Food, glorious food


In the midst of this crazy season, I am trying hard to make healthy choices. I’m regularly meeting with my counselor, and she’s shepherding me through some precarious territory. I’m facing a lot of the ugly stuff head on, and praying – really praying – for the first time in years. I’m staying as active as I can, and sleeping as much as I can, and spending as much time with life-giving people as I can.

But my diet? It’s deplorable.

I mean, I’m good at breakfast – always have been. An egg on toast, a little bit of yogurt, two cups of coffee. And I always pack a lunch, so I don’t veer too far off course during the day. But dinner?

I’m so bad at dinner. Like, a-bag-of-croutons-and-a-glass-of-wine bad. Or, popcorn-and-a-popsicle bad. Or, nothing-bad. Given the amount of times my dinner is “nothing,” I should be Kiera Knightley-skinny. But I’m not – the Lord hath made my frame substantial – so yay, I’m just starving.

Sometimes I sit around dreaming about real dinners – meals that would actually taste like meals, and not just… Wheat Thins. I fantasize about what I want. But do I decide to fix myself these imaginary dream meals? Of course not.

I’m not sure why I just can’t get it together to make a proper dinner – it probably has to do with a lack of time, a lack of energy to plan, not wanting to stock my fridge when I’m out of town so often, and just living alone. Knowing how many of you cook on a regular basis – and then post gorgeous pictures of your food – it’s embarrassing to admit how bad I am at this. I’m the anti-ultimate woman.

But there HAVE to be options, right? Meals that EVEN I could make, without an abundance of time and/or effort?

If you have ideas for dinners that
a) are quick
b) are satisfying
c) are healthy
d) are simple to prepare and/or can be made in larger quantities and then eaten throughout the week…

… then please. I’m begging you. Share them. I’m so hungry.



  1. Heidi on August 13, 2013 at 11:06 PM

    I can’t say enough good things about a sweet potato. Stab with a fork a few times (also therapeutic!) and microwave for a few minutes. Top with cinnamon. You can also rub olive oil on some kale and sprinkle (generously, duh) with Parmesan cheese. Put those two things together and you have dinner…or just do the sweet potato and call it good enough:)

    I’m also a big fan of doing breakfast for dinner, so if you’re already good at breakfast…

  2. Lan | morestomach on August 14, 2013 at 7:24 AM

    panzanella. i admit to not baking bread as often as i’d like, so picking up a loaf of tuscan bread is easy. tomatoes are in season, grab some, any kind will do, maybe a red onion. chop. drizzle with good olive oil and balsamic vinegar. if you have an herb garden, pluck a few basil leaves. if you’re feeling fancy (and you’re not a lactard) fresh mozzarella.i made this for lunch monday morning, and it took me 10 mins.

    another really awesome dish that i fall back on when i’m lazy: sardines + toast (or pasta) with a squeeze of lemon on top. if i’m feeling inspired, some capers, kalamata olives and parsley.

    if you’re not a big sardines/fish fan, avocado toast with cracked black pepper + sea salt.

  3. Michael on August 14, 2013 at 8:04 AM

    *merrily singing songs from “Oliver”* oh, wait…this post really was about food. This has become a struggle for the two of us. Evening meals so often take planning and prep time neither of us has or is motivated to give. Sweet potatoes are very good and versatile. You can also slice them and bake them, drizzled with olive oil and sea salt. You can easily make your own hummus…chickpeas are very good for you, and it sure beats “nothing” for dinner. You can use it as a dip for raw vegies as well as flatbread, etc…even croutons *smiles* I confess I have never made chicken enchiladas. Dang.

  4. Brooke on August 14, 2013 at 8:10 AM

    Do you have a crock pot? If not, get one today. Put 2 frozen chicken breasts in it with a jar of salsa and cook all day. When you get home, the chicken will easily shred into pieces and it is DELICIOUS. Just by some tortillas, cheese, sour cream and cilantro and you’re SET! Happy Eating!

  5. Bob on August 14, 2013 at 8:23 AM

    Here are a couple of meals that get me thru my bachelor periods…

    Slice up a quarter of a green pepper, quarter of an onion and stir fry in a little olive oil until tender. Add some pre-cooked or left over beef, chicken or pork and stir until heated. Remove from heat. Nuke a couple of tortillas for 30 seconds under plastic wrap. pile the goodies onto a tortilla, add a dollup of salsa and one of sour cream, fold and eat. 15 minutes tops.

