Okay! Brisk clap!
Well thank god THAT'S over.
And by "that," I mean the trainwreck of crappy eating and too much drinking that's been going on, oh, about since the Halloween candy was out. Like everyone else in the world, I am now back into a healthy eating situation blah blah exercise blah blah my pants are too tight.
I'm generally not one to lament the lack of tasty, healthy, low-cal whole foods out there, but like anyone I often have a hard time coming up with new and exciting ways to put them together. So what better way than crowd sourcing? I'm going to share with you one of my favorite ways of getting in a lot of flavor for not a lot of calories, and in return, tell me: What healthy stuff are you eating these days?
One of my favorite ways to spice up (no pun intended) a savory meal is to blacken the protein. There are many variations of it, but blackening seasoning can generally be made from a few simple herbs and spices that you probably have in your cabinet. Here is one version, and you can find others here and here. Most versions seem to have cayenne, thyme, paprika, salt, black pepper, garlic and onion powders in common.
I've had blackened chicken, salmon, and shrimp, and I'm sure it would also be great on tofu, pork, beef, turkey, and other types of fish. Once your blackening is prepped and ready to go, use it to coat your protein. If the protein is a little dry and it's not sticking, rub with a bit of olive oil to help it stick. You can grill it, pan sear it (cast iron adds an extra nice layer of flavor), or broil it. Versatility!
A few ideas for ways to eat your blackened protein:
- Make a ceasar vinaigrette, toss with romaine, a little strong Parmesan Reggiano (adds a lot of flavor, and you don't need much), and service with chicken, shrimp, or salmon.
- Check out this great list of vinaigrettes to get some more salad inspiration. How about blackened chicken with strawberries, feta, spinach, and strawberry vinaigrette? Or a southwest inspired salad with blackened beef, black beans, avocado, corn, greens and a little lime-cilantro vinaigrette?
- A "burrito bowl" with brown rice, black beans, tomatoes, peppers, and salsa.
- Put it in a sandwich and pile it with veggies and even some hummus.
- The shrimp are especially good with polenta or grits, and your favorite veggies.
Okay, your turn! What are your favorite healthy meals lately?
PS - My favorite breakfast is still oatmeal with fruit and nut butters: protein, fiber, and whole grains a million different ways. There are some great healthy meal ideas in the comments of this post.
All photos: Me.