Saturday, September 1, 2012

Recipe Portions

Recipe Portions
The other thing I wanted to address in my house is Recipe Portions. Many recipes don't give you a 'serving size' or let you know how many people a recipe will serve. I'm the number one most guilty of that. As I mentioned - left overs don't get eaten here, so I need to really focus on using 'double duty' ingredients as well as making enough food for all of us to get the nutrition we need, without wasting.

I sat down with my husband (who is the grill master at our house) and we talked about portions. We have 4 small children - but our 9 year old eats like a bird. Eating for him is a chore, not a pleasure as it is for the rest of us. My other kids are 7, 4 and 7 months - so baby isn't eating with us yet. My husband travels a lot so I wanted to figure out just exactly how much protein I need to prepare for dinners with my husband and for dinners without him when he travels. I was actually shocked to learn (over the last month+) that we eat SO MUCH LESS than I thought - and that we nearly always have leftovers - no matter how much we enjoy our dinner - you get full!

We figured out that when I use boneless, skinless chicken breasts (which other than the occasional canned chicken) is the only kind of chicken I use, that 3 breasts feeds all 5 of us perfectly. Which has almost helped me realize that when hubs is out of town, that I only need to prepare meals with 2 chicken breasts! Generally, I eat 3/4 of a chicken breast. Mr. 9 eats 1/4 (I told you he eats like a bird and protein is his least fav) Ms. 4 eats 1/4 and Ms. 7 eats 1/2 of a chicken breast. Mr. Hubs eats a whole one for himself. Seriously life changing people.

Those portions would also be consistent for pork chops, sausage, fish (well, not fish - I'll eat an entire salmon steak to my own head).

Other protein can be a little tricky to figure out. We know just because we have it often enough that one pork tenderloin is enough for us. Also mind blowing? ONE pound of ground beef, ground sausage, ground turkey, etc. is enough for us - 1.5 lbs when Hubs is in town. That also really shocked me. When I look at one tiny pound of ground meat - I think that there is just no way that will stretch - but it does.

So, I am going to try to size recipes down based on the protein portion listed. It'll be tricky, but I think it will be worth it for us.

The great thing about figuring out your "magic" number when it comes to protein portions, you know that you are eating and feeding your family enough protein. If they are still hungry, you've got a side prepared that can help fill those holes. If you didn't prepare a side (as I've addressed previously with a 'complete meal') I am always sure to have healthy snacks in the fridge that are easily accessible that can supplement when needed - which is this house is NEVER. Think veg, string cheese, fruit (leftover toppings from taco night tomato, shredded cheese, corn) - things that don't take you away from the dinner table - they can go grab themselves.

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