You may have read in yesterday’s post that I’ve finally taken action towards leading a healthier lifestyle by asking for help from a professional. And sure enough, the Monday morning following my appointment, I had a meal plan sitting in my inbox just waiting to be implemented.
It was all up to me to make sure I followed that plan to ensure maximum results.
I’ll admit: it wasn’t the best week to start a diet. A supermarket visit had become long overdue so I had to make due with whatever was already available, while making sure that it was compliant with the plan.
But what I didn’t expect was for chicken dishes to dominate. I had been trying really hard to vary my diet by introducing seafood and vegetarian options, only to resort back to the easiest and most versatile protein in the freezer. No wonder it appeals to everyone.
I would say I definitely had more success with breakfast and lunch during my first week of the diet, getting quickly into the habit of making overnight oats with a fruit on the side for the first meal of the day. It was wonderful waking up to breakfast already done and actually feeling full after eating. For the first week, I chose to pair the oats with some dates (as those were the only fruit I had in the fridge) and garnished them with some cinnamon for that added layer of flavor.
Lunch at work was not an obstacle either, after I had spent Sunday night preparing my take on a Greek salad: tomatoes, olives, cucumbers, orzo, corn, kidney beans, and of course feta cheese. I made enough of a quantity that it lasted me until the middle of the week. I rounded the week off with some tuna salad that was equally as appetizing.
But dinner remains the main meal of the day at our household.
The week kicked off with some korma chicken. Of course, I did not make the sauce from scratch due to the lack of time and ingredients, but I did manage to cook the chicken, the rice, and the mixed vegetables all at the same time without burning or overcooking anything.
The next day, I resorted to my favorite kitchen helper, the Maggi chicken-in-a-bag seasoning mix to successfully pull off my take on oven-roasted chicken. And here’s my secret, I have never bought a whole chicken and dealt with its ins and outs. Instead, and whenever I can find it at the supermarket, I get a chicken that has already been deboned, place it in the above-mentioned seasoning bag, then bake them for around 45 minutes. The result is a flavorful and very tender chicken. And hey, since the oven was already running, I tossed in whole potatoes, allowing them to cook as I steamed some vegetables.
I was about to give up on the whole cooking thing on Wednesday, despite the fact that I had left some beef strips to defrost. Through the whole day, I could not come up with a single recipe-and I came home all but determined that we would be ordering in. But a brainstorming session with Ahmad reminded me that I had some ingredients to make some Philly Cheesesteak Sandwiches. He even went out and got everything else that was missing. I made some fries on the side, of which I had none, instead choosing to load my own sandwich with an assortment of peppers, mushrooms, and onions.
I was also going to give up on Thursday- until I remembered that nothing saves the day quite like grilled chicken breasts marinated in some lemon juice and thyme. Except I had run out of thyme- so I replaced it with oregano. As a spur of the moment thing, I cooked the quinoa in some chicken stock instead of just water as I usually do. I’m never making quinoa the old way again!
Friday and Saturday were my days off from the kitchen. Ahmad had plans after work, so I saw no point in cooking for one person on the last day of the workweek. That’s where I called my mom and invited myself over.
And Saturday? We had agreed to lunch out with friends- making me really anxious in the process. I did not want to cheat on my diet. But I didn’t have to, because we ended up going to Couqley, where the options are healthy and diet friendly. Of course, I could not turn down steak frites, but it wasn’t that indulgent of a meal. I ordered a salad for a starter, which allowed me to avoid eating all the fries that were on my plate.
I was back in the kitchen on Sunday, making everyone’s weekend favorite: hamburgers! I hollowed out my burger bun, grilled the patty to a medium well and topped it with a slice of provolone cheese (rather than cheddar), and finished it off with an assortment of vegetables and mustard.
So overall, I would say it was a pretty successful week in the kitchen.