    Ginger stir fry:
    Start some rice – bring 1 cup of salted water to a boil, add 1/2 cup of rice. when it returns to a boil, turn the heat down low. Cover. Keep an ey on the rice – when there are holes in it that are nearly dry, turn off the heat and let it stand. It is done when all the water is absorbed into the rice.
    Meanwhile, slice up some green pepper, red pepper, cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, or whatever veggies you have on hand. Stir fry in a little olive oil until just barely tender. Add some pre-cooked or left over beef, chicken or pork and stir until heated. Add a tablespoon or so of soy sauce and a 1/2 teaspoon or so of ground ginger – to taste. If you are adventurous, you can spike up the ginger with a little cayenne. Continue heating until most of the water is gone from the soy sauce. Serve over the rice.
    Probably 30 minutes.

    And remember: all cooking is helped by wine. Just try not to spill any into the food.


  6. Bob on August 14, 2013 at 8:34 AM

    OK, I confess.

    The proportions I gave for the fajitas were false. I was scaling them back so that I didn’t look like a glutton.
    I actually use a half a pepper and a half an onion. This makes so much filling that my two tortillas are way overstuffed and messy to eat.

  7. Shanna on August 14, 2013 at 8:57 AM

    Ditto to panzanella.

    Other ideas:

    – Avocado on toast!
    – Roasted vegetables! (Chop almost any vegetable, toss it with melted coconut oil, add salt and pepper and bake until wilted and crisp. It takes 15 minutes to prep but the rest of the time is downtime while you do something else.)
    – Tortilla pizzas (the tortilla is the crust! fast to make, fast to eat)
    – Smoothies!!
    – Fruit (it’s simple but it’s probably the best possible thing to eat, my tree-food-loving Tim would tell you)
    – Veggies and hummus
    – Lettuce wraps (great for using leftovers.. super adaptable.. I recommend mixing peanut butter with oil and a little sugar for a sauce)
    – Tartines – toast + anything on top = tartine

  8. mrs. chesney on August 14, 2013 at 9:19 AM

    I have been known to have pirate booty and whiskey when my boys are gone. :)

    Please buy one frozen bag of turkey meatballs. You can throw them in the crockpot for the day or you can just grab a couple out of the freezer and zap them on the spot. Add a little red sauce or bbq sauce and you are golden. Substantial, filling, two minutes. Add rice if you are feeling fancy. The microwave kind of course. ;)

  9. Kendall Ruth on August 14, 2013 at 9:20 AM

    A book recently given me has plenty of good recipes and of course has the whole storytelling element to it, “bread & wine,” by shauna Niequist.
    I’ve made some of the recipes in there if for no other reason than to try something different and most of are quick and easy.
    Also, couscous with fresh vegis and sub coconut milk for the water, takes 10mins to make and is filling, healthy, and damn tasty.

  10. Kristen on August 14, 2013 at 10:19 AM

    Crockpots are the best.

    1 Pork Tenderloin
    2 squirts dijon mustard
    1 handful of brown sugar (literally, I just stick my hand in the bag and grab)
    1 can of cranberries
    Cook for 4 hours on high or 6-7 on low

  11. Sarah Kate on August 14, 2013 at 10:20 AM

    I long for the days when I could have cheese and crackers for dinner. Now I have people to feed, healthy at that. I continuously, habitually make things more complicated than they have to be so I am not the right person to ask. However, my easy go-to meal is a tilapia filet with steamed veggies. Both found in my freezer. Thaws quickly. Season with olive oil and whatever herbs/spices you want and broil for 4 mind each side. I steam the veggies in the microwave. If I’m really good, I’ll eat a salad instead.

  12. Sandy on August 14, 2013 at 10:32 AM

    Cook pot of quinoa or brown rice. Doesn’t matter which. Buy container of chicken tortilla soup from deli case of favorite store. Add can of black beans to soup. Or not. But now you have two pots of food. Put some quinoa in bowl,scoop on some soupy beans. Nuke. Shred some cheese or not. Mix or garnish as desired. Should last you three or four or five days.

