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Quick and Cheap Dinner: Oh Crap, I Forgot the Veggies

Posted May 26 2009 12:00am

May 26, 2009 |

Life happens, even to the most prepared. Tonight I got home ready to make a meal I’d been thinking about all day, when I realized that I left the veggies at work.

Aside: Do you think it’s weird that I schlepp veggies to and from work?

OK, not a major catastrophe, but certainly it cramped my style in the kitchen. I thought about what I could throw together that incorporates the two things I wanted to get out of dinner, namely vitamins and fiber. Legumes to the rescue! Luckily I had the foresight to cook up a pot of black beans last night while I was puttering around. If you don’t have fresh black beans then canned ones will work perfectly. Lentils are one of my favorite quick fixes for many things, including salads and canned soups. They give dishes more “heft”, and are full of vitamins.

Not a freakin' veggie around

Total time: 30 minutes
Total cost per serving: approximately $6 each for two servings

1 cup dried lentils
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 tortillas (corn, wheat…whatever your fancy. There’s so much fiber in this meal from the beans and lentils that it’s OK to go for taste)
1/2 cup black beans (canned non-fat refried black beans or mashed up fresh black beans will work)
1/4 to 1/3 cup grated cheese (for my soul)
pico de gallo
1/2 cup chopped celery (I cheated and bought the pre-chopped stuff from the store, and it’s still only ~$1.30)
1/4 cup chopped RED onion (ditto with the pre-chopped onion. I use red onion here because I’ll be eating it raw and red onions are milder)
1 lemon
dried thyme
(all measurements are approximate, go with what tastes good to you)

To be fair, some might consider celery, onions and tomatoes veggies, but I don’t. Tomatoes are technically a fruit, there’s so little onion in this dish that it accounts for minimal nutritional value, and celery I just arbitrarily don’t consider a veggie, for no good reason. Don’t you love how I force things to fit into my description?

I want to give one more shout out to black beans and lentils . Check out the links to see how badass these are nutrition-wise. Should you be concerned about the unpleasant after-effects of eating legumes, I have one word for you: Beano. That stuff is miraculous.


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