When: spring is in the air, you just HAVE to grill something, and in addition to the arugula that’s coming up from the stuff you planted last year in your garden, you also have fresh chives and parsley coming up.
When you have an excess of lemons in your kitchen because you bought too much for your recent catering venture.
When you want a dinner that has ingredients that can double as a salad for the next day’s lunch since you’re dead-tired and don’t want to spend more time in the kitchen than you have to.
Note: you can still make this dinner if all of these circumstances don’t align at once for you, somehow I have a feeling that this doesn’t happen too often for you all.
For the salad, you grill eggplant, portobello mushroom, red and orange peppers and onion. While you’re grilling, you think about how your life was a dark and empty place before you discovered how amazingly tasty grilled/roasted veggies are. You mix your grilled veggies with the arugula, some spinach/romaine, spouts, snow peas, cucumber and tomato (double it and make a lunch salad which you top with lunch meat turkey breast, which you use even though everyone says lunch meat is full of crap….you don’t care, besides you used the preservative-free stuff). You top this salad with salt and pepper, and a dressing you made from lemon juice, fat-free Italian dressing, Dijon mustard, lemon zest, dried dill, olive oil, and some fancy wine vinegar you bought in Niagara on March Break.
Now, onto the “pasta” (which was tofu shirataki, of course, after your weekend’s indulgences). You make a simple sauce by sautéing some finely chopped onion and garlic in a teaspoon of olive oil until lightly browned, then adding part of a can of diced tomatoes that you had in the fridge, reducing heat and simmering. Because you read on Pioneer Woman once that lemon is good in pasta, and you have all those lemons, you decide to give it a try (because if you can’t trust PW, who can you trust?). You splash in some lemon juice while the sauce is simmering, then add some zest and juice near the end to bump the flavour up even more. You also add 2 wedges of Laughing Cow light cheese for added creaminess. You simmer this for a few minutes to melt the cheese, then add your dried and drained noodles, and simmer until it’s all hot. After tasting it, you decide that PW was right about lemon in pasta: it’s tasty!
For your protein, you decide to make some chicken meatballs for your “pasta,” and decide to throw them on the grill, since the weather is divine, and you’re in a BBQ state of mind. You start out by mixing 3 ounces ground chicken, a bit of Dijon mustard, a touch of lemon juice (try to be smarter than me and don’t get seeds in the meat), lemon zest, garlic salt, pepper, dried dill, fresh chives and parsley, and Italian seasoning.
You take your bowl of meat mixture (that you mixed with your fingers of course) right out to the grill and shape it into meatballs and put them on a grill pan that you sprayed with PAM for grilling and excitedly watched the flames flare up. Then you ponder how you’re going to get back into the house since you’re home alone and have nasty chicken goo all over your hands and no one to open the door.
You grill the meatballs over medium heat until cooked through, bring them in and top your delicious pasta with them on the same large square plate as your salad. You are about to snap a photo and dig in, but are a nerdy food blogger/a little OCD, and run outside and grab another sprig of fresh parsley to top the pasta before taking a picture.
You take the picture, pray, sit down and enjoy while watching an episode of Chopped: All-Stars that you have DVR’ed. You think about how delicious this meal is and how it completely satisfied all the requirements you had in mind.
For dessert, you make an utterly delicious shake that you came up with earlier in the week, that only has 4 ingredients: Splenda, 1 cup almond milk, 1 sugar-free vanilla pudding cup, 2 tbsp PB2 (well, 5 if you count ice as an ingredient) and that is so simple and delicious you can’t believe you didn’t think of sooner.
You pour your creation in a tall glass, and, as your crazy food-blogging tendencies start to come out again, hold it in front of the bouquet of cherry tree and forsythia blossoms your mom picked to take a picture. You sit down, relax, sip and enjoy! The perfect delicious yet healthy meal to get you back on track at the end of the weekend!
You may not be just like me (actually, I hope you’re not, ‘cause that could be scary) and have all of these circumstances converge upon you at once, but I still hope you make this meal. It is SERIOUSLY so fresh, healthy and delicious – perfect for spring!
Do you have any favourite meals to get yourself back on track after overindulging? What foods does your body crave after a splurge/binge?