Friday, 18 May 2012

The NMS Covenant: How To Spice Up Your Meals

Food was meant to be enjoyed. It's a fact. When Nehemiah wanted the Israelites to show joy and strength in the Lord, he said, "Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks." In Ecclesiastes, Solomon determed that "man has no good thing under the sun but to eat and drink and be joyful, for this will go with him in his toil through the days of his life that God has given him under the sun."

So, do you think that God meant for us to eat utterly boring meals, or fulfill the working mother's dream of a little pill that takes away hunger? Of course not! Food is a blessing that should be experimented with, explored, and generally celebrated. Sometimes it's hard though, isn't it? Our schedules are rushed, there's no food in the house, or we're on our own and don't feel like going to the trouble to cook something new and interesting. So we fall into a rut.
The venerable Earl of Sandwich

For me, the rut is sandwiches. This is the go-to food that sucks the life out of eating. For you it might be an egg, a piece of fruit,  boring leftovers, breakfast cereal again, or something similarly uninspiring. Whatever it is, I'll bet it tends to get repetitive and mindless after a while. I know that whenever I'm on my own for lunch or supper (it's not often, but it does happen), I am tempted to go for quick and easy, predictable food. But last year I made a covenant with myself--the NMS (No More Sandwiches) Covenant. I resolved to use what food was at hand to create something wild and deliciously unexpected!

Here is some inspiration for you to spice up your meals and try something out of the ordinary. Some of these foods you can make from scratch, others are compiled from various leftovers, most are quick and easy and relatively nutritious, and all of them have at least one thing in common--they're not sandwiches. More complete instructions and ideas can be found with the full posts over at my personal blog.

 This is an absolutely delicious, crispy, healthy, pizza-like-thingy inspired by a Taste of Home recipe. Sauté a bunch of veggies and seasonings on high heat long enough to soften but not burn them or let them get squishy. In a separate skillet heat up a large flour tortilla in a bit of butter until it's crispy. Pile the veggie-goodness onto the tortilla, douse it with Parmesan cheese (or any other cheese you've got on hand) and garnish with fresh snipped basil leaves (be careful, it's messy). 

Now this one is crazy! It's what you get when a tornado is bearing down on you and you're really, really hungry. It's a conglomeration of  chicken salad  mixed with raisins, a handful of sunflower nuts, a good dose of curry powder, and a splash of honey dijon salad dressing piled onto a bowl of tortilla chips and topped with a boiled egg. Great use of leftovers!

This is what I like to call

It's French toast that has immigrated to another cultural cuisine, in this case Mexican. I whipped up an egg, liberally sprinkled the mixture with Mexican seasoning and cumin (I adore cumin), then heated a little butter in a skillet, coated bread with the egg stuff, and fried it up. I did this with two slices of bread, stacked them one on top of the other, and then slathered on the goods: melted colby-jack cheese, homemade salsa, and a dollop of sour cream. I sprinkled it with a bit more cumin, then splashed mild taco sauce over everything but the floor. Yummy? You bet!

This potato has been taken to the next level! With  part of an onion, some bell pepper slices, a couple mushrooms, a bit of leftover cheese, a dab of sour cream, a little olive oil, and/or just about anything else your little heart desires, you too can bury a perfectly decent baked potato under a mass of  sautéed  amazingness.

Another way to dress up a few leftover potatoes (did I tell you I like potatoes?) involves just ranch dressing, spicy Dijon Mustard, and parsley for garnish. That's all you need to whip up this delicious little side dish! Make it decadent with crumbled bacon as a topping.

This one was so much fun! I went Mexican again, this time topping some brown rice with cheese, black beans, onions, etc., but the kicker is that the topping is a mixture of salsa and strawberry jam. You've got to try it!

A spiedie is a dish that is basically marinated meat on a shish kabob, and I found a recipe online for "almost spiedies." What I made turned out to be absolutely nothing like spiedies, but it sure was delicious! Olive oil, about a capful of apple cider vinegar, sliced onions and bell peppers, fresh garlic, a precooked chicken breast, salt, pepper, and Italian seasonings, and you've cooked up something really delicious. Make it more authentic by piling it on top of a big hunk of soft Italian bread!

These are awesome as a meal for one (or more!), when you're in a hurry, or when you don't want to dirty up the kitchen. Simply blend 1 banana, 2 tbsp. nut butter (I used peanut), 1 egg, and a dash of vanilla (optional) together and pour into a hot buttered skillet. The result is remarkably like pancakes, and tastes delicious with maple syrup.

Happy experimenting!


  1. Way to go Abby! Although we don't have too many sandwiches at our house, there are several recipes that happen fairly often because they're easy and we are either feeling lazy, tired, rushed or whatever it is and they end up on the table :] I'm glad that you're experimenting! The very last one looked especially sweet :] (pun intended) I can't wait to try it some morning this summer!

    Great post!

    1. I'm so glad you liked it, Devin! I would love to see some of the crazy things you could come up with ;)


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