Monthly Archives: April 2015

Fast Food And The One Step, Two Meal Shuffle….

With the average American eating nearly five meals from a restaurant each week, it’s no wonder we are less healthy and have to take so many medications for cholesterol, blood pressure and diabetes.  What if you could make truly fast food at home where you know what you are eating, you can make it quickly, it’s really tasty and you can recreate some of the ingredients for additional meals later in the week?  These meals have the key nutrients for keeping you full and out of the kitchen later at night.  They have the right combination of healthy protein, high fiber, and good carbs to keep you blood sugar from spiking and your belly satiated.  It’s the magical meal shuffle to make healthy and fast food.  It goes like this.

This Week’s Magical Meal Shuffle:  Healthy Fast Food

This week we are going to work with a bean and pork focus.  To keep cost down, I prefer to use dried beans.  If you would prefer not to do this, then you can just buy four 14 ounce cans of black beans for the week.  I like to prepare 2 bags of black beans and just freeze some for another time since they freeze well.  I do that with all my grains too since it saves me a step for another time.  If you looked in my freezer you would find containers of cooked quinoa which I will use in my egg custard, brown and wild rice for a seafood saute, and beans to put in soup or wrap.  I’ve even frozen some of my homemade hummus, pesto sauce and lots of soups to eat at another time when I’m feeling lazy.

The key to the magical meal shuffle is to use the weekend to do some preparation so that the week days will be easier.  You will be preparing enough pork tenderloin for two meals.  Here is your week’s fast food instructions:

Sunday Dinner Preparation

1.  Saturday evening, using The Bean Institute’s recommended Hot Soak Method for preparing dried beans, rinse 2 packages of dried black beans in a colander, place in a large pot adding 5 cups of water for every cup of beans.  Bring to a boil and boil for an additional 3 minutes.  Remove them from the heat and let them stand covered overnight.  In the early afternoon, drain, and then rinse the beans with fresh water.  If you prepared two bags like I often do, then freeze about 5 of the 13 cups of beans for another week’s time-saving step.  Place the rest of the beans in an air tight container in the refrigerator for further recipe shuffles in the week.

2.  Make the Feisty Rub for the pork tenderloin.  This makes enough for at least 5-10 meals.  In a 2 cup sealable container (I use an empty spice container) mix the following:

  • 3 tbsp. coarsely ground pepper
  • 1 tbsp. kosher salt
  • 2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 4 1/2 tbsp. onion powder
  • 4 1/2 tbsp. garlic powder
  • 2 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp. dry mustard
  • 1 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 2 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp. ground thyme

3.  For Sunday dinner you are going to cook 1(if for 2 people) or 2( if for 4 people) pork tenderloins in a cast iron pan.  Butterfly the tenderloins and then cook them following my One Pan Dinner recipe.   If you are cooking two tenderloins then use another pan to cook the beans and vegetable.  You can use an 15 ounce can of diced tomatoes or a whole jar of salsa if you prefer.  Allow 3/4 cup black beans per person.  Double the beans and greens if you are cooking for four.  A serving of meat is 4 oz and each pork tenderloin is about 16-18 oz or 4 servings. Save half of the pork for another dinner later in the week.

Nutrient Breakdown:  

  • Pork: Serving size: 4 oz.  Calories: 120.  Fat: 2.5g.  Carbs: 0.  Fiber: 0.  Protein: 24g
  • Bean/Tomato Mix:  Serving size: 3/4 cup.  Calories: 150.  Fat: 0.  Carbs: 36g.  Fiber: 20g.  Protein: 13g.
  • Spinach:  Serving size: 1 cup cooked.  Calories 41.  Fat: 0.  Carbs: 7g.  Fiber: 4g.  Protein: 5gms
  • Total Nutrients for meal:  Calories:  311.  Fat: 2.5g.  Carbs: 43g.  Fiber:  24g.  Protein:  42g.

Monday – Black Bean Chili

When you first get up Monday morning take a 4 quart crock-pot and set to high setting.  Place the following ingredients in the crock-pot and mix well until the meat is well dispersed.

