Know or Learn how to Flavor
We modified p90x recipes, and/or just ignored but got the general idea based on what they’re trying to have folks eat. When you have a kitchen and some more time, cooking on this diet is a breeze (and almost what we do anyhow).
However, I think a big reason a lot of people stop these diets, or prefer not to eat this way, is the lack of flavor. And I don’t mean a lack of flavor because things are missing ‘bacon’ or big flavor components. I mean they’re not seasoned properly.
Cutting out salt helps with water weight issues. Key in helping people think they’re loosing lots of weight. Also, could be a true health issue. Therefore, if you need to, please do. But if you don’t–please don’t. Be aware of the amount of salt you’re using (no reason for excess), but also be careful to fully season your food. Tomatoes are great, especially fresh. But a touch of salt? Even better.
If you can’t use salt or need to cut back the next flavor component is vinegar, lime juice, lemon juice and zests from citrus fruits. Acidity “lifts” flavors. They “brighten” dishes. I’ve been made fun of for talking about acid this way, but it’s true. In the wine world, we talk about acid a lot. A good wine is balanced with acid, or leans heavy on the acid. It helps with aging, it makes your mouth water (that’s how you can tell how acidic a wine is), and the watery mouth and wine is a good thing–makes you want to take another sip, gets your palate ready for a bite of food, and helps break up rich food. And acidic component in your food does the same thing. So if you’re avoiding salt, try some version of acid instead. That same tomato? A squeeze of lemon juice does the same thing i making the flavors more pronounced (even though tomatoes are full of acid).
Finally, fat--the p90x is a low fat diet. I’m fine with that to a certain extent. We’ve used more olive oil than most of the recipes and we’ve gone ahead and used full fat yogurt and other full-fat foods. We will not buy fat-free cheese. There’s a lot of data out there now that proves full-fat dairy products are probably best for us. If you’re worried about calories (which is a huge benefit to the p90x diet, you don’t worry about counting calories)–either keep a log and/or cut out a few other items to even it out. We’re not worried, and find that we eat less full-fat dairy products than non-fat. People love fat because it tastes good–even though we don’t really “taste” it. It does, however, heighten other flavors, it adds to texture sensations that we love, and fill us up. Many of the best diets are high in fat–just fat that tends to be ‘better’ for you (olive oil, fish, nuts, seeds, but even grass-fed red meat).
As you cook–taste and season accordingly. It’ll make your meal much more enjoyable And take diet recipes like these with a grain of salt–or add more. Experiment with adding these items to heighten the flavor.
Salmon Steaks with lemon
2 king salmon steaks (or whatever looks best at your fish counter)
1/2 lemon, sliced thinly
1/2 TBS olive oil
Salt and Pepper
Mix basil, garlic, lemon juice and olive oil together. Pat dry salmon steaks, season with salt and pepper. Top with lemon slices and drizzle with olive oil. Put in oven and bake for about 20 minutes (may be less/more time depending on thickness of steaks–if using fillets, about 10 minutes, high heat should do it).
Serve with brown or wild rice and your vegetable choice. Extra lemon on the side is great.
Roasted Pepper Soup
No recipe, yet. We followed the p90x recipe to the T–and i do not enjoy this soup. I’m going to retry it how I’d make it, and if the results are how I suspect, I’ll share that version. If you’d like recipe as is, let me know and I’m happy to post it. That said, we liked the idea of having a cup of soup with our meal–choosing a soup to make a pot of on Sunday for the entire week is a good idea.
Chicken Breast with Mango Salsa
2 frozen chicken breasts
1/2 mango, chopped
1/2 tomato, chopped
1/4 red onion, minced
handful cilantro (or basil or parsley), minced
cumin, salt, pepper to taste
Juice of one lime (or half a lime, depending on how much juice you can get out of it)
zest of one lime.
chili–if you want–one thai chili, minced
Again–if you fresh and thaw chicken, please use it. I don’t plan ahead that well.
Frozen chicken breast in oven for about 20-30 minutes depending on size of breasts.
Mix mango, tomato, onion, herbs, lime juice and lime zest together–taste–and season to preference with salt, cumin and pepper. Add chili and toss.
When chicken is cooked, plate, and top with mango salsa. Serve with brown or wild rice or a salad.
