Category Archives: Lunch and Dinner

Roasted Vegetables + Protein

Really, I just wanted to rant and rave about how much I love roasted vegetables. The amount of vegetables I love and make on a weekly basis is kind of hilarious (#favoritechild).

Roasted vegetables are super versatile and delicious. Add a protein of choice and it’s one of my favorite go-to meals. Super simple and versatile, affordable, and pretty forgiving with spices if you’re an experimenter like me.

Pretty much any vegetable can be roasted. 

Basics:

  • Pretty much any vegetable can be roasted. The combinations are endless and up to you, but do keep in mind that cooking times are different per vegetable (i.e. potatoes will take longer than squash) so be sure to take that into account. 
  • My fave combos:
    • Redskin potatoes, acorn or butternut squash, and carrots
    • zucchini, peppers, and mushrooms are also a yummy combo.  
  • Be sure to coat them well with oil, but no need to get wild. Just enough to make sure they’re all coated.
  • Be sure to rotate the pan or flip the veggies about halfway through cooking.
  • Oven temperature at 425 (I do see different recipes calling for 375 up to 475. I’ve had consistent success with 425.)
  • 30-45 minutes should do it! You should be able to poke the veggies with a fork and you should see some nice singeing or they should looked a bit toasted. 

Go-to Proteins

So now that you’re veggies are made, you can pair them with a yummy protein. Here are some of my favorites:

Chicken

I like it Cajun-style. (Really Cajun-style anything… it’s almost shameful how many dishes I will make with Cajun spices.) There a few different brands out there or you can make your own. Find your fave and be prepared to use it on just about everything.

Tofu

Grilled tofu is still my jam! (Though I’ve never tried jam on my tofu… which I feel like… would be very interesting.)

  • Slice a block of tofu (I prefer firm — also has more protein) and dry off the slices with a paper towel.
  • Toss it around in some nutritional yeast, salt, and just a bit of pepper (or seasonings of choice. So far, anything goes with tofu in my experience).
  • Fry those suckers in a pan with some oil until golden brown on each side.
  • A yummy sauce (not compatible with any seasoning of choice, though) that I like to use is mix together some oil, soy sauce, chopped green onions, chopped garlic, and some red pepper seasoning or flakes. Freaking yum.
  • Serve this over veggies of choice, rice, or quinoa. Also, especially good on a salad.

Beef

Every so often, I do eat beef. Even though a burger with fries still ranks in my top three favorite meals, it’s pretty rare that I buy red meat. I have to really be craving it. When I am, I usually go for ground beef and cook it that way or I’ll whip up some patties (nothing fancy — seasoning of choice and some onions is always delicious).

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Spaghetti Squash + Protein of Choice

Or as I like to call it, Sketti Squash.

Now, for sketti squash I like to do all kind of things with it. Sometimes, I’ll just add marinara and some lightly sauteed mushrooms. Other times, I like to add ground beef to above mixture of marinara and mushrooms. Other times, I’ll mix it with some spinach and balsamic and olive oil. (I always feel so fancy when I do this.)

Directions

  • Preheat your oven to 375 degrees
  • Cut the spaghetti squash (I cut mine length-wise. You could also cut it cross-wise. I’m just too impatient for that…)
  • Spray or drizzle your oil of choice (I find giving it a good coating ensures it cooks evenly and deliciously)
  • Salt and pepper are optional at this stage.
  • Cover a baking sheet with some foil and place the cut spaghetti squash on it.
  • Put that sucker in the oven for about 30 minutes, check with a fork, and then work in 15 minute increments after that. I like to be able to poke it with a fork pretty easily. (Oh, you’ll see why. If this is your first time with spaghetti squash… make sure it’s cooked.)
  • When finished, take it out of the oven and let it cool for a while. (Cool enough to handle by hand.)
  • When you’re ready, scrape out the spaghetti squash halves with a spoon or fork.
  • Top with toppings of choice and enjoy!

