As much as I do not believe in resolutions, most of us do want to eat lightly after the excesses of the holiday months. The personal chef approach is a great way to stay on track. Even our best intentions run amuck when the other demands on our time make it difficult to think about planning, shopping, and preparing a healthy dinner every night. Waiting until you are starving hungry to figure it all out makes the fast food fix perilously tempting.

Julie Anne and Karla at The Ivy

Even eating in a great restaurant can deceive and derail you. Most people do not realize that a Chinese chicken salad could be as many calories as that juicy burger if it is doused with dressing, and although they do not do this maliciously, most restaurant chefs believe fat + sugar + salt = flavor, and flavor means return patrons. The only way to truly control the calories you consume is by making your food yourself (or hire me to do it for you).

Fresh beets – you can use both roots and leaves

Think about the week ahead in advance. I hate making more than one or two grocery trips a week, so I keep a running list of anything I am low on – making sure my fridge is well stocked with fruit, vegetables, and any other healthy snacks I may want to grab on the run. Some of my favorites are hummus with crudites, celery or apple with a tablespoon of natural peanut butter, or a handful of almonds. Then I plan my meals in advance, and check off the ingredient list against my pantry, freezer, and fridge – making note of any groceries I will still need. I make one quick, organized run to the store to fetch it all.

Preparing on the go snacks

Sunday afternoon I’ll make a double batch of soup for lunches, and a few delicious yet reasonably healthy dinner options. Since I live alone most of the time – I just package it in individual servings, keep one of each meal in the fridge, and freeze the rest until I need it. I usually only need one personal chef day a month! Dinner goes from fridge to table in as little as five minutes on a hectic weekday night, and the pans are already done – how easy and simple is that? How do you stay on track?

Sesame Sauteed Beet Greens

I eat a lot of beets, and I love this recipe because it means none of it goes to waste. The beet greens can be eaten raw, boiled, steamed, or sauteed. They taste like a cross between spinach and kale, and it is a great source of both vitamins A and K. It also adds lovely color to any dish, and can hold it’s own with strong flavors. This recipe adds a hint of Asian flavors, and pairs well with Marinated Salmon seared in a Black Peppercorn Crust.

Servings: 2

  • 1 Tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 bunch of beets greens (saving beets for another use), large stems removed
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger root, minced
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • toasted sesame seeds for garnish, optional

1). Heat oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add garlic and ginger, cook for 30 seconds.

2). Add greens, and toss to coat. Cover pan, and continue to cook, tossing occasionally, until just wilted, about 3-4 minutes.

3). Remove from heat. Add soy sauce, toss well, and serve hot sprinkled with toasted seeds to garnish.

Serving Suggestions: I’m serving this topped with salmon for Valentines Day, but it would also be great with ham, lamb, and beef.
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