In Good Taste

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What I Eat When I Don't Cook

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Maris Callahan

Food and healthy living blogger; work in social media; moved from NYC to Chicago in November '09.

Since I spend a lot of time cooking (and writing about cooking) it really only makes sense that, well, I must cook a lot. Right?

Yes. But not every night. I mean, let's get real. I post about a worknight dinner once a week. There are five worknights a week. I'm not a mathematician, but you get it.  

The truth is, I don't cook every night. Sometimes I eat out, sometimes I order in and sometimes I microwave. 
So, that begs the question: what do I eat when I'm not cooking? The truth is, there are convenience versions of many of my favorite recipes out there. I always prefer to cook from scratch, but until they find a way to add more hours to a day, I settle for some viable substitutes once in awhile. 

Instead of hand-cut sweet potato fries...
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Photo: TerraChips.com

Terra Spiced Sweet Potato Chips: I've never been a big potato chip lover - they leave grease on your hand, crumbs all around you - not worth the effort. Terra chips have the perfect amount of crunch and this variety doesn't taste fake or greasy. They're made with natural ingredients and my only complaint? One bag doesn't last long enough. 

Instead of Lentil Soup with Chunky Potatoes and Ham...

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Photo: Rightfoods.com

Dr. McDougall's Right Food Soup: I swore off canned soups about a year ago when I saw an advertisement at my gym announcing that some brands contain monosodium glutamate, commonly known as MSG, a flavor enhancer that is rumored to impose health risks. Dr. McDougall's brand comes in a variety of flavors including, Lentil, Vegetable, Minestrone and Roasted Red Pepper & Tomato (the latter I haven't tried but is waiting in my cabinet). All are fairly low in calories, high in taste and contain no artificial ingredients. Bonus: some soups are Gluten-Free, which is not a concern for me but perhaps for others. 

Instead of Feta-Stuffed Turkey Burgers

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Photo: Yum Sugar

Boca Garden Vegetable Burgers: Topped with a little bit of cheese and a fat slice of cucumber or avocado, you can serve these veggie-packed patties on a whole-grain roll or a bed of spinach and it will still be a satisfying meal. (Disclosure: Boca is a client of the PR firm at which I am employed. They have been a favorite of mine since college!)

Instead of Orange Beef & Broccoli Stir Fry

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Photo: Kashi.com

Kashi Sweet & Sour Chicken: As a self-proclaimed frozen meal skeptic, I was nervous to try these. Then one night in the supermarket (I went hungry! Everyone knows you shouldn't go to the supermarket hungry) these meals were on sale. It was after 8 p.m. and popping one in the microwave sounded so much more appealing than chopping vegetables and prepping meat. It was delicious - and will be even more so if you amplify it with some extra broccoli or edamame next time. And yes. All-natural, no MSG. 

What are your favorite convenience foods when you just don't feel like cooking?

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2 Comments

Daryl said:

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I like to open a can of soup and fry up a grill cheese and yum-delicious dinner! Those sweet potato chips sure do look like they would go nice with that

RunningWithCake said:

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From one food/fitness blogger to another, I do NOT post everything that I eat every day. With a hectic schedule, I'm constantly making things "on the fly", which does not always make for a great picture for a post. I'm sure you can relate. Looking forward to hearing more from you.

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