Options

Sketti squash is super versatile, especially if you initially bake it without spices. Here are some ideas for you:

  • Marinara sauce and sauteed mushrooms
  • Ground beef and marinara sauce
  • Spinach with balsamic vinegar and oil
  • Meatballs and dairy-free cheese
  • Shrimp Scampi style
  • You can also check out this post to learn about my go-to proteins!

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Sausage and Rice Skillet

Because yum is an understatement.

This dish is a classic for a reason. You can modify this recipe here and there and it’s pretty forgiving, but like, why mess with perfection? I also love shrimp and will toss that in here whenever I’m feelin’ it.

Simple, easy to make, easy to clean up. Winner winner… skillet dinner.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 c. rice (I use white rice or wild rice)
  • A couple tablespoons of oil
  • 1 pack of smoked sausage (kielbasa or spicy Italian sausage are my favorites)
  • 1 – 2 bell peppers of choice (you can always use half of a yellow pepper and half of a green pepper, etc.)
  • Half an onion (Unless it’s a small onion… then use the full onion if you prefer. You’re an adult and I believe in you.)
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp. paprika (plus a little more for taste)
  • 1/8 – 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (always good to start with less and then add, if you or whoever you’re serving is sensitive to spice)
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp. Cajun seasoning
  • 4 tablespoons of tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 c. chicken broth (you’ll be adding half at a time)
  • chopped parsley

Directions

  • Cook the rice according to instructions in a saucepan or handy-dandy rice cooker (*raises hand*)
  • Bust out your big cast iron and put it on medium-high heat
  • Once the skillet is hot, add the oil and let that heat for a few minutes.
  • Sliced your sausage and add to the skillet, cooking until slightly browned on each side. Then remove from the pan. (You’ll add it back later.)
  • Now cook your onion and peppers for about 5 minutes, until they look good and yummy.
  • Add your spices and give everything a good toss. After a couple minutes, remove these from the pan, too. (I like to add these in a bowl with the sausage. #lesscleanup)
  • Add half of the chicken broth in the skillet with the tomato paste and stir to combine.
  • Next, add the rice and give it a couple of good stirs.
  • Finally, add the sausage and veggies back in and let it all stew for a few minutes.
  • Top it off with some deliciously fresh parsley and enjoy!
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yellow and orange bell peppers

Veggie Fajitas

I recently got into portobello mushrooms and oh, how I love them. We’re quickly becoming bff’s. (Also, can we just talk for a moment about how it boggles my mind that there’s not set spelling for this mushroom?? Portobello and Portabella are apparently both accepted spellings.)

If I’m not chowing down on these with corn tortillas, I’ll eat this yummy dish on a big bowl of greens. Don’t forget to add avocado (always add avocado) and a squeeze of lime juice. (Like, I won’t judge if you don’t… I’ll just question.)

Now, the amount of peppers and onion is entirely up to you so feel free to add or subtract. This is a simpler version inspired by Making Thyme for My Health and Oh My Veggies. Here’s what I’ve been doing lately:

Ingredients

  • 2-3 portobello mushrooms
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1 bell pepper
  • 1-2 tsp. oil
  • seasoning of choice (I like salt, pepper, cumin, garlic, paprika, and some red pepper flakes)

Directions

  • Heat your skillet with some oil on medium-high heat.
  • Slice your onion, bell pepper, and mushrooms.
  • When the skillet is warm, toss in your onion, bell pepper, and some seasonings to let them cook for a few minutes.
  • Then, toss in the mushrooms (and some more seasoning if you prefer) and stir it all together. Let your yummy veggies cook for up to 10 minutes.

Serve on tortillas of choice or lettuce for wraps, rice, or a bed of greens. You can top with avocado, cilantro, or whatever else your heart desires. Enjoy!

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salmon and asparagus on a baking sheet

Salmon + Asparagus

Now, this is just a great and yummy recipe. I love and make it often.

But let’s be real — just salmon and asparagus isn’t a sustaining meal for me. So I like to add sauteed or roasted zucchini and squash, or some quinoa or rice. Check out this post for some ideas on roasted veggies!

