm 
Updated: Jan. 23, 2013 4:46 pm

Every year I let my guard down around Thanksgiving and Christmas and over-indulge...in sweets, in portion sizes, and in way too many carbs like breads and potatoes. So come January, I have to get back on the healthier eating band wagon. My last blog was about making three different kinds of yeast breads. Now that I know I can "do yeast," it's time to limit those kinds of things and make out healthier menus and stick to them.

I've always made out menus. It's much easier to shop with a grocery list of foods that will actually make meals. (Have you ever gone to the grocery store but then gotten home and had no clue what you were going to fix for dinner?) It's also good for your bank account. This week I didn't have to shop. I had a pantry, refrigerator, and freezer full of food, so I decided to shop out of them before going back to the grocery store. 

I began Meal 1 by making my favorite whole chicken recipe, Roast Sticky Chicken-Rotisserie Style. I love the flavor this spice mixture gives to the chicken. I also wanted to try the Recipe Group recipe of the week, Lower Fat Amish Macaroni Salad. This is definitely a keeper and something I will make again and again perhaps with a little less sugar. I finished this meal with apple chunks topped with fat-free yogurt. 

For Meal 2, I used left-over chicken and some crescent rolls in the frig and made BBQ Chicken Crescents, ate the rest of the macaroni salad, and added some cooked green beans.

Even though I still had some chicken left, I decided to cook fish for Meal 3 - Mustard Crusted Tilapia. The sides I served were Really Simple Rice and Carrot Salad.

For Meal 4 I used some more of that chicken in Lime Chicken Soft Tacos. I loved the flavors of the red wine vinegar, lime, and oregano.

Meal 5 consisted of using up that chicken for chicken sandwiches. My husband had gone out of town, and my mother and I ate them for lunch one day along with some left-over squash dressing I had made the night before for a church event. 

While this week's menu was not totally "light," it was better than how I had been eating, and I was careful about portion sizes. Plus, I used what food I had without going to the grocery store. 

If you "PROs" would like to see my menu, click here.

