“Plan and prepare simple meals that are suited for your individual dietary and health needs.”

Ninety percent of eating healthfully is to have a weekly plan and  to execute it. It never works to be standing in front of the refrigerator before dinner trying to figure out what you will make that night.

I counsel my clients to look at their calendar and adjust meals to the activities on the calendar for that week. If there are a lot of evening activities, then either prep your meal in the morning before work or plan ahead and make soups, chilies, or Wildatarian meats that can easily be assembled in minutes and paired with a salad for those busy nights.

This morning, I made grilled zucchini and yellow squash. Last night, while eating my dinner, I had sweet potatoes roasting in the oven. Today that will be paired with grilled fish which will take just minutes. So, easy, so delicious, so nourishing.

Also, get creative, and use my “convertible” approach to re-purpose previously made meals into something new. One dish can be converted into another healthful meal in minutes with a few little add-ons.

For example, my Cuban Black Beans can be converted into bean and cheese enchiladas, or my Herb Roasted Turkey Breast can be converted into turkey quesadillas, barbeque turkey sandwiches or turkey and avocado salad. If you are a Wildatarian, then substitute duck for turkey.

Cuban Black Beans

This is an incredibly delicious, easy and versatile recipe. You can make many meals from this tiny but mighty legume. As a main, as a soup, as a side, as an appetizer or for breakfast. If you pair this with my Garlic Lime Chicken, then you can make many convertible dishes.

Double the recipe, and minutes in the kitchen can turn into meals for the week, including chicken and bean enchiladas, chicken and bean burritos, etc.

Ingredients

  • One 16-ounce bag of dried black beans
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • ½ onion, cut in quarters
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon turbinado sugar

Instructions

  1. In a pressure cooker, place beans, garlic, onion, and salt. Add water to cover beans, roughly ¾ full. Tightly secure pressure cooker lid.
  2. Place over high heat until pressure cooker is pressurized; lower to medium-low heat. Cook for 1 ½ hours.
  3. Remove from heat and allow cooker to depressurize.
  4. Open lid. Add cumin, salt, vinegar, and sugar. Mix well.
  5. Simmer over medium-low heat for 20 minutes or until desired consistency is reached.
  6. Serve with brown or basmati rice.

No pressure cooker? Place 10 cups filtered water, beans, garlic, onions, and salt in a stock pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer over medium heat for 2 to 3 hours, stirring occasionally until beans are tender. Once beans are cooked, follow above instructions.

Serves 6

Convertibles:

Black Bean Carrot Soup

Add to Cuban Black Bean recipe:

  • 2 cups chopped carrots
  • 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Mix well. Simmer over medium-low heat for 5 minutes.

Huevos Rancheros

Top scrambled eggs with a ½ cup of Cuban Black Beans and salsa. Serve with avocado slices. This can also be made into a breakfast burrito; just put all of the ingredients in a whole grain tortilla.

Black Bean Dip

  • 2 cups Cuban Black Beans, at room temperature
  • 1 cup mild chunky salsa
  • 1 teaspoon dried roasted garlic
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon cracked pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin

Combine all ingredients in bowl. Serve with corn or other multigrain chips

This dip can also be:

  • Served puréed
  • Heated with one cup filtered water and served as a soup with a dollop of Greek yogurt and chopped green onion as a topping
  • Spread on a whole grain tortilla, topped with tomato, avocado, and cilantro for an easy burrito lunch option

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