Friday, January 7, 2011

quick weeknight meals

Great responses on the NY Times eating before breakfast article. Last minute thoughts, then I’m done, promise!


Important things to remember when reading a media-reported health study:

  • the media loves sensationalist material and often misinterprets information.
  • one study will not necessarily change what we know about health slash nutrition; it takes many studies to validate results or form any sort of concrete conclusion.
  • studies are often conducted in highly controlled environments with variables designed to achieve results; applying the results of a study to the general population isn’t usually realistic.


As nutrition counseling appointments stack up for the new year, I find requests for quick weeknight meals a common theme. It’s pretty stressful to have to make any meal, let alone a healthful meal at the end of the work day.

Here’s a favorite that’s ready in no time and is a fantastic way to sneak in those vegetables.

Step 1. Chop up an assortment of veggies…your choice. Season with olive oil, black pepper, garlic, maple syrup, and a shake of parmesan cheese.


Step 2. Place vegetable mixture in foil, and form into packets.


Step 3. Bake at 400 F for about 50 minutes.


Step 4. Serve over quinoa, which takes ~15 minutes to cook. Top with feta cheese if you’re feeling adventurous.


Not sure how it could get much quicker [or easier] than that.

If you have extra time, you can make this whole wheat carrot cake.


[whole wheat carrot cake]

  • scant 1 cup turbinado sugar
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cups applesauce
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 cups grated carrots
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease 9 x 13 pan.
  2. Combine the sugar, flour, salt, cinnamon, soda, & applesauce. With an electric mixer beat in the eggs one at a time. Stir in the carrots and the walnuts. Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan.
  3. Bake for 1 hour 20 minutes.

*note: I made my own frosting with vanilla yogurt + powdered sugar. I didn’t measure anything, so just mix until it’s the desired consistency.

What’s your fave quick fix dinner? If you have a recipe link, please share! I’m in the process of making a book for my clients and would love your suggestions.

12 days new logo copy

Day 10: the gift of reading

Reach Out and Read is an evidence-based nonprofit organization that promotes early literacy and school readiness in pediatric exam rooms nationwide by giving books to children and advice to parents about the importance of reading aloud [search for a program in your area].

You can give by volunteering to be a reader or donating gently used or new books. As someone who grew up doing a lot of reading (Nancy Drew was one of my favorites) and still loves it today, I know how much reading can contribute to educational development…and imagination.

Happy weekend, all. I’ll be in the kitchen testing out recipes for my first ever cooking class next week…wish me luck!



  1. I am always looking for quick meals to prepare (and my clients too!), so I really appreciate this blog feature! I wish I was a better meal planner, as I find myself often scrambling last minute to try to throw something together, only to discover we're short on whatever ingredients I wanted. Definitely doesn't set you up for success to eat healthfully!

  2. That carrot cake looks so great, and it doesn't have that many ingredients. I'm going to have to try it!

  3. Yum, that carrot cake looks good! I've never made it before... actually, I don't think I've ever had carrot cake before!

  4. This carrot cake was so amazing I ate a whole row of pieces before it got frosted. And maybe another row after it got frosted... they weren't very wide pieces though (smile).
    The veggie packets were SO GOOD!!

  5. i've never actually made carrot cake before but i like that recipe...

  6. I checked out the link for the reading program you mentioned. What a great program. I watched the 8 min. video and was so impressed with the information they share about the parents involvement in reading with their children that I will use it in my parenting class and tell others about it!
    Great resource!

  7. yay, reach out and read! i had the honor of handing out many books during residency :) now i fundraise for them (via a community 5K)! such an important cause.

  8. Love the looks of that cake! Seth's mom used to make him carrot cake every year for his birthday, so I might have to use this recipe come April!

  9. oh i LOVE your foil pack tips! that is super easy and ends up being super delicious and i love when all the flavskies get combined :) thanks girl!

  10. Your quick dinner idea looks awesome!! I've never baked veggies in foil before, but i'm definitely going to try that. yummm

  11. That's a great one! I've been trying to figure out how to oven cook vegetables that don't roast well, like tomatoes. Genius plan!

    I tried doing foil packets once, and I guess there was a hole in the foil where the steam leaked out. It took way longer than it should have!

  12. Hey Emily,
    This is unrelated to your most recent post, but I had a question about your preparation techniques for the RD exam. Do you have any helpful resource materials that you recommend getting, like flashcards, programs, etc.?

    Thanks for your help!

  13. @M: I used the RD in a Flash cards; I thought they were a useful review tool, but I also took grad level physiology/metabolism classes during my internship that definitely helped out. I also used material from a review course that my internship held and also a weekend review course from one of my preceptors...I think it was done somewhere in Chicago? Hope that helps!

  14. Your dinner recipe looks so delicious! I have to try it out!! and your carrot cake looks divine!!!

  15. the veggies in foil look great and wow awesome carrot cake

  16. love roasted veggies! i just got some quinoa and i can't wait to cook with it!

  17. I love what you did with those veggies! Actually, Nick just scored an AMAZING grill from his mom and sister for his b-day, so I will be doing plenty of grilled veggies soon. But until then, these baked in foil veggies sound perfect.

    My favorite quick meal is anything with eggs. We do veggie and egg omelets a lot, or just scrambled eggs with toast and a side of veggies. It's so easy, and delicious.

  18. thanks for a lovely comment on our last post. your carrot cake looks so delicious!

  19. love your foil veggie idea! One of my favorite quick dinners is similar...
    Salmon and veggie parchment packets.

    Popping a frozen veggie burger in the toaster and throwing together a salad is also a great dinner-in-a-pinch :)

  20. Iam making the carrot cake right now! Quick question though. I'm making it for one of my friends that is coming to visit tomorrow. Should I refrigerate it with the yogurt frosting on it? Should I refrigerate it and put on the frosting tomorrow before she arrives? Or should I just keep it wrapped in foil in the cupboard?


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