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My Most “Unclean” Meal

Sunday, February 21, 2010

One of the meals that I am slowly trying to get away from is also the easiest meal for me to make! Zap some dogs, zap some beans, plop some salad on a plate. Done! The meal literally takes about five minutes from start to eating. So what is it? We refer to it as the “hot dog meal.”

Baked beans eaten with FSTG (food should taste good) chips, potato salad eaten with cucumber, and a "hot dog." No utensils necessary! Come on, yummy! No? Well, to each their own. =)

Earlier in the day I’ll make my own potato salad with red potatoes, mustard, (unclean) relish and (unclean) mayo. Now using greek or plain yogurt for the mayo is pretty easy, but what to do about the relish? I use a tablespoon for the salad, and I use a bit more on top of my “hot dog.”

I’m sure I could make my own relish, but I use just over a tablespoon a week. I have found “clean” eating to be the hardest when it comes to meals like this. I love relish! But I don’t use it enough to convince me to take the time to make my own. Then what would I do with it? Freeze it and attempt to scrape out enough for me to use each week?

The other “unclean” part that so far has been hard for me to fix is the baked beans. I only eat about a third of a cup of beans. I could make up a batch of my own beans I suppose, but it seems like it would take a lot of effort to make them in my slow cooker and then put them…somewhere to portion out the tiny amount I have each week. Ugh, silly can of easy to dish out and zap in seconds, beans!

The easiest part to change? Definitely the “dogs.” I can make my own veggie burgers so I’m sure I could my own veggie dogs. I could probably even use the same recipe, although I’m not sure how exactly I would cook them…..

I just eat the most random things I guess and it seems easier to try and clean up my existing meals than to create so many new ones. I am so new at this “clean eating” thing that sometimes I just feel like I am in over my head. So I give up for a night and just make one of my usual staples.

The other thing that I’ve still had problems with is finding a salsa recipe I actually like. Plus it makes up a ton and I use…maybe two tablespoons a week? I don’t really feel like making up a salsa batch each week, but then I also don’t know how to store salsa so that it will last, and also be easy for me to dish out my small portion.

I just enjoy things in small doses? I don’t know! How do people do this? The dinners I make are completely different from one another. I don’t reuse the same items. I like the variety.

So I guess my question for today is: what are your dinners like? Do you make up a batch of something at the beginning of the week that you use throughout? Do you ever worry about the chemicals you’re consuming?
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Depending on your resources, can you salsa. I can every fall...I preserve tomatoes, bruschetta topping, pears, salsa, dilly beans, relish.......its time consuming for the season, but we use it all year.
    3747 days ago
    Like you mentioned, you could make your own sweet pickles (most relish is just chopped pickles plus tons of additives), your own beans, and your own salsa. The pickles will keep for quite awhile. Fresh salsa does not keep for more than a few days to a week.

    Beans can be done in the crockpot, and easily frozen -- we make piles of beans this way. It's actually one of the easiest things we do, but we cook most things from scratch, so I can't judge how hard it may be for you. If you freeze them in small packets of single sized servings, that will make them easier to thaw & serve. You can freeze in glass (if you are worried about plastic) if you are careful and have a large freezer. Otherwise, you can reuse single sized serving yogurt containers with real lids for small portions.

    Since the amount of food and time to prepare them seem to be an issue for you, you could buy small amounts of homemade/clean versions from places like the farmer's market, but that could be pricey.

    Alternatively, you could consider doing a community share type thing. You would make a pile of beans, for instance, and trade it off to friends/like-minded individuals for their homemade pickles, salsa, what have you. I've done this in the past with varying degrees of success. We've recently traded our salami for a friend's berry preserves, and someone else's homemade sambal olek.

    In the fall, in years past, we've had pesto parties, where several people show up, and we make a pile of pesto, usually several different flavors/versions, then everyone gets to take some home. Most of the pesto freezes very well, so we have homemade pesto available all year around. We've considered adopting this method for several other projects, notably cheese & bread making. Salsa is also a good candidate.

    I think the only way to preserve salsa would be to can it; we're considering roasting/smoking a truck load of tomatoes this fall, then canning them just so we have good tomatoes for salsa and pasta sauce all year around.

    In the end, it's all about trade-offs. I would eventually like to make most of my own condiments -- but I'm in the same boat that you are -- it's a lot of time & effort involved. The work parties and bartering are the best solutions I've come up with so far, and I'm still trying to network with like-minded individuals.
    3747 days ago
    Well you could just go all raw/all fresh/all vegan. I don't know if I could swing it but that would solve a lot of issues. Sounds to me like you'd then need to buy fresh raw fruit/veggies every couple days. I don't kow how I'd handle that.
    3747 days ago
    I love this meal! It's very tasty even if its not "clean"
    3748 days ago
  • no profile photo CD1338628
    My hubby is always concerned about the chemicals we are ingesting. I would recommend vegetarian times mag. They have so many clean recipes. PS had the banana 'ice cream' last night. It was amazing!
    3748 days ago
  • JUDITH1654
    Substitute sweetener for the relish (if it's sweet relish you use) and I like the Jennie-O hot dogs. Much less junk and sodium.
    3748 days ago

    Comment edited on: 2/22/2010 1:25:39 AM
    i think you have adapted this dish well. i would try purchasing veggie dogs [i have done this] to see if you like them, each brand tastes different. as for the beans maybe mix a regular can drained of salty liquid and rinsed cooked then mixed with the baked beans may make your bean allowance cleaner/healthier. as long as you do not make this dish too often you should be okay. emoticon
    3748 days ago
  • *AMBER512
    For those who don't know yet : I am already at my goal weight, but now I am learning how to eat "clean" as in, not eating things like fat-free mayo and turkey dogs (FULL of chemicals!)

    Those are great suggestions for those just starting this Sparkpeople journey, though! =)
    3748 days ago
    You can fix this meal using a fat free mayo kraft has and switch to turkey dogs! A low fat baked bean bushes has them and use the fat free mayo in the potato salad as well maybe add a green leafy vegi instead of the chips or some fresh fruit! you can add whole wheat bun to the hotdog and make it your one in a while meal! You can still eat the things you enjoy if you change them to fit your dietary needs! And don't over indulge! make sure you count your calories! As for the relish maybe make your own! Maybe make your unclean meal a little cleaner is all!

    3748 days ago
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