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Healthy Weeknight Meals

While home-cooked meals require slightly more effort than dining out, the benefits to eating in far outweigh the drawbacks. For one, home-cooked meals tend to be healthier naturally. Another advantage is they are far less expensive per bite than any restaurant meal. Below we’ve provided recipes for three healthy and satisfying dishes requiring very little effort, able to be eaten separately or together as a three-course meal.

Appetizer—Cucumber Chickpea Salad (10 minutes prep, no cook time)

This recipe is cool, fresh, healthy, and requires no cooking. It makes a great light meal on its own, or a tasty starter. Tahini dressing is available ready-made at most grocery stores or supermarkets.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cans of chickpeas (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 cucumber (quartered lengthwise and chopped)
  • ½ cup of chopped mint
  • ¼ cup tahini dressing
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil

Steps:

  1. Combine the olive oil, lemon juice, and tahini with a whisk. If it seems a bit too thick, that’s okay—the water from the cucumber will thin it out slightly. If you’re still worried, you can add a bit of water to the dressing to let it down a bit.
  2. Combine the chickpeas with the cucumber and mint.
  3. Pour the dressing over the chickpeas and cucumbers, and toss until every chickpea is coated with the dressing.
  4. Season with salt to your taste!

Main Course—Slow-Cooked Fennel Pork (15 minutes prep, 9 hours cook time)

This flavorful, meaty dish is healthy by virtue of its simplicity: it is simply meat, vegetables, and fruit with seasonings. This dish employs a slow-cooker, which is a must-have tool for busy people who want to eat at home. Slow-cookers allow you to leave food to cook unsupervised safely. This meal can be prepped, left to cook while you work, and will be ready when you’re ready to serve.

Ingredients:

  • A boneless pork shoulder
  • 2 medium fennel bulbs
  • 2 lbs. red potatoes
  • 1 medium apple
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 2 teaspoons fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • ¾ cup chicken broth
  • 2 teaspoons store-bought chicken base (demi-glace)

Steps:

  1. Create dry rub by combining fennel seeds, rosemary, salt, and pepper.
  2. Cut the pork shoulder into four portions.
  3. Rub the seasoning into the pork shoulder. The more deeply you massage the meat with the seasoning, the more flavorful the end result!
  4. Cut fennel, potatoes, and apple into chunks. Cut the apple into slightly larger chunks, as it will break down faster.
  5. In slow cooker, mix the chicken broth, the chicken demi-glace (available at grocery stores), and place the vegetables inside. Place meat on top of the vegetables.
  6. Leave to cook on low for between 9-10 hours. The pork will be soft, tender, and deeply-flavored.

Dessert—Chilled Fruit and Yogurt with Honey

This dessert requires a little prep and simple cooking, but it is incredibly easy, delicious, and perfect as a light end to a good meal.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups plain yogurt
  • 5 tablespoons of honey
  • 3 cups blueberries/blackberries/strawberries
  • ¼ cup of almonds (or pistachios)
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch

Steps:

  1. Combine the yogurt with 2 tablespoons of honey and refrigerate.
  2. Combine the berries with the rest of the honey in a saucepan and cook on a medium heat until soft and sauce-like. Add a bit of water to keep from burning.
  3. Combine cornstarch with water and add to berry “sauce.”
  4. Pour berries into serving bowls (or jars) and refrigerate.
  5. When ready to serve, pour yogurt over chilled berries in serving bowl.
  6. Top with whole berries, pistachios, or almonds (or whatever you like!)

This article contains general information about medical conditions and treatments. The information is not advice and should not be treated as such. The information is not intended to replace the advice or diagnosis of a physician.

If you have any specific questions about any medical matter you should consult your doctor or other professional healthcare provider.