  • 2 pound ground turkey breast or 95% lean ground beef
  • 1 28 oz diced tomatoes
  • 1 6 oz can tomato paste
  • 4 cups of the black beans
  • 1 large diced onion
  • 1 bag frozen chopped spinach, kale or collard greens
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper or 1 minced jalapeno peppers(optional)
  • 1 heaping tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp Worcester sauce

Get ready for the day and come back to the crock-pot in about 45 minutes to stir all the ingredients and turn the crock-pot down to low.  Let time take over!  This makes about 8 servings and will have enough leftover for a dinner later in the week.  Serve with Akmok crackers or make my delicious corn bread (you can use regular cornmeal if you can’t get the blue)

Nutrient Breakdown:

  • Chili:  Serving Size:  1 1/2 cup.  Calories: 242.  Fat: 1.5g.  Carbs: 32g.  Fiber: 17g.  Protein: 40gms
  • Cornbread:  (makes 9 servings)  Serving Size: 2.5″ square.  Calories: 227.  Fat: 8g.  Carbs: 33g.  Fiber: 3g.  Protein: 6g.
  • Total Nutrients per meal:  Calories: 469.  Fat: 9.5g.  Carbs: 65g.  Fiber: 20g.  Protein: 46g.

Tuesday – Tangy Bean Salad and Pork Leftovers

Set the oven to 300.  Slice the leftover pork into small slices, wrap in foil and put in the oven while you make this delicious bean salad that makes 8 servings!

In a large bowl mix the following ingredients together:

  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 3 cups black beans
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 diced red pepper
  • juice from one lime
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro or for ease, 1/2 tsp dried oregano

If you would like to add more vegetables to increase the volume, I’ve added a cup or two of chopped green cabbage to this mix which adds a nice crunch.  I’ve also added small pieces of cucumbers and fresh diced tomatoes from the garden in the summer.  Serve on a bed of fresh spinach or arugula with the warmed sliced pork tenderloin.

Nutrient Breakdown

  • Bean Salad:  serving size: 3/4 cup  Calories: 130  Fat: 5g.  Carbs: 27g.  Fiber: 12g.  Protein: 9g.
  • Pork: Serving size: 4 oz.  Calories: 120.  Fat: 2.5g.  Carbs: 0.  Fiber: 0.  Protein: 24g
  • Total Nutrients per meal:  Calories: 250.  Fat: 7.5g.  Carbs: 27g.  Fiber: 12g.  Protein: 33g.

Wednesday – Franks and Beans

I use Applegate organic beef hot dogs because they are made from organic grass-fed beef, have no nitrates or preservatives.  Served on a whole grain hot dog bun and topped with a small amount of the leftover chili, with a side of the above Tangy Bean Salad, this is a 2 second tasty meal!  There are 7 hot dogs in a pack – enough for everyone to split another hot dog without going overboard.

Nutrient Breakdown

  • Applegate hot dog:  Serving Size:  1.  Calories:  90.  Fat: 7g.  Carbs: 0g.  Fiber: 0g.  Protein: 6g
  • Bean Salad:  serving size: 3/4 cup  Calories: 130  Fat: 5g.  Carbs: 27g.  Fiber: 12g.  Protein: 9g
  • Hot Dog Bun: Servings Size: 1 roll.  Calories: 110.  Fat: 2g.  Carbs: 21g.  Fiber: 3g.  Protein: 5g.
  • Total Nutrients per meal:  (based on one hot dog serving)  Calories: 330.  Fat: 14g.  Carbs: 48g.  Fiber: 15g.  Protein: 20g.

Thursday – Leftover Chili and Cornbread

You can just have the chili and cornbread for dinner or you can have a salad on the side.  My husband makes the best salad in the world – everyone asks him to bring a salad to any gathering because it is so fresh and tasty.  The key is that everything is chopped.

Pete’s Chopped Salad

  • 2 cups arugula
  • 1 large head romaine
  • 1 3″ wedge of green cabbage
  • 1/2 onion
  • 8 kalamata olives
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

Chop all the ingredients separately into a large salad bowl, poor the olive oil and vinegar, salt and pepper and mix together with tongs.  For a nice twist, roast some sunflower seeds in a pan with no oil for a few minutes stirring constantly and substitute sesame oil for the olive oil.  The calories from this salad would mainly come from the avocado and the oil which is about 400 calories but divided over 4 people then that is not too bad for this delicious salad.  You could also just skip the avocado to save about 140 calories.

Fast Food Shuffle

The key to eating healthy is to simplify steps in food preparation, make extra ingredients to freeze or use in other meals and use time to save you steps.  It’s the make once, use twice shuffle to keep you healthy and not add stress to your already crazy day.






