Today I decided I’d have flounder instead of chicken for lunch, but since I’m enjoying an entire 5 days off work, I had plenty of time to come up with something a little different than the usual. As my caloric intake gets lower, I’m finding useful ways to pass the time between meals so i don’t get the urge to snack. This morning I cleaned the kitchen and cut up an entire butternut squash into cubes that i bought at Whole Foods recently. This was especially time consuming so of course I’d use my squash as a side dish today.
Today is the second low carb day of my carb cycle, so the butternut squash was the only carb source in my meal at 10g per cup (I can have 65 or less on a low carb day). The flounder is my protein.
So after giving it some thought, and giving into my little sweet tooth urge, I came up with a tomato basil crusted flounder with sweet maple cinnamon steamed squash; a healthy and fresh-tasting lunch.
Sweet Maple Cinnamon Steamed Squash:
1 cup cubed butternut squash
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp maple syrup (or if you have to cut sugar like me, use 1/2 tsp maple extract instead )
Put cubes of squash into a Ziploc steamer bag and put in microwave with a little water for 3-4 minutes depending on how soft you like your squash
Remove and add the other three ingredients, spoon-stir and put back in microwave for 30 seconds.
That’s it. Does that seem too easy? When you have to pack your lunches every day, you start to find the quickest ways to make meals that taste good. It makes sticking to your meal plan so much easier 🙂
Tomato Basil Crusted Flounder:
5 oz frozen/fresh flounder
Mrs. Dash Salt-Free Tomato Basil Garlic Seasoning
For this recipe, i use my GE Countertop Grill/Griddle, with the griddle plates because it helps make the seasonings into a crust rather than the grill plates.
Turn the griddle on high heat and spray very lightly with spray olive oil. Place fish (after it is thawed for those using frozen) on griddle and sprinkle the two seasonings on until they are very thick on top. Place the griddle lid over and let sear for 3 mins. Open lid and flip fish (carefully, flip fish i should say, flounder is very fragile during cooking). Then add a thick layer of the tomato basil seasoning to the underside of fish. Replace lid and finish cooking until the fish starts turning up on the edges and the top has formed a golden crust. Voila!
As I was chowing down on my proudly made new recipe, Josh woke up from a nap. He came in and sat down at the dining room table and said he wasn’t feeling great; a little lightheaded, he explained. I reminded him he hadn’t had anything to eat since breakfast. Since I was almost done scarfing down the last piece of fish, I got up to make him something. I had leftover butternut squash, so he had the same side dish, but I figured I still had a little creativity left over to make him a new entree.
Let’s see…he’s feeling a little sick. Maybe he needs something a little heavier than fish to fill his empty tummy. Chicken would probably do just fine. But a plain chicken? Ugh, not happening. Gotta have flavor. I mean, plain chicken is what makes people start these blogs. Nobody wants to have it just sitting there, all dry and untouched on a plate. I looked through the refrigerator for inspiration. I grabbed a basil pesto and half a tomato I saved from yesterday’s salad. But he kind of likes a little kick to his food, but just a little. I had no peppers. But I had a spicy brown mustard. Hmm…looks good!
So here it is. Josh’s lunch.
Grilled Chicken with Spicy Mustard and Pesto Tomato Salsa:
1 chicken breast
1 tbsp basil pesto
1/8 cup of diced tomatoes
1 tbsp spicy brown mustard
Garlic Powder Basil
Grill chicken on countertop grill seasoned with light layers of basil flakes, onion powder, and garlic powder. As the chicken cooks, combine pesto, mustard and diced tomatoes in a small, microwave-safe, condiment dish. When the chicken is finished cooking, remove and plate. Microwave pesto sauce for 15 seconds, remove and immediately spoon overtop the chicken.
Again, quick, healthy, easy. I’ll try to get some more quick entree recipes to you soon, but tomorrow I’m making my special birthday cake. Tomorrow is my high carb day, so I am celebrating my birthday a day early. Because what’s a birthday if I can’t have my cake?
It will still be healthy, gluten-free and chock full of protein, of course. Stay tuned.
Spoiler: it has bananas and cocoa 🙂 Find out the recipe tomorrow evening, right here.