my wife is pregnant; we need easy healthy things to cook.
August 29, 2007 12:50 PM   Subscribe

my wife is pregnant; we need easy healthy things to cook.

on the weekends we make great thing: homemade pastas & pizzas, fresh fish, stews, etc. but during the working week we don't have the time or energy to prepare elaborate dishes.

any suggestions for things quick and easy (that will also be good for the bun in the over)?
posted by BigBrownBear to Food & Drink (23 answers total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
Quick and easy preparation for me for a work night is to do a retro version of an en papillote.

Get a decent sized piece of aluminum foil, place thereon a piece of meat and a few chopped veg, season to taste and stick in the oven at 350 F for 40 minutes to an hour.

If the idea of using tinfoil scares you (for the baby's sake), use parchment paper instead.
posted by LN at 12:57 PM on August 29, 2007

Can you make extra of the weekend things and freeze them for the week? That's what I do, and I'm not even pregnant. It makes life so much easier. One pan meals, like veggie lasagne or quiches or stir-fries...things like that. Defrost in the AM, come home from work, make a salad while the meal is warming, and voila...easy din din.
posted by iconomy at 1:00 PM on August 29, 2007

The easiest thing to do would be to make more of what you're making on the weekends and freeze the extra portions. Now, some things freeze better than others, but with a little care, you can do just about anything. The best way to freeze multi-component dishes is to separate everything before you freeze it, for assembly when you go to reheat it.

Stir-fry dishes are really quick if you do some of the prep maybe the night before or the morning of cooking. Even if you don't do the prep ahead, they're generally really fast to make.

I like this book (and actually everything by Mark Bittman) for quick, delicious recipes. Here's another Bittman book I enjoy.
posted by cooker girl at 1:00 PM on August 29, 2007

Without knowing more about your dietary preferences, could you just make larger batches of meals on the weekend, and freeze/refrigerate to make more meals during the week?

Generally, for me quick and easy, and relatively healthy, is some protein of your choice grilled up on a George Foreman grill, with a salad on the side. Or a quick stir-fry.

Also, how far along is your wife? If you are in the early stages of pregnancy, don't be surprised if her appetite changes drastically, and things you may be used to eating all the time are suddenly not an option for her.
posted by ambrosia at 1:01 PM on August 29, 2007

No recipe ideas but I can recommend that you do most of the cooking. When my wife was pregnant her eyes were always bigger than her stomach (full as it was with a baby).
posted by monkeymadness at 1:02 PM on August 29, 2007

Turkey cutlets! Saute in a pan for three mins a side, put in oven at 200 for a few minutes to cook them all the way thru

Make a box of wild rice and steam some veggies and you have dinner.
posted by chickaboo at 1:04 PM on August 29, 2007

I asked a vaguely similar question not long ago. See meal ideas. TryTheTilapia also sent me some great, easy recipes.
posted by acoutu at 1:13 PM on August 29, 2007

A slow cooker is your friend. You can make all kinds of delicious meals in it and the only prep is throwing everything into it before you leave for work. There's a ton of recipes on the web for slow cookers or crockpots so I'll leave you to find ones to suit your tastes.
posted by essexjan at 1:18 PM on August 29, 2007

what iconomy and cooker girl said

and congratulations!
posted by matteo at 1:18 PM on August 29, 2007

Response by poster: thank you! we do freeze some weekend stuff (like a dozen breaded chicken cutlets) but are look for some more interesting dish suggestions i guess. thanks for some of the good links.
posted by BigBrownBear at 1:22 PM on August 29, 2007

Try picking up a copy of "Everyday food" - tiny little magazine. I usually hate all of those magazines, but this one has consistently good, healthy, easy recipes with a minimum of fluff. It's only about $15 for a year's subscription. Mrs True loved it during pregnancy as well.
posted by true at 1:48 PM on August 29, 2007

I also love the crockpot. The George Foreman grill too.

I like prewashed greens and produce. The variety is fantastic. From fresh stir-fry veggies to spinach salad. I am also a fan of quality, frozen fish fillets. I love SamsClub for this. The sell the best frozen fish in my opinion. If you're a fan, research what fish is right for your wife -- mercury levels and all.

I also love canned beans for convenience. They're so much easier than cooking rice or a potato. Just heat and serve. Your starch component is taken care of.

Also, the author Susie Theodorou may interest you. In her book, Can I Freeze It?, there is an entire chapter devoted to make ahead meals. She has also written an entire a book on this very subject.

posted by LoriFLA at 2:00 PM on August 29, 2007

Get the book _Super Natural Cooking_ : link

check out the rest of her blog while you're there. This is easily the best cookbook I've ever set eyes on. Gorgeous, delicious and very healthy food. I've found that the dishes are very easy to cook, to boot. Of course, ymmv. Also: vegetarian.
posted by n9 at 2:54 PM on August 29, 2007

Not sure how healthy this is, but I'm also expecting, and protein is good. Plus this is about the easiest recipe for anything short of Kraft mac and cheese. Maybe easier.

Buy a boneless pot roast. Stick in crockpot in morning, dust with an envelope of Good Seasonings Italian. Add one cup water and about 6 ounces pepperoncini and the juice from the jar. (Most of the vinegary taste of the peppers cooks off, but if your wife is sensitive to that taste, use less, or none.)