Lemon Poppy Seed Cake

Lemon Poppy Seed Cake Makeover

You can have your cake and enjoy eating it without guilt too!  As mentioned in my last post, the key to enjoying your dessert is to include ingredients in a way to boost fiber, protein and healthy fats while reducing the sugar-spiking carbohydrates.  I did each of these things in my version of Lemon Poppy Seed cake.  I boosted fiber by using whole grain sprouted wheat flour, ground flax seed and substituted a larger amount of chia seed for the poppy seed.  I boosted protein by adding plain fat-free yogurt and using the whole grains – wheat flour, flax and chia seed.  I reduced the total fat by using less olive oil.  Carbohydrates were also reduced by using less sugar.   I made up the difference in taste for less sugar by painting a lemon and confectioners sugar glaze over the entire cake.

Not All Lemon Poppy Seed Cakes Are Healthy

Lemon Poppy Seed Cake

Look at the ingredients! And it’s got trans-fats too!

I compared the nutritional value of my Lemon Chia Seed cake to the Betty Crocker Lemon Poppy Seed Cake and a highly rated New York Times Lemon Poppy Seed Cake.

Before I go any further I need to discuss the ingredients in a Betty Crocker cake.  Take a look at the ingredients in this picture.  Be aware that this mix has emulsifiers such as monoglycerides and propylene glycol mono and diesters of fatty acids.  What the heck are those?  All I know is that the Fed has some regulation on them.  Emulsifiers are used to help stabilize ingredients that normally won’t stay mixed, like vinegar and oil.  Examples of emulsifers are eggs, mustard, gelatin and skim milk.  Why doesn’t General Mills just use natural ingredients for the emulsification?

Furthermore they’ve added food additives like stearoyl lactylate and partially hydrogenated oils to enhance taste, preserve flavor and freshness.  Hydrogenated oils are transfats, the worst fats, because they not only raise the bad LDL cholesterol, but they lower the good heart protective HDL cholesterol.  Betty Crocker is not making my mouth drool.  You don’t hear the FDA regulating the ingredients in my cake recipe.  My cake flavor is enhanced with real lemon juice, moistened with Greek yogurt, olive oil and flax seed and contains nothing artificial.

Lemon Poppy Seed Cake Comparison

New York Times Lemon Poppy Seed Cake

New York Times recipe

I used the New York Times recipe for my makeover which called for baking in a loaf pan.  I did the same with the Betty Crocker recipe so I could compare portion sizes equally.  To make sure I compared lemons to lemons I used the same pan for both recipes and took the same portion size for each recipe.

The nutritional information I took from the Betty Crocker box also included the ingredients added to make the cake: the oil and eggs. Lemon Poppy Seed Cake When you compare the calories, fat, carbs, fiber and protein of my recipe to the others you’ll see that mine has fewer calories and carbs and more protein and filling fiber.  Eating a piece of my cake will get me to that recommended daily fiber goal of 25-40 grams and keep my blood sugar from spiking, unlike the other recipes that are made with white flour and have more sugar.  Next time I will try reducing the sugar to 1/2 cup.  If you use a larger pan like I did I would make sure you reduce the cooking time.  My recipe also calls for chia seeds instead of poppy seeds because they are higher in fiber, protein and omega 3’s.  And, did I tell you that my cake is delicious!!!


My Lemon “Poppy Seed” Cake Recipe


  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup ground flax seed
  • 1 1/2 baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • Zest from 1 washed lemon
  • Juice from one lemon (should be about 4 tbsp)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 plain fat-free Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 3 tbsp chia seeds

Glaze (mix these ingredients until the sugar is dissolved):

  • 1/4 cup confectioners sugar
  • 2 tbsp lemon (the other half of the lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 350.  Grease and then flour a loaf pan.  In a bowl, mix all the dry ingredients except for the sugar and chia seeds.  In another bowl mix the lemon zest, half the lemon juice, yogurt, eggs and sugar.  Gradually add the dry ingredients and mix until smooth.  Add the olive oil and the chia seeds.  Bake for 40-45 minutes if you are using a 10″ loaf pan, for 50-55 minutes if you are using a 8″ loaf pan.  Release the cake out of the pan and let it cool on a rack.  When it is room temperature brush the glaze all over the cake.