This is a guest post written by Kathryn Henry, a writer for TeachStreet. TeachStreet is a website that provides online and local classes, including cooking classes and nutrition classes. Kathryn and her husband recently started a vegan, gluten-free diet. She writes about their experience with healthy eating on her blog, The Accidental Vegans.
Back in November of 2010, my husband and I were tired of eating junk. With a two year old and a newborn, we had gotten in the bad habit of eating pre-packaged foods or things that my husband could grab at a drive-thru on the way home from work. We were both feeling “blah” and unhealthy. It was time for a change. After doing some research, I found a blog called Plate + Simple, which outlines a healthy-eating lifestyle. The author, Hilary, recommends doing a vegan detox to “reset” your body.
We decided to try the detox for just a week. We both felt so much better after just a few days that we kept going . . . and going . . . and going. It is now almost three months later, and we are happier, healthier, and lighter. My husband has lost over thirty pounds and I am wearing pants I haven’t fit into since before I got pregnant. We eat healthy, wholesome food and don’t count calories, carbohydrates, or fat grams.
As much as I love the way we are eating and feeling, there are some drawbacks. One of the most difficult and intimidating things about switching to healthier eating is that there aren’t a lot of shortcuts in recipes, as it’s all from scratch. Going out to eat is difficult, too. While there are healthier options out there and you can ask for substitutions, side items, etc., most of the time, it’s costly and hardly “easy” to eat out.
I love cooking and, most nights, don’t mind the extra time that preparing a healthy, from-scratch meal takes. But there are nights that I just don’t want to take an hour – even a half-hour – to make dinner. So, I have had to come up with some quick meal ideas. I can have these babies on the table in ten minutes flat. The beans and mushrooms give it a “meatiness” and the flaxmeal thickens it up a bit and gives you fiber – and you won’t even know it’s in there.
Gal’s Note – I wrote about easy and healthy meals last week and was actually looking for more examples to give you when this guest post was submitted to me. It was perfect timing and I plan on trying out these tacos myself this weekend.
TEN MINUTE TACOS
Ingredients for taco filling:
- 1/4 cup chopped onion (I use frozen chopped onion to save time)
- 1 TBS minced garlic (the pre-minced from a jar)
- 1 can black beans, drained (check ingredients*)
- 1 can chopped tomatoes (check ingredients) – you could use fresh chopped tomatoes for this instead if you prefer
- 1 cup chopped mushrooms
- 1 TBS cumin
- 2 TBS ground flaxseed (flaxmeal)
- 1/8th tsp cayenne pepper
- Salt and pepper to taste
Toppings for tacos:
- Brown rice (I make double batches of brown rice and freeze portions for meals like this to save time)
- Fresh diced tomatoes
- Guacamole or sliced avocados
- Finely diced red onion
- Olives (check ingredients)
- Mixed greens
- Fresh cilantro
- Hot sauce (if you like the extra spice – check ingredients)
- You can use corn tortillas (check ingredients) or hard shell tacos (check ingredients)
1. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.
2. Sautee the onions over medium high heat until soft and translucent (3 minutes).
3. Add mushrooms and sauté until soft (3 minutes).
4. Reduce heat to medium and add garlic. Sauté until fragrant (30 seconds).
5. Add spices and stir (30 seconds).
6. Add black beans and tomatoes and cook until heated through (2 minutes).
7. Add flaxmeal and stir to combine (1 minute).
You can let this simmer longer until you are ready to eat it, but add the flaxmeal right before you serve it as it acts like a thickener and if you leave it too long, it will get too pasty.
If you want to get fancy, you can fry your tortillas in just a bit of olive oil. This will add to your prep time and it’s not necessary as you can just warm the tortillas in the microwave before filling them. But my husband really enjoys them when they are fried, so I usually do a few for him. Then they are more like fifteen-minute tacos. We also like corn hard shells and those are even easier (just throw ‘em in the oven on a baking sheet at 400 degrees while you are making the filling so they are warm).
*Every time I say check ingredients, you are looking for hidden sugars, wheat, dairy, soy, and gluten. If you can’t pronounce an ingredient or wouldn’t be able to buy it to stock in your pantry, then you don’t want to use that brand. If it has more than four or five ingredients, it’s best to look at another can.