Monday, March 7, 2011

Masala Mix - the new hamburger helper

In my house healthy meals must be prepared quickly. We aim to be in bed by 9, since the little one is up at 5 (oh, and at 1, 2, 3 and 4). So, in order to put the baby to bed, make and eat dinner, and have a few minutes of down time before bed - things need to happen fast.

Back in the day, I remember eating meals prepared with 'Hamburger Helper' at my friends' houses. I think this product probably still exsists, but I hope none of you are using it!!! Anyway = HH was a spice mix type thing that you could basically add to meat and make into a quick "tasty" meal. I think some of them came with noodles too. Beef, noodles, trans fats and msg. Yum.

Anyway, in our house, we have a spice mix (made of actual spices - chilli, coriander, cumin, garlic, ginger and tumeric) called Masala Mix which we use multiple times a week. Ok, you have to like Indian food, but you get the picture here...find some flavour you like and run with it. These spice mixes come in just about every permutation - so go for mexican and use black beans if you prefer...

Lately we have been subbing in beans, chickpeas and lentils where meat used to appear on our plates. Adding legumes to your diet is always a good idea as they are packed full of fibre, protein and a wide variety of vitamins and minerals. While I prefer to buy dried beans (you get 3x the beans for the price of canned, and no sodium or preservatives), sometimes you gotta take a few short cuts, so do what works for you.

Here is my 15 minute go-to healthy meal using the Dan-D-Pak Masala Mix:
1 Can chickpeas (or lentils)
2 tbsp (or to your taste) masala mix
1 chopped onion
chopped up veggies - we use whatever is on hand, but mainly:
spinach, kale, chard or cabbage

1) Rinse and Boil Quinoa (or reheat leftovers... I always make at least enough for two meals at once)
2)Fry onion in olive oil or coconut oil until translucent. Add masala mix and stir
3) Add chopped veggies and stir fry
4) When all is cooked, add beans and cook for another 2 minutes

Serve and Enjoy! A little spoonful of plain yogurt is also a nice garnish here.