I don’t know about you, but I’m not enthusiastic when it comes to the fancy recipes of nowadays, be they “healthy” or “comfort”.
For one, too many ingredients, most quite expensive for me. Sugar or honey and salt are a must in such recipes, why, I don’t know.
And then, cooking such a recipe seems to never end. Takes too long, too many “do this and that”.
Then, everybody seems to think that, at home, you eat as at a restaurant, each day others plates, no leftovers.
Cooking for your diet is not easy anyway, especially if you’re cooking for one, either because you’re alone or your family has a different lifestyle.
Here are some of my tips and tricks.
Once a week, I cook a batch of sofrito, or salsa, or what name you like for this delicious tomato sauce.
Cut or blend in small pieces 1-2 onions, a large carrot, 1-2 sweet red peppers (or green or yellow), optionally celery, celeriac, parsley and parsnip roots. Put all in a fry pan with lots of canola or olive oil. Don’t worry about the smoking point, you won’t reach it. Add half a glass of water, if you have a sensible stomach. Stew everything, mixing from time to time, until the onions and carrots are done and it smells nicely in your kitchen. Add 5-7 tomatoes blended or 2 cups of tomato juice, a glass of white wine, 1 tbsp of vinegar, black pepper, a bay leaf, 2-3 grains of allspice, 1-2 garlic cloves, a dash of salt. Stew on very low heat for 30 minutes, with the lid on. Add some herbs chopped finely, cut the heat and cover.
Store this in the fridge and use it to cook other delicious recipes, like chicken, meatballs, sea food or fish with tomato sauce or pasta with tomato sauce and cheese.
Once a week I make a veggie soup.
Just throw in a pot whatever veggies you have on hand, cut finely or blended or whole but no tomatoes or potatoes. Add water to cover well the veggies, a bit of salt and vegetable oil. Stew everything for half an hour.
You can then eat this soup as it is or make another soup adding tomatoes or whisked eggs & yogurt/ cream. You might like to add some pasta, potatoes, bulgur or rice (boiled separately) or a can of beans. Always add some finely chopped herbs.
This way, you can eat each day a different delicious soup.
I have a collection of quick and easy recipes based on the same chinese like scenario:
– cut in small, nice, equal pieces any of the veggies you have in the fridge.
– cut in small, nice, equal pieces any of the meats or fish you have in the fridge.
– calculate one handful of veggies for one handful of meat pieces.
– take a wok and stir-fry the veggies. Set them aside in a pan. Stir-fry the meats, until slightly brown. Don’t forget to add some garlic, when almost ready.
– put everything in the pan.
– add a nice sauce, like some soja sauce or sofrito made by you or just half a glass of white wine with a bit of ginger.
– stew for 10 minutes on low heat, with the lid on.
– serve with rice, pasta, couscous, potatoes
My favorite combinations are chicken with leek or eggplant with pork and red peppers or duck with onions and quince slices or chicken breast with green garlic or seafood with leek and sweet red pepper.
When I’m too bored to cook and not so hungry:
I just put in a pan whatever veggies and meats or fish I fancy, sprinkle everything with vegetable oil and black pepper, add maybe a bit of butter, add half a glass of soup or water. Bake everything for half an hour and serve it with a bit of grated cheese on top.
And, of course, there is la piece de resistence, the salad.
I keep it simple, just veggies, fresh or pickled, some olive oil, lemon juice maybe, yogurt maybe, black pepper. No salt, please. Let everyone add salt at meal time, if they like it.
Add some cold chicken meats or sliced hardboiled eggs, some nuts and toast and you have a nice meal for anyone’s diet.
A nice touch: add several tablespoons of some colourful sour fruit like pomegranate or berries.
This way, I don’t loose too much time with my cooking.
I still have some nice more elaborate recipes I like to cook from time to time, when I have time, but these are not my everyday recipes. They’ re “nice to have”.