Jan. 16, 2013 1:33 pm
Looks good, Paula! Thanks for sharing. I know what I need to do, just need some motivation!
Jan. 16, 2013 1:43 pm
I wish motivation and self-control could be bought in a can, Bibi. We'd all be so much better off, wouldn't we?
Jan. 16, 2013 2:28 pm
Wonderful pictures and blog Paula.I also am getting better at shopping "at home"verses going to the store all the time.Sure helps the wallet.
Jan. 16, 2013 2:41 pm
I think all we cooks have started taking stock before we shop. Food is way too expensive to come home and languish on a shelf. I sometimes think we need those splurge periods to motivate us into staying on track the rest of the time.
Jan. 16, 2013 3:07 pm
MANELLA and BIGSHOTSMOM - Groceries have gotten so expensive, haven't they? I took stock of what I had and didn't want it to go to waste. I'm cooking out of my pantry and freezer for the next 5 menus too! I also use the advanced search up top. I plug in items I have and up pops recipes for me to check out! I love that AR feature.
Jan. 16, 2013 5:07 pm
Good idea, I am trying to see if we can shop every two weeks rather than every week. Our food bill is pretty expensive as we choose only organic. When I make a mistake with all those organic ingredients I'm truly sad! Lots of money down the drain!
Jan. 16, 2013 6:15 pm
Paula,the one thing i think i have in my favor is that i cook everything from scratch,so i don't buy boxed products.Canned tomatoes for my spaghetti sauce for sure..My parents never had boxed stuff in the house,or canned soup,so i think i save money that way.I must confess,when i go grocery shopping i do look in other peoples carts.Bad i know,but can't help it.
Jan. 16, 2013 6:21 pm
Looks good...Yes I have found if you have a list of ingredients & then check for recipes using say limes you get lots of different idea ( must remember to save those ideas) plus it helps you menu plan better...I have found that menu planning helps cut my budget as well as using up leftovers is a bonus..If I don't plan to eat the leftover the next day I freeze after dinner and pull out later to avoid waste...
Jan. 16, 2013 8:10 pm
BROKENNECKCOOK - I would love to go organic, but it seems so expensive. I'd like to find out what you do to cut corners so you can afford it.
Jan. 16, 2013 8:14 pm
MANELLA - Wow! I'm impressed that you cook everything from scratch. I do take the soup and box mix shortcuts. (I guess that messes up my previous statement about wanting to go organic)
Jan. 16, 2013 8:17 pm
JAYASHIANGEL - I am so glad my husband will eat leftovers. I try to repurpose them most of the time, but often I will make something on Monday and then serve it again on Wednesday. I just can't imagine throwing leftovers in the garbage. Food is too expensive to do that!
Jan. 16, 2013 8:31 pm
PAUlA,your right about food being too expensive to waste,make a hash,or whatever you can with leftovers.Just use you imangenation(spelling?)Have a great night,12:30am here so good night.
Jan. 16, 2013 10:58 pm
Hello Paula, Ty ~ I just saved the tilapia and the rice recipe. I look forward to seeing what kind of healthy recipes you can find and have cooked up. I made a nicoise salad for dinner today. It's basically vegetables or mesculin salad with tuna on a plate with cooked green beans, tomatoes, cucumbers, kalamata olives, fingerling potatoes, and a boiled egg. It's then topped with a vinegrette. I hadn't had one in awhile and it was so good. Don't worry about holiday downfalls. We all had some just too much good food around and favorite recipes we like to share with others. All we can do is eat right the rest of the year.
Jan. 16, 2013 11:01 pm
I too agree about the rising costs on food, omg. I am working hard to try to combat that. It's hard when any advice is always to coupon. Well, coupons don't buy fresh produce, meats, or anything in bulk. They just tend for the most part to not be for stuff I buy. I would love if anyone would do a blog with common sense ways to save money beyond using coupons. I try and try, but still seem to spend more than I want. I bring the list, but still throw a few things in the cart here and there. I love the advance search button too. It is one of the main reasons I use this site.
Jan. 17, 2013 3:47 am
Eating healthier can cut food costs mainly by the substation effect . . . more fruit & veggies for less higher priced meat . . . less processed food for making your own . . . better portion control over high priced foods while filing in with healthy lower priced foods. When looking at recipes and frugal ways from the Great Depression era, you see less meat in recipes and adding more beans as a way of replacing protein. Unfortunately, we’re being educated through marketing that eating healthy means going organic, eating grass fed animals, and the like . . . and that means higher food costs . . . and that stuff is fine if affordable. We should be teaching how to eat healthy w/o adding in all the hoopla so folks can do so when on a tighter budget.
Jan. 17, 2013 6:18 am
Paula-great blog. I love the roast sticky chicken. It is my favorite way to make a whole chicken. Everything looks great. I love your photos!
Jan. 17, 2013 7:21 am
Good blog and menu. And speaking of menu's that reminds me, getting back to manu planning is one of my NY goals, so I'd better get to it --- again. Oh well, one week planned, 1 not. It's progress.
Jan. 17, 2013 10:44 am
Blender Woman - I'm having to get used to your new name :) I have tried couponing, but I agree with you about coupons not being for healthier items. And most times, the store brand is so much cheaper! That's another topic of conversation. There are a few items that I insist on store brand for, but generic can be as much as $2.00 less! That makes a huge difference on the overall price of groceries.
Jan. 17, 2013 10:49 am
ConkyJoe - (I always smile when I see your avatar) I try to add in a meatless night most weeks, often incorporating beans. I love pintos and navy beans. I also have vegetable night, just making things like cabbage, potatoes, beans, and cornbread. Great meal!
Jan. 17, 2013 10:53 am
LELA - Don't you just love that chicken recipe? I keep the spice mix made up in my cupboard. I keep intending to try it out on just chicken breasts. I bet that would be good too! CLOVER - Menu planning, a great NY's resolution! I am just now discovering/realizing that the Menu Planner here actually makes out the grocery list. How have I missed that?
Jan. 17, 2013 10:54 am
That's a good menu, Paula. I agree with you that going organic will bust a budget in no time, which to me negates the savings of cooking from scratch. Cooking kills most germs, washing removes most chemicals, right? Last winter I once went 3 weeks shopping from my pantry and freezer. It was a reach, but I did it!
Jan. 17, 2013 11:36 am
Lucylove - I'm working on the 2nd week out of my pantry, frig, and freezer. It may get slim. My veggie and fruit drawers are almost empty! I feel panicky :)
Jan. 17, 2013 2:59 pm
Your recipe selections look great! I am not one to have that much chicken in a short time but I will enjoy them at various times in the future. Thank you!
Jan. 17, 2013 7:33 pm
Thanks, Mike. Glad you dropped in.
Jan. 18, 2013 6:25 am
BTW Paula, I meant to tell you the baked Bean Tostada using the nonfat beans from Safeway are less calories than other canned beans I have found on the market. 110 calories for 1/2 cup. I know I can get 6-7 tostadas out of a 16 oz. can. So would you say you are getting around 55 calories plus the baked corn tortilla plus fresh veggies and low cal cheese or no cheese? I wish I had a weight watchers calorie book handy to figure this out.
Jan. 22, 2013 7:32 am
HI Paula, Well, I don't buy a lot of clothes, in fact I go to the thrift store sometimes, don't spend lots of money on my nails and now, my new thing is I'm going Silver, I'm not coloring my hair. Then I buy from local farmers in season, but during the winter, I shop at Whole Foods, and look for the sales. They usually have some veggies on sale, so I buy it. Then I make things, anything I can I make rather than buy. Which is my pleasure anyway. Buying organic isn't too expensive when I look at the GMO veggies that are now coming on the market. It also helps local farmers and those who need the business. I vote with my dollars. Those are some, not all of the things I do to buy and eat organic foods only. Of course when we go out to eat, we usually have to just eat whatever they serve, but for the most part, even then, if we can, we choose organic dishes. Hope that helps....BNC
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About Me
I'm a wife, mother of 2, and grandmother of 6. I love to cook. I especially like to cook new and different recipes. I don't like to have the same meals week after week. My husband has decided it really doesn't matter whether he likes a new recipe or not because he won't see it again for a very long time anyway!
My favorite things to cook
I like to cook entrees and desserts. I like preparing good, down-to-earth cooking. I also decorate cakes, mostly for the grandchildren now.
My favorite family cooking traditions
Holidays bring out the traditions: chocolate chip cheese ball; crockpot chicken and dressing; and broccoli salad, sweet potatoes and butterscotch pie handed down from past generations. Another thing that must be tradition in my family: we all make new recipes when we have company! My mother, sister, daughter, and I all do this. My daddy never understood why we would risk making something we had never made before. Actually, none of us has ever served company a new recipe that didn't taste good.
My cooking triumphs
Cake decorating: wedding cakes, bridal and baby shower cakes, birthday cakes: Little Pirate, Cinderella, Elmo, Strawberry Shortcake. My friends call me Betty Crocker. When my daughter got married, she had a bridal shower where the guests were asked to write something on an apron. My best friend told her if she needed a recipe or help in the kitchen to ask her mother. If she needed a good place to eat out, ask her.
My cooking tragedies
A 4 tier huge wedding cake that fell apart at 2:00am. Thankfully, I still had time to salvage the cake.
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