Place on the Grain ...

So ... in my quest to get Honey healthy again, I have been trying to increase the protein content of our meal. 

For those of you who don't know, a little over a month ago, we rushed Honey to the hospital .... burning up with fever and gasping for breath. A few days in the hospital and a new fashionable-oxygen-tank-accessory later ... we are slowly adjusting to a different normal. 

We don't get out much now ... and now that our flower season is done ... I have been having a lot of fun stretching my cooking muscles. 

Most hip and cool people knew about grain bowls. But ... I am talking about us ... so no, we had never made grain bowls. 

Oh ... I had eaten rice and meat bowls that were smothered in cheese at our local not-quite Mexican restaurant. But these are suppose to be  healthy. How do I begin?? 

It turns out grain bowls are the perfect medium for leftovers and creativity!

Who knew?!?!

First ... start with 1 to 1-1/2 cups of grain per bowl.  I used a tri-color Israeli couscous but brown rice, farro, barley, quinoa, lentils, wheat berries are all great in a grain bowl. The grain can be cooked ahead when you have a little time. 

Next ... you want to add some protein. 

I made a simple vinaigrette of lemon juice, white wine vinegar, olive oil, garlic and seasonings and marinated a boneless skinless chicken thigh for about an hour. This the perfect time to use up that leftover salmon, chicken or steak. I used about 3 ounces of meat per bowl. 

Adding beans of some kind is important for protein and fiber. My first grain bowl was Mediterranean-inspired so I used chick peas. Black beans and pinto beans are on my list ... you might like black-eyed peas or fava beans. 

After I had cooked the chicken ... and was letting it rest ... I quickly stirred the beans in the skillet to heat. 

Time to add some veggies. Ok ... this is where leftovers come into play. 

I quickly sauted a half of zucchini, a couple of mushrooms and a red pepper. I can not begin to share the number of veggie combos that you can use.  You want to add about a cup of cooked vegetables per bowl. 

Crunch is an important element of a grain bowl. I added some sliced cherry tomatoes, olives and a good feta cheese in brine. Fresh herbs are lovely on bowls .. as are nuts, roasted seeds and dried fruit.

 I finished it off with some of the vinaigrette dressing I made earlier. For safety ... never use the leftover marinade that you used for meat. Make sure you make plenty to start.

So .... some truth in blogging. 

I LOVED this. One skillet ... a couple of bowls ... and I cleaned out the fridge. 


Honey .... well, he is a meat and potato guy. He did humor me ... and ate all of it. It might have been a bit too salad-like for him.  And, Lord knows, salads are often considered a side dish ... not a main dish. 

But I think I can win him over. 


If I am lucky. 



Michelle said…
Um, just so you know, lentils are a legume just like beans and peas. Another interesting tidbit (which you may already know) is that the combination of whole grains and legumes give you all the essential amino acids to form a complete protein, no meat needed. But Honey might not be interested in that....

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