“How about some ideas for healthy dinners that we can bring to the pool to avoid ordering pizza every other day?”
Thank you Cori, for that great comment and suggestion.
If you’re like Cori and me, then you spend many of your summer late afternoons/evenings at your neighborhood pool club (or maybe even at the beach) with your family. Right about the time the kids start to get grumpy and hungry, your energy level is fading. Cooking dinner is the last thing you feel like doing. So, maybe you send one of your children to grab a few of the take out menus conveniently piled by the pool’s front office. What will it be tonight? Pizza? Subs? Chicken wings with dipping sauce? Or maybe you call your husband or wife on his/her way home from work to suggest a quick stop at the drive thru….
All of these options are OK, occasionally. It’s the 2, 3 or more times per week that can be the problem.
The key to this dilemma is preparation. Pick a time during the week when you know you have the time and energy to prep. Make it an appointment that you don’t break. One or two times a week of prepping ahead can turn an unpredictable, unhealthy household into a healthy-oiled machine.
Start with the basics: If you make a few basics, such as grilled boneless chicken breasts and thighs (marinate overnight before grilling to add a ton of flavor — recipe below), grilled flank steak (same thing with the marinade), grilled vegetables such as eggplant, portabella mushrooms, onions, peppers, washed/sliced/diced fresh summer fruits, you can begin to build meals that are easy to pack in a cooler and take to the pool. Don’t let it get boring — grill up some turkey or chicken or pork sausages, roast a whole chicken, keep your eye out for seasonal fruits and veggies. Prepare anything that you like that will pack well and be the foundation of good meal.
Add the chicken to a salad packed with leafy greens, roasted nuts, feta cheese, grape tomatoes, dried cranberries, sliced cucumbers drizzled with your favorite vinegarette. Slice the grilled flank steak, pile it inside a nice whole grain bun or rolled it up in a whole wheat tortilla with some of the grilled veggies and your favorite toppings. You get the picture…now go fire up the grill and dust off that cooler….It’s pool time!
Coming next — Part Two: Versatile Healthy Sides
Rosemary Lime Marinade
Marinades are easy to build with basics. Pick an oil, an acid and herbs and go! The acids such as citrus juices and vinegar tenderize the meat.
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 3 tablespoons fresh squeezed lime juice
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped fine
- 1 teaspoon lime zest
- 3 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
- Salt and pepper to taste
Whisk olive oil and lime juice until combined. Add garlic, lime zest, rosemary, salt and pepper and stir. Put in a ziploc bag with your favorite poultry or meat. Put in refrigerator and let sit for at least 4 hours or over night.
Don’t stop here — make up your own marinade. Try different oils, different acids (remember mustards/Worcestershire sauce contain vinegar so they count and so does beer!), and mix them up with your favorite combination of herbs.