Portion Musings, and Lots of Leftovers!

September 25, 2009 at 2:51 pm Leave a comment

One thing I have always struggled with is portion control. Obviously, it’s something that Americans (and America) struggle with all the time.

Growing up, it was definitely an issue. I come from a family of seven, so meals were always big. It’s true – it took until I was in college and cooking on my own to learn that you didn’t have to use the entire box of pasta (or more!) every time you made spaghetti. I’m also the oldest child, and I have four younger brothers, which I’m sure contributed to my slightly skewed views on how much anyone should eat at any given time. For instance, the time when my brother polished off two Chipotle burritos. Or even last night, when my brother-cum-roommate ate an entire box of Kraft Mac and Cheese Spirals for dinner. Obviously, I am responsible for my own choices, but when everyone around you has a heaping plate of food, followed by helpings of seconds (and thirds!) at the dinner table, it’s more than difficult to say “No thanks” (at least for me).

Unfortunately, I’m also not a fan of measuring out everything that I eat (although I think it’s necessary for nuts, pasta, and peanut butter!), so usually I just make food, and then use a small dinner plate to measure what I deem to be an appropriate size.

I’ve also learned to embrace my inability to portion while cooking (as well as the reality of cooking for one) in the form of leftovers. Once the scorn of the refrigerator, I’ve learned to appreciate them for how easy they can make preparing meals.

For instance, for lunch today, I roasted this pretty huge tray of broccoli, as I though it would be a nice accompaniment for the couscous and tempeh I had planned.

I roasted the broccoli for about 10 minutes on 425; I tossed them in olive oil, S&P, a little garlic powder (I’m all out of garlic), and a sprinkling of parmesan.

As much as I love broccoli, I think eating the whole pan would be a little too much, so I’m planning on using it in my Annie’s Organic Whole Wheat Shells & White Cheddar for dinner to bulk it up a little bit.

My couscous was comprised almost completely of leftovers as well: the couscous itself from dinner a few days ago, an onion that I’ve been slicing at for some time now, and a block of Trader Joe’s Organic 3-Grain Tempeh that I’ve also been using in small doses.

Fact: I really want to like tempeh and other such foods (tofu, etc), because I really don’t eat a lot of animal protein, and know that they’re all a good way to supplement, but for some reason, the textures of all of these foods are really off-putting. I’ve been experimenting with the tempeh (such as my fire-starting Maple-Glazed Tempeh) and to use up the block, I basically just threw all of these leftovers into a pan and hoped for the best! Well, sorta – I caramelized the onions, added the tempeh, and then threw in the couscous. To finish it off, I added some pine nuts.

It was really good! Well…except for the tempeh, quite honestly. I ate most of it, but left the last two pieces on my plate.

I just don’t think I like it :( Any help would be greatly appreciated…! But now it’s gone, and I can enjoy the rest of my much more palatable leftovers instead :)

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