The Kitchn is one of my favorite websites. The tips, the recipes, the ideas.

via GIPHY

Their guidelines for How To Cook Salmon in the Oven are what I’ve followed for oven-baked salmon and they’ve treated me well. The only thing I’ll add, to take into consideration, is your oven and it’s true temp. So your baking time may vary a bit.

The recipe outlined in the above link is for simple salmon (salt, pepper, olive oil, and lemon wedges) which is how I often cook this delicious dish. I like to get creative with the sides. (As I’ve mentioned, they’re my main squeeze). Here are some additional ideas from The Kitchen for ya that I’ve liked (modifications may be required… let’s not act shocked) to help bolster your meal:

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My Favorite Lunches and Dinners

There’s a reason I combine lunch and dinner recipes. These meals are pretty interchangeable for me. I’ll often eat these recipes for breakfast, especially as training intensity increases.

Once eggs were off the table, and since I don’t love eating a lot of meat for breakfast (not a huge bacon fan. I know I know, how un-American, however! When my dad grills bacon?? I’m all over that.) I had to get the idea of a typical American breakfast out of my head. Except for pancakes and waffles. Because we’ll never break up.

The only thing to keep in mind, because this is totally personal and body-specific, is when I feel like I need more carbs vs. more protein. I’ve gotten a lot better at listening to my body over the last couple of years, and some days it just wants more carbs. Some days, it wants more protein. So while I try to keep a good balance of both, and eat accordingly for training goals, I listen to my body. And will gladly give it more potatoes if it wants more potatoes.

via GIPHY

‘Cause check it out. I’m not trying to look model-ready for a swimsuit photo shoot in the morning. You know what I am trying to do? Crush my morning run and/or weight lifting session. Eating basically no carbs the night before not only makes me hella grouchy (sorry roomie) but I also notice a significant difference in my a.m. training sessions. If I’m not aiming for a training session in the a.m. I don’t eat as many carbs for dinner because I won’t be using them for fuel. I notice, though, that the closer race day becomes, this is not a thing! I’m more like all-carbs-all-the-time as race day approaches.

All this to say, listen to your body, get in touch with it and find out which fuels makes it happy. With that in mind, here are my go-to’s:

Roasted Veggies + Protein of Choice

Really, I just wanted to rant and rave about how much I love roasted vegetables. The amount of vegetables I love and make on a weekly basis is kind of hilarious (#favoritechild). Roasted vegetables are super versatile and delicious. Click the title to read more about my fave proteins to pair with roasted veggies. 

Salmon + Asparagus + Second Vegetable of Choice or Quinoa

Now, this is a great and yummy recipe. I love and make it often. But let’s be real — just salmon and asparagus isn’t sustaining for me. So I like to add sauteed or roasted zucchini + squash or some quinoa.

Veggie Fajitas

I recently got into portobello mushrooms and oh, how I love them. We’re quickly becoming bff’s. (Also, can we just talk for a moment about how it boggles my mind that there’s not set spelling for this mushroom?? Portobello and Portabella are apparently both accepted spellings.)

If I’m not chowing down on these with corn tortillas, I’ll eat this yummy dish on a big bowl of greens. Don’t forget to add avocado (always add avocado) and a squeeze of lime juice. (Like, I won’t judge if you don’t… I’ll just question.)

Sausage and Rice Skillet

Because yum is an understatement. This is a classic for a reason. You can modify this recipe here and there and it’s a pretty forgiving dish, but like, why mess with perfection? I also love shrimp and will toss that in here whenever I’m feelin’ it.

Spaghetti Squash + Protein of Choice

Or as I like to call it, Sketti Squash. Now, for sketti squash I like to do all kind of things with it. Sometimes, I’ll just add marinara and some lightly sauteed mushrooms. Other times, I like to add ground beef to above mixture of marinara and mushrooms. Other times, I’ll mix it with some spinach and balsamic and olive oil. (I always feel so fancy when I do this.)

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