Finding and choosing recipes, constructing meals out of ingredients we have, grocery shopping – these are all valuable skills. But they are skills that take time and effort to learn!
It can be overwhelming to suddenly find yourself cooking at home 5x more than you’re used to, or meal planning because you can’t grocery shop as often as you normally do. (Especially if you are dealing with an extra stressful environment, which so many of us are right now). So if the tips above seem like just ONE MORE THING to think about, it’s ok. You just do your best and it’s the best you can do.
I started Nutrition for Real Humans to make healthy eating less overwhelming. My goal here is to make things like meal planning, and using the tips above, easier and more accessible. I hope the resources you find on my blog, resources page, and my Pinterest help provide some inspiration or helpful advice.
One super useful resource isYummly, a recipe search engine, where you can look up recipes by the ingredient you want to use. They even have a new meal planner that will generate a shopping list from the recipes you’ve chosen!
Also, I’m super excited about this –
I will soon have meal plans available for instant download!
They will include:
delicious and nutritious recipes
a complete shopping list
easy to follow directions, including
step-by-step directions for prepping ingredients all at once to make each day’s meal time super easy
friendly and positive nutrition notes
Look for them early next week! Sign up for my email list or follow me on social media if you want to know as soon as they are available!
(Scroll all the way to the bottom of the page for email signup and my social media)
I can also work with you personally to create a meal plan just for you with the things you already have at home – or with the things you usually have in your pantry – or a flexible meal plan that has a little give so it will still work if you can’t find a specific ingredient. Click here to schedule with me for a free, no-obligation consult.
So I am writing this post because I wanted to link to this recipe but realized I have been making it so long (and have changed it so much) that I no longer know where I learned the original recipe. It is one of my brainless crowdpleasers and an easy and affordable way to eat more fish (for those healthy omega-3 fatty acids).
This is probably the meal I am most likely to be able to make from what is in my pantry. I realize not everyone has the same pantry, but the instructions are pretty flexible so you can adapt the ingredients to what you might have available.
Here’s what you need:
1/2 an onion (or like 1 small onion, usually my grocery store has giant onions)
Garlic, a few cloves (or you could use 1 tsp garlic powder or granulated garlic)
15-oz can tomatoes/tomato sauce or 1 small can tomato paste + enough water to make it about 15-oz/2 cups
1-2 cans tuna (you can probably also use canned chicken or canned beans/lentils)
1/2-1 lb pasta (I like to use whole wheat, but use what you have – gluten-free, lentil pasta, or rice pasta should work just as well)
Oil of some kind – I used olive
Spices (I like dried basil primarily for this, but last time I threw in some thyme and rosemary as well and it was good. You can also use an Italian seasoning)
You will also need a cutting board and a knife to chop your onions, a small pot/pan to make the sauce in, and a pot to boil your pasta. And a stove.
Put a few tablespoons of oil in a pot over medium-high heat and once that is warm, add your onions and a little bit of salt (like 1/2 teaspoon) and let them cook while you…
Mince up a few cloves of garlic, or if you are using minced garlic or garlic powder, skip to the next step.
Once the onions are soft and translucent, add the garlic and cook for just 30 seconds-1 minute (garlic burns fast).
Add your spices. I like to use a lot of dried basil, but you can use Italian seasoning, rosemary, thyme, oregano, or a combination.
Dump in your canned tomatoes or tomato sauce or the tomato paste that you have mixed with water.
Stir this so it’s combined, then turn up the heat to bring to a simmer (so it is very slowly bubbling). Then cover it with a lid and turn it to low.
While this is simmering, cook your pasta according to the directions on the box – I find this takes 15-20 minutes counting the time for the water to boil which is a good amount of time for the sauce to simmer.
Once your pasta is cooked and drained, drain the tuna as well and flake it into the sauce and stir until it’s combined, then combine the sauce with the pasta
This is even pretty good leftover and doesn’t even smell too fishy when you warm it up. It’s also good with Parmesan on top.
As you can see the amounts are flexible – if you like a saucier pasta, use less pasta or more tomatoes. If you want a higher protein/lower carb ratio, use less pasta and more tuna. If you used canned tomatoes and don’t like chunks, mash the sauce or use an immersion blender or food processor (in small batches please) to blend it before you combine with the pasta and tuna.
This batch was made with ~1/2 lb of pasta, 2 cans of tuna, and 1 can of tomatoes, just give you an idea of what those ratios look like.
Below is the recipe card I dug out of the box – in case you want to just have a picture of the recipe 🙂