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Dinner From A Bag

06 January 2012

One thing that often stops me from doing "cleanse" diets is the crazy recipe guide with meals that require super odd ingredients and boatloads of steps to prepare. If I am trying to watch what I eat at all, let alone making an effort to really diet or cleanse after a long period of happy food eating, I am typically trying my hardest not to punch someone in the face and then eat their arm. So standing over a stove reducing a balsamic apple cider vinegar glaze to a drizzle is not going to work out for me. Those moments are when Cheetos appear in my life.

I miss my "dinners in a bag" from college. A bag of pasta with a delightful synthetic powder sauce or something frozen with a zip closure that is tossed into a pan and ready in a few minutes. These were the days before I became curious about ingredients lists and the whole casual eating idea got away from me. Last night I created some great dinners from a bag, just bags that are less from the freezer aisle and more from the produce section. Easy meal additions that have less than five ingredients and steps total.

First was a new favorite guest at Markus and I's table - brussel sprouts.

I buy brussels sprouts in the little net bag in the produce section. One bag is enough for Markus and I to fill half of our dinner plates, so just right for two vegetarians.

It's a two step process to get these green nuggets table ready. First I sautee the sprouts in a large pan with a Edward & Son's Garden Veggie Boullion Cube (purchased at Whole Foods), some Earth Balance butter and a little salt. I stir them around at first to make sure the boullion has gotten a chance to hit almost every sprout and then I put a lid on the pan and try to sit still for a few minutes so they can carmelize a little.

After the sprouts tender up they go in a casserole dish and into the oven at 400F for 10 minutes. I can't believe that's all I have to do to get us to eat brussel sprouts! No cheese sauce to melt, so spices to keep in stock.

Last night we served them up with another produce bag-to-table recipe - The Pioneer Woman's Crash Hot Potatoes. These are so incredible and also easy to make. A perfect blend of crispy and soft.

We started off this delightful and simple meal with a just as simple salad.

A little organic baby spinach, some blueberries and half an avocado topped with feta cheese crumbles, a vinagerette dressing and the best salad topper ever - Udi's Gluten Free Cranberry Granola!

Udi's Gluten Free Cranberry granola has my three favorite salad toppings in one bag. It's got a sweet component (dried cranberries), a protein (walnut chunks) and the best part of the salad - the crunchy! Crunchy granola in every bite of my salad. Heaven on Earth.

With half a plate of brussel sprouts, 4-5 potatoes each and a hearty and fresh salad, Markus and I were both content after our dinner with no one asking for dessert or compaining about being miserably full. Plus with all the easy steps we were done cooking before Wheel of Fortune. No more complicated diet recipes. No more orange tipped fingers of shame from mid-cooking Cheetos breakdowns. I'm really not sure what more you can ask for as far as weeknights go.

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