Good ‘Ol Fashion’ Whole Food Trash!

Ayup- it’s that kind of day. You’re feelin’ it alright, when you see that commercial for Hamburger Helper, or you’re at the supermarket and those look so easy. Whaaaaa, it’s too hot to think about cooking, you whine. And the kids are sick to death of your fresh Jersey tomato Caprese salad- the pressure is on. “Just open up a can of Spaghetti-O’s, Mom,” their wheedling little voices call to you, like a siren song, “C’mon, you know you want to…””

Well, I’m here to tell you that you don’t have to give in. But you don’t have to fight temptation and start going to work on another healthful masterpiece, either. No, these are the days to relax and whip up a quick mess o’ whole food trash! Whole food trash, as I call it, is the dietary compromise I make when I just want something quick, easy, and that will appeal to the baser tastes of myself and my family-but does not, in any way, include anything processed or nutritionally defunct. Yeah, it might have a little excess fat or calories in it, but it can still be controlled by you, since you know exactly what went into it. So today, I offer up a few of my favorite whole food trash recipes for those trickier dinner moments in my house. Enjoy!

Chili Mac From Scratch (or Screw That Evil Little “Helping Hand”)

1-2 Tbp. cooking oil
1 lb. of ground beef, turkey, TVP, whatever floats your boat)
1 onion, chopped
1 Tbsp. chili powder
1 Tbsp. ground cumin
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp. brown sugar or agave
1 cup of your homemade “gravy” (tomato sauce for the rest of you) OR
1 15 oz. can of tomato sauce (if you MUST)
2 cups water (more if needed)
8 oz. of elbow pasta (or any other small shape you like)
4 oz. of shredded cheddar

If using ground beef or turkey: cook meat in a skillet until no longer pink. Drain grease. If using TVP, skip this step and add with the onions). Over medium heat, add oil, heat until shimmering, then add onion and cook until translucent. Add garlic, cumin, and chili powder, cook for about 1 minute. Stir in tomato sauce, brown sugar, and water. Cover and simmer, stirring often and adding water as needed, for about 10-15 minutes (until pasta is tender). Add salt and pepper to taste, then stir in cheese until melted and incorporated fully. Serve hot with some kind of green thing to assuage your guilt.

Pineapple Chicken (or Who Needs Gloppy General Tso’s Takeout?)

1 1/2 Lb. boneless chicken breasts, cut into strips
2 tbsp. oil for the pan

For the marinade:
1 tbsp. corn starch
pinch of pepper
1 tbsp. oil
2 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tbsp. sherry
1 can pineapple chunks in their juice only
5 cloves of garlic, minced (or however much you can stand)

for the sauce:
6 Tbsp. sherry
4 Tbsp. water
8 Tbsp. pineapple juice (take it from the can)
2 tbsp. corn starch

Mix marinade ingredients together and marinate chicken for at least 15 minutes. In another bowl, mix together sauce ingredients. In a wok or skillet, heat 1 tbsp. oil until smoking, then add chicken. Cook until no longer pink, then add pineapple chunks, cover and simmer for 2 minutes. Remove to a bowl. In the same pan, heat the remaining oil and saute garlic for 1 minute- add the sauce, and stir until thickened. Add chicken and pineapple back to the pan, and cook for 3 more minutes, stirring and heating through. Serve over rice, noodles- whatever ya got leftover.



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