10 Easy, Cheap, & Healthy Customizable Meal Ideas

Not every one has the time or patience to make extravagant meals everyday. So many people tell me they have a hard time cooking quick healthy meals on the fly. Kaitlin to the rescue! Experiment with these easy, pocket-friendly, and healthy ideas:

  1. Mexican Style Sweet Potatoes: Bake sweet potatoes in preheated 350° oven until baked through. Slice open and add toppers like diced peppers, onions, scallions, chopped spinach and avocado. Top w/ salsa and/or chipotle aioli (soy-free Vegenaise, a little chipotle in adobo sauce). Bake multiple potatoes for great packed lunch options!

  2. Smoked Salmon Salad: Bake (350°) or grill (preferable) a wild fillet brushed with EVOO, salt, cracked pepper, and cracked or granulated garlic. Let cool slightly, then flake fish from skin with a fork into mixing bowl. Add a little soy-free vegenaise, dijon mustard, lemon juice of 1/2 lemon, a few drops of liquid smoke, garlic salt, pepper, fresh chopped dill and/or flat-leaf parsley. Mix through to desired consistency (I like mine a little dry) and serve chilled with your favorite crackers, pickles, sliced cucumbers, or in lettuce cups. This stays good for 3-5 days in the fridge.

  3. Stuffed Mushrooms: Wash and dry large portabella mushrooms. Brush or spray with oil and prebake on 350° for 5 minutes. Remove from oven, pat dry, stuff with your choice of mixture. Flavor ideas: cooked brown rice or quinoa/sauteed onions, mushrooms, spinach, herbs, parm/pecorino cheese OR cooked brown rice or quinoa, sauteed onions, fire roasted corn, peppers, black bean, jalapenos, feta. Bake for 10-15 minutes. Let cool and eat with a fork and knife. Optional: cooked ground chicken or turkey, or pulled rotisserie chicken can be added too.

  4. Seared Mushroom Lettuce Cups: Wash and dry large portabella mushrooms. Slice, and drop in a hot pan (medium) drizzled in EVOO or grapseed oil. Season as desired (salt, pepper, chili flake work nice). Sear each side until browned. When finished, serve inside butter/boston/iceberg lettuce leaves and top with items like sliced avocado, scallions, and choice of sauce (Balsamic, spicy mayo (SF veganaise, chili paste, and a drop or 2 of sesame oil), hummus, etc).

  5. All-Things-Egg!: Chipotle (onion, pepper, tomato, chili, scallion, chipotle aioli) or Greek Egg Scramble (onion, red pepper, tomato, artichoke heart, capers topped with olive tapenade and feta or parm. Egg Nests (eggs cooked to order in a nest of sauteed choice veggies), Loaded Deviled Eggs (start with SF vegenaise, mustard, then sneak veggies in your yolk stuffing – chives, red peppers, celery, olive, scallions, chopped pickles – whatever you want, all diced fine.)

  6. Grilled Veggie Rice or Quinoa Bowl: Make brown rice or quinoa according to directions but replace the water with stock of choice (veggie, chicken, etc). I sometimes add a bay leaf, and other seasonings that make sense with the flavor profile. Grill/Bake variety choice of vegetables. I like to use a grill basket to grill veggies tossed in EVOO/tamari/salt/pepper. Spoon rice/quinoa into bowls, add veggies, and top with extras like avocado, pickled veggies, chives, herbs, pestos, aiolis, shredded cheese, feta, goat cheese or salsas.

  7. GF Veggie Quesadilla (on Brown Rice Tortilla): Lightly saute choice of veggies in EVOO and S&P and remove. Start crisping brown-rice-tortillas in a pan sprayed with EVOO or grapeseed oil. Mash a portion (1/4-1/2) of an avocado on one side of the tortilla. This really cuts down the amount of cheese you will need to use! On the other side, add softened goat cheese or spread choice of sauce (examples: chimichurri, hot sauce, SF vegenaise, pesto, etc). Spread your veggies, and add any other raw veggies you might want to add (I like to add greens, sliced/diced tomatoes and garnishes here). Add your melting cheese (I use manchego because its sheep based, or goat cheddar), and melt in a pan for a minute or 2 on each side. Serve with choice of sauce. Cool for a few minutes, and cut into triangles. You can do vegan versions of this with hummus/babaganoush/bean spread instead of cheese.

  8. Zucchini & Greens Soup: saute onions, garlic, a few zucchinis, and a few small potatoes. Add chicken or veggie stock and heat until soft. Add greens like baby spinach or arugula, and a fresh herb like flat leaf parsley or basil. Take off heat, puree and season with S&P to taste. Garnish with chives, parm/pecorino flakes/or goat cheese crumbles and serve alone or with GF toast for dipping. This soup is simple, filling, and awesome!

  9. Quick Brown Rice Tortilla Pizza (GF): Top brown-rice-tortillas with homemade tomato sauce or roasted tomatoes (I like jarred fire-roasted tomatoes from Bella Terra or Muir Glen brand. This works like a sauce and is quicker if in a pinch). Add your veggies and toppings, cheeses (I like goat mozzarella and pecorino, or goat chevre). Bake or toast on 350 for 5-10 minutes, when crispy. I garnish most of my pizzas with dressed salad or raw wild arugula on top. A quick, easy, and light pizza fix!

  10. Kitchen Sink Salad: What do you have on hand? Experimenting with textures, shapes, colors and cooking methods, combine your choice of: lettuces, cabbages, variety of chopped/shredded/sliced/whole veggies (raw, sauteed, steamed, seared, a variety), animal proteins if you wish (smoked or baked salmon, shredded rotisserie chicken, tuna, cooked shrimp, etc), pickled items (ex: artichokes, beets, capers, olives, pickles, palm hearts, etc), legumes (beans), nuts (raw or roasted almonds, hazelnuts, pine nuts, etc), dried fruits (cranberries, raisins, etc), seeds (pepitas, sunflower, etc), fresh herbs (parsley, cilantro, basil, pan fried sage, chives), crushed organic corn chips or homemade croutons (so easy – cut GF bread into cubes, toss in EVOO/S&P/seasonings then toast or bake until crispy brown), fresh cracked S&P. Dressings are super easy to make with a combo of citrus/fruit juice, mustards, herbs, honey/maple syrup, EVOO, and different vinegars (apple cider vin, balsamic vin, rice wine vin, seasoned rice vin, etc). Make it colorful and keep it interesting!

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