Set crockpot for 8 hours or so on low.

When you get home, you've got delicious Italian beef that you can dish up onto tasty sammiches.
posted by GaelFC at 2:55 PM on August 29, 2007

a saving thing for me in these last few months of pregnancy was having a bag of the individually wrapped frozen salmon from Costco always in the's such an easy way to get quick protein and omega-3s.

baking, grilling, only takes 10 min or so :-)

posted by lil' ears at 3:14 PM on August 29, 2007

Congratulations to you both, and best wishes.

I highly recommend Cooking Light, the magazine and any of their recent cookbooks. Their approach to light cooking is not so much painfully fat-free as it is balanced, nutritious, and very, very tasty.

Cooking Light's Quick and Easy section appears to be accessible without a subscription. You can also search the recipes for "make ahead," etc. (Be sure to restrict the search so that you don't wind up with tons of delightfully deep-fried recipes from Southern Living!)
posted by wintersweet at 3:52 PM on August 29, 2007

Nthing a George Foreman (or reasonable facsimile) grill. Easy to toss on some chicken breasts or steaks or pork chops or Italian sausages along with some vegetables and some seasoning. And cleans up very easily, too.

I don't know the fat/sodium content and how healthy it is, but Idahoan has some pretty tasty flavored mashed potatoes in a pouch that cook up in four minutes in the microwave.
posted by Oriole Adams at 5:41 PM on August 29, 2007

Congratulations :)! The quickest and easiest meal I know to cook, and one that's very yummy and reheats well too, is simple meat and vege stirfries. When I get my meat home from the supermarket I spend an hour (at most) trimming all the fat and freezing each fillet individually in a freezer bag.

Then when I go to cook dinner I just have to cut up my (pre-defrosted) fillet of beef / chicken / fish (5 minutes), and cut up any veges I feel like (15 mins) - mushrooms, snow peas, brocolli, zuchinni, etc.

I leave the veges to cook on a medium heat in a frying pan coated with some canola spray for about 10 minutes (season with soy sauce, butter and herbs as needed), then I just move them to the side, turn up the heat a bit and cook my meat for a few minutes, throw in a few cashews, and wallah... a yummy, quick and very healthy dinner :)

Seriously this whole thing takes me half hour tops a night to cook, and for half of that I can go do something else.

Also if you want to cook beef with your stirfry I buy sirloin steaks and cut them up -very- thinly (about 2mm thick per slice) then cook them very quickly on a high heat. This is the way to keep them soft.
posted by katala at 5:42 PM on August 29, 2007

It's tomato season! Gazpacho is quick to make, easy to store, and delightful in the summer heat because you serve it cold, straight from the fridge.
posted by Myself at 9:16 PM on August 29, 2007

Lately I've been making a lot of lentils and rice topped with caramelized onions. Tasty, lots of protein, and I think pretty healthy in general.

Just put the amount of lentils you want in a saucepan, cover with salted water, and set on high heat until it boils. Then cover and simmer for about 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, add rice and more/enough water to cover, and then simmer for 20 more minutes. During the second simmering, chop some onions and caramelize them in olive oil or butter on medium heat. Sprinkle on top and enjoy.
posted by bijou at 10:49 PM on August 29, 2007

If your grocery store has 16 oz tubs of red chile in the frozen section, pick up one; although you might want to make sure that it says "Mild" on the container unless you like really hot foods. Follow the directions to make red chile sauce; it will take less than a half hour, only one tablespoon of oil, and not much effort on your part. While that's cooking, cook up some chicken breast. When the red chile sauce is ready and the chicken is fully cooked, cut up the chicken and let it simmer in the chile for about 10 minutes. Serve with tortillas and sour cream if you like, or if that's too much fat, just put it in a bowl and eat it that way, which is plenty good.
posted by azpenguin at 12:51 AM on August 30, 2007

My favorite quick meal:
-corn tortillas (Food For Life brand, sprouted)
-cheese grated on top
-hot sauce to taste (Tobasco habanero)
[broil in the oven until cheese melts]
-top with lettuce (romaine)
-dust w/ parmesan cheese
[fold like a taco and eat.]
You could brown up some meat and add that for extra protein, but I think there'd be a lot in the corn tortillas and cheese.
posted by keith0718 at 10:15 PM on August 31, 2007

Some thoughts:

This fast white-bean stew from Epicurious is tasty: I substitute chicken sausage for the ham and kale for the arugula. It'll last for a few nights and is chock full of good nutrition.

Fast White Bean Stew

Other ideas:
- Buy a rotisserie chicken and use it to make enchiladas. To add nutrients, saute some kale or chard with onion or garlic. Combine the cooked vegetable with some of the shredded chicken, and place it in a tortilla. Wrap up the tortilla, place it in a baking dish, and once the dish is full of these guys, pour a can of enchilada sauce over it. (This also works with soft tofu and of course you can add cheese if you like.)
- Keep boneless, skinless chicken breasts in the freezer. In the morning, defrost some chicken and toss it in a marinade -- barbecue sauce, pesto, olive oil and balsamic vinegar, whatever. When you get home, it'll be easy to grill and serve with a tossed salad. To add a carb, buy some of those pre-prepared polenta packages (they look like packaged cookie dough). Grill that and serve.
posted by stonefruit at 11:47 AM on September 3, 2007

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