  13. RahRah on August 14, 2013 at 10:35 AM

    I second the roasted vegetables – I chop them on a Sunday and then we roast them throughout the week. I also marinate chicken that day and bake it for 20 minutes…so you get chicken and veggies in 20-30 minutes!

    Or I crockpot something and it keeps for a week. I’ll e-mail you cilantro lime chicken & brown sugar & garlic chicken.

  14. Beth on August 14, 2013 at 10:45 AM

    My easy meal is foil chicken- (not the most healthy but tasty and satisfying)- get a piece of foil, put a chicken breast, a small square of butter, and a tablespoon of dry lipton onion soup mix. Close the foil like a little package around the chicken and bake 350 for 30 mins or so. Make streamed rice (takes about the same time as the chicken to cook- a true 30 minute meal) When the chicken is done, there is yummy, seasoned juice in the foil packet that you can pour on your rice and eat with the chicken. Serve with any vegetable- I just steam veggies in the micro for about 3 mins- carrots, corn, brussel sprout, broccoli, green beans, whatever I have. This was my grandma’s recipe and we just love it! (You can substitute any oil or liquid or white wine in the foil for butter to remove fat if you need/want to) Hope you like it! :)

  15. Michael on August 14, 2013 at 11:22 AM

    Wow! Thanks, Annie…this is a great list. I came back to mention homemade soup and/or crock pot meals, because they can be dinner for a week, you can freeze portions for later, etc. But I really like the suggestions for roasted vegetables, foil chicken, and I had forgotten about the easy crock pot chicken and salsa trick! A hearty vegetable soup, Wheat Thins, a glass of wine…sounds good?

  16. Greta on August 14, 2013 at 11:27 AM

    Hi you.

    Jeff’s and my favorite easy meal is a Cobb salad. We have boiled eggs made ahead of time. We throw arugula in a bowl, add carrots, almonds, ripped up salami, grated cheese, and an egg. Dressing is olive oil and balsamic with a squirt of honey and a bigger squirt of Dijon mustard. Easy and healthy.

    Also, just discovered this way to make “blasted broccoli” and it’s so, so delicious:

    Love and miss you, as per the usual.

  17. Greta on August 14, 2013 at 11:29 AM

    And p.s. you are so NOT the “anti-ultimate-woman.” stop that right now.

  18. Bree Jeffries on August 14, 2013 at 11:35 AM

    Pan or oven cook up a (or several) chicken breast(s). Thin slice of tomato on top. Medium slice of mozzarella on top of that. Add a basil leaf. Drizzle with olive oil. Pop in the oven until the cheese is all melty. Yum, yum, yum!

    I’ll pass on some others when you’re in town next. And… I totally second the crock pot idea. Lots of good eats that you don’t have to stress over and give you lots of left overs!! I’ve got some favorite crock pot recipes I’ll pass on, as well.

  19. Alissa on August 14, 2013 at 1:10 PM

    Easiest Rice and Beans:
    Cook the rice
    Saute a pile of onion, garlic, and peppers (if you have ’em) in olive oil
    Toss in:
    a can of drained beans – black or kidney or combo,
    1-2 TBLS red wine vinegar
    a few shakes of Tabasco

    When it’s all hot, turn off the heat and add 1 tsp dried oregano

    Serve the rice with beans plus toppings (if you have ’em) – avacado, cheese, salsa, green onion, sour cream, shredded lettuce, etc.

    Leftovers reheat wonderfully and you can switch up the toppings to make it feel like you’re eating different meals throughout the week.

    If you get ambitious, here’s our favorite recipe for Yumm Sauce that is healthy, full of goodness, and makes just about any “basic” dish (rice+beans, baked potato, nachos, etc) simple devine:

  20. Elizabeth on August 14, 2013 at 1:10 PM

    Lemon Pepper Chicken

    Place thin chicken breast in a pan(I do three breasts), lemon pepper to taste, juice from 1/2 a lemon, top with a light covering of feta cheese and bake at 350 until chicken is done.

    It’ super yummy!

  21. HopefulLeigh on August 14, 2013 at 2:55 PM

    Annie, I’m going to email you with all kinds of single-folk friendly meal ideas. If I don’t do it in the next few days, remind me.

