Start with what you can eat . . .

Special diets can be maddening, time consuming, expensive and an all-around bite in the shorts (if you know what I mean)!  Instead of stressing, I apply a few basic food prep principles, start with what I can eat, and whip something up from there.  After a few weird entrees and sauces, things will start to taste more palatable and even kind of good as you gain confidence.  Who needs recipes anyways?

My husband went shopping at a big box store this evening for basic groceries including grated cheese, fruit, a few veggies, and the only meat I’ll buy there for a rare convenience:  canned chicken.  Since I haven’t been able to shop very much lately, preparing dinner tonight required some very special creativity!  Gratefully there were onions and cabbage from our garden in the frig, a loaf of multi-grain bread in the freezer for hubby, some sliced almonds in the pantry and a few other staples here or there.  Now to make a gluten/dairy/sugar free meal plus a full flavor meal for the two of us . . .

His and Hers Salads began with Canned Chicken!

His and Hers Salads began with Canned Chicken!

Not bad, eh?  Gratefully it was yummy!   The base started with spring greens in both bowls with oven toasted almonds (sprayed with grapeseed oil, sprinked with celtic salt and roasted about 7 minutes in the oven at 350 degrees, stirred once halfway through the baking time).  The chopped chicken salad-and-vegetable mix included all the veggies we now had in the house:  cucumber, cabbage, radishes, onion, and the canned chicken.

For Him:  I garnished the ceramic bowl and base of salad greens with sliced pears and grated cheese.  I made a 1/3 batch of homemade mayonnaise in the Vita-Mix using sunflower and olive oils instead of GMO-laden canola oil listed in the recipe.  (Yes, here’s the one exception:  ya gotta follow a recipe exactly from the Vita-Mix manual for mayo to turn out right!)  I mixed the mayo with half of the canned chicken-and-vegetable mix and dolloped it over the cheese and spring greens.  He got a topping of toasted almonds with a little extra dressing on the side, just in case.

Basic Parmesan breads:  I thawed and sliced a loaf of multi-grain bread about 3/4 inches (2 cm) thick and placed them on a cookie sheet lined with foil and brushed with melted butter.  I brushed the tops of the bread liberally with butter then sprinkled on some parmesan cheese.  (For garlic butter, sprinkle some garlic powder or chopped garlic into the cup before microwaving the butter, about 23 seconds.)  Broil on low for about 6 minutes checking it often near the 6 minute mark.  I find that the low setting allows the pan to heat up and toast the underside in addition to both melting and browning the cheese on top.

For Her:  I garnished the ceramic bowl of spring greens with a non-cheese alternative (e.g. Goya shredded mozzarella).  Next I made a dressing with almond butter, unsweetened. coconut milk, Mrs. Bragg’s Liquid Aminos and a pinch of celtic sea salt.  This requires some minimal adjustments for taste and consistency.  Then I placed the other half of the plain chopped chicken salad-and-vegetable mix on top of the remaining bowl of spring greens and poured the almond coconut dressing of it, mixing it into chopped salad slightly to coat it.  I finished it off with a topping of toasted almonds as well.

Sure, this meal took a little extra time to prepare and it was worth it.  To make it even more worthwhile, during the assembly phase of this meal and next to the ceramic salad bowls were two large plastic containers that are not pictured above.  I made duplicate salads with every ingredient listed above except the sliced pears (since they would turn brown by lunchtime tomorrow).  So we not only had a yummy dinner tonight but will look forward to a “repeat performance” for lunch tomorrow!  I usually make dinner this way:  setting out the storage containers for lunch and serving them up right alongside the dinner plates to save time the next day.  Cool beans.

That’s it!  And it’s not all bad following a protein-oil-vegetable diet, with a tiny bit of optional, extra carbs from the cheese substitute, when it tastes good too.  ‘Twas tough avoiding the cheesy breads I must confess . . .   ;J

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