(this is also great in taco form)
Lamb Chop and Arugula Salad
This was actually a lunch recipe, only lean steak, rather than lamb chops. I have lamb chops from my own sheep. If you don’t, i understand preferring beef. If you happen to have access to lamb try it instead of beef. It’s better for you. It’s also more humane–and because sheep prefer to graze than be raised in a feed-lot, you’re getting the benefits of open pasture/range meat that’s very difficult to obtain from other store-bought meats. But if you can’t afford it, or simply don’t like it, follow same recipe with a lean cut of steak.
2-4 lamb chops depending on size
2 cloves garlic minced well
4 cups baby arugula
1/2 bell pepper (your choice in color), sliced
1/4 red onion, sliced
1/2 avocado, sliced
1 or 1/2 tomato, cubed (depending on size)
olive oil for pan
2 TBS Olive Oil
1 Teaspoon Lemon Juice
1 Teaspoon Balsamic vinegar
1 Teaspoon Mustard, dijon
Pat lamb chops dry. Rub in garlic and season both sides with salt and pepper. Heat a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add a small amount of olive oil. Place chops in hot pan. Cook 2-3 minutes per side (depending on thickness and desired doneness). Remove from pan and rest on cutting board.
Make dressing by combining Olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar and dijon mustard.
Plate vegetables. Slice Lamb chops and plate on top of veggies. Drizzle with dressing. Top with more salt and pepper.
Halibut Steaks with Basil
2 frozen halibut steaks (fresh is great if you have access and can afford, most of us are going to opt for frozen–and if there’s previously frozen, please just purchase the frozen steaks and thaw RIGHT before cooking)
1 handful basil, minced OR 1 TBS tubed basil
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
Juice of 1/2 lemon
zest of one lemon
Salt & Pepper
Olive oil for pan
Thaw frozen halibut under cool running water. This should only take about 5-10 minutes. Best way to retain a freshness to your frozen fish.
While halibut is thawing, mince garlic and basil, zest one lemon and juice half–combine all ingredients–if you have a mortar and pestle, awesome, if not, a muddler or just a firm hand will really get aromatics mixed.
Once halibut is thawed, pat dry, season with salt and pepper on each side, and then smear basil mixture on halibut.
Heat a cast-iron skillet (may use non-stick pan, but i like the ‘char’ a cast iron can provide) over medium-high heat. When hot, add olive oil. Place halibut steaks in pan and cook 3-5 minutes each side, until done, depending on thickness (be careful to not-over cook)
Serve with brown rice and vegetable of your choice.
Turkey BLT , and chicken
This isn’t super p90x approved, but it was one evening after a long day i didn’t feel like cooking and wanted something that hit the spot. This was good and a good way to use up some of that turkey bacon we’re not loving.
2 frozen chicken breasts
Salt & Pepper and/or seasoning–we used a blackened seasoning mixture
4 strips turkey bacon
4 slices, thin, whole-wheat bread
Heat oven to 350
Chicken breasts in oven 20-30 minute, depending on size and thickness. At about 5 minutes until cooked pull out and add special seasoning if you prefer. Otherwise, salt and pepper.
While chicken cooks, cook turkey bacon in a cast iron skillet until done, set aside. Slice lettuce and avocado. Toast bread. Spread small amount of dijon mustard on bread (add mayo if you’d like).
When chicken is done, place on bread, top with turkey bacon, avocado, tomato and lettuce. Top with other piece of bread.
–this could easily be an open faced sandwich (one less slice of bread) and/or no bread and just eat mixed together.
I always loved broccoli. And I think a reason for this is my mom knew how to cook it. We never had over-cooked broccoli covered in a weird cheese sauce. Or over cooked broccoli drenched in margarine. Or just raw broccoli thrown in salads to make them healthier (granted i’m a fan of raw broccoli, but i completely see why people are not)
My mom’s standard way of cooking broccoli was past down to her from a German friend they met while traveling in Europe on their honeymoon.
It’s simple. easy. And SUPER good for you.
1 broccoli head, cut into florets
2-4 garlic cloves, minced (depending on how much broccoli you actually have and how garlicky you want it)
1 lemon–juice and zested
1 TBS olive oil (more or less)
Salt & Pepper
Steam broccoli in your favorite method–pot of water, low filled with lid, vegetable steamer, rice cooker, etc. Remove just as it’s starting to turn bright green–if you wait any longer you’ll over cook it. Set aside on serving tray (use a tray, not a bowl for more exposure)
Mince, mash garlic. Sprinkle over broccoli so each floret has many pieces of garlic.
Sprinkle lemon zest over. Squeeze lemon juice over and drizzle with olive oil to coat. If tray is such you can toss, do, but it is not necessary.
Season with salt & pepper to taste.