    P.S. Glad you’re pressing in to the hard stuff and working through it. It’ll be worth it in the end.

  22. The Zadge on August 14, 2013 at 7:18 PM

    Yes. Come to my house and I’ll cook you dinner while you sip wine and try to keep the yellow hounds off of your lap.

  23. natalie@thesweetslife on August 14, 2013 at 7:30 PM

    okay people already mentioned a lot of what I was going to say, but I want to throw in a few extra ideas…

    omelets are awesome! fill them with whatever you have on hand and eat with toast on the side!

    i’m obsessed with sweet potato hash. sometimes I add bacon, sometimes greens, but always sweet potato and onion…topped with fried eggs!

    admittedly NOT healthy, but i’m a huge sucker for microwave nachos. i suppose i could healthify them by adding black beans but i stick to melted cheese, salsa, and chips ;)

    the shredded vegetable detox salad on my blog is great–i make a batch and eat all week! (

    or, make a batch of veggie burgers (again, some on my site but I don’t want to spam your comments section!) and eat them all week, or pull out of the freezer!

    speaking of freezer meals, i make calzones and burritos for the freezer too. easy to pull out one for dinner!

  24. [not the] Best Blog Ever on August 14, 2013 at 8:54 PM

    I’m totally stealing so many things from this post’s comments section. THANK YOU! [grin]


    Hope you’re not hungry any more, AP!

  25. Michael on August 14, 2013 at 9:05 PM

    What she said…’night, all. You are OBVIOUSLY much loved, AP.

  26. Emily on August 14, 2013 at 9:43 PM

    I used to cook up two to three servings of whole wheat pasta on Sunday night. Once they were cooked, I’d put sauce on and put each individual portion in its own Tupperware container. Then, I’d just grab one out and take it with me for lunch at work every other day. You could easily do something similar for dinner! Also, I like to put a plain chicken breast in a frying pan with some water, cover it with foil, and cook it. Then, I refrigerate it once it’s done and use pieces of it for sandwiches. I add veggies and a little mayo to jazz it up, and I like to toast the bread, too. Very good and very healthy. :)

  27. Sarah on August 16, 2013 at 9:41 PM

    Have you heard of this – it might be something you enjoy. They perform the internet:

  28. Sarah on August 17, 2013 at 1:51 PM

    I like Zadge’s idea – in fact, can I join you :)?

  29. Kp on August 17, 2013 at 9:18 PM

    Not going to lie I have bean and cheese burritos pretty much every night of the week. Vegetarian refried beans (or black beans) microwave in a flour tortilla with sriracha and reduced fat shredded cheese and done.

  30. Greta on August 19, 2013 at 11:29 AM

    Made kristen’s pork loin last night– super good!! And looked way harder to create than it was. Might be my new “company” dish. :) love you friend.

  31. Erin on August 19, 2013 at 1:45 PM

    These are great ideas.

    1.) Quinoa (make on Sunday) or for more taste the Harvest Grains Blend from Trader Joe’s…

    + black beans, frozen corn, sour cream, salsa

    + sauteed red peppers, snap peas, fish oil, sesame oil

    + chickpeas, chopped green onions, lemon juice, feta

    2.) Eggs with anything!

    3.) Avocado on toast!! Someone said this, but you can add cheese, sriracha, lime juice

    4.) Nachos! Can be healthy depending on the chips you use :)

    5.) Trader Joe’s & Whole Foods sell healthy soups that you can heat up.

    6.) Spaghetti Omlette from Dinner, A Love Story:

    Spaghetti Omelet
    Do not try this with freshly made pasta — it won’t work. Use 3 eggs for every 1 cup of cooked spaghetti.

    Fry leftover, unsauced spaghetti in 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Add some salt and cook for 5 minutes until crispy on the bottom. Add 1 tablespoon finely chopped onions or scallions, 1 tablespoon chopped parsley, then flip over like a pancake. Whisk together some grated Parmesan cheese with eggs. Add eggs to the pan and cook until they are done, 2 to 3 minutes. (You can also crack the eggs right into the crisped spaghetti.) Flip one more time. Serve like a pizza, cut into wedges.

  32. Erin on August 19, 2013 at 1:45 PM

    *The other ideas were great ideas … not mine. Ha, sounded weird on the re-read.

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