GAME PLAN – High Protein Meal Plan on a Budget

Hello everybody, it has been a six weeks since my last post and I have been working and experimenting on mastering basic cooking techniques that I am proud to share on this blog.

Recently I was glancing through several articles and reviewing food labeling content when I realize do people really know portion control.  For example, on a typical diet, one serving of chicken is 4 oz or 1/2 cup or 8 tablespoons so for about a pound of chicken, total servings would be four people.

Over the weekend we went grocery shopping at Shop Rite and we brought several ingredients to see how many portion meals we can make and how long it would last for under $50.  We created dishes, which will be shown on Instagram throughout the week. These recipes are inspired from Thai and Chinese cuisines in combination with recipes from Ideal Protein.  Here is the game plan that should last at least 7 days:

low carb game plan

Stay tuned for more.  Let us know if you have any questions, concerns, comments or feedback on how to improve this blog.  We are open to suggestions.  Thank you for all your support.

 

 

Flashback Friday – 2018 NYC Summer Restaurant Week

TGIF — It’s Flashback Friday and it’s been over six weeks since I’ve last posted here.  Well, it’s restaurant week again and we are entering the last seven days of this high end eating on a budget event.  This year’s restaurant week started on July 23 and ends next Friday, August 17.

Did you know that NYC restaurant week started 26 years ago to welcome the Democratic National Convention (DNC)? We all know who won the election.  Anyways, back to food, NYC restaurant week started with 95 participating restaurants in 1992 to approximately quadrupling to 380 in 2018.  This season, few restaurants in Brooklyn, Queens and even Staten Island are jumping on the bandwagon for this budget friendly opportunity.  This season was disappointing because lunch/brunch meals are only two courses (appetizer with entree or dessert) for $26 and a three course dinner remains at $42.

After 3 weeks of thorough review of 317 menus out of the 380 restaurants, here are the logistics that are broken down into: best lunch, dinner and brunch for 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5+ people.  Our criteria is comparing what the restaurant is offering for restaurant week to their daily lunch/dinner/brunch menu; for example, if crudo is part of the regular lunch appetizer menu, we want to see if the restaurant is serving the same item on their restaurant week menu.  Some restaurants are even offering parts of their regular as part of restaurant week, which is a great way to go.

We will begin with the total number of restaurants that are offering the best value meals for lunch, dinner and brunch based on our criteria.

Slide1Personally one of the reasons why I have yet to participate in this year’s restaurant week is because I am on a diet, which I will disclose at some point this weekend. Therefore, we created another table that breaks down the overall number of best value meals to accommodate the vegetarians, pescatarians, people in low carb diets (that’s me) and comfort (those who want to YOLO)!

Slide2

Even though I am on a diet, I do plan to take advantage of restaurant week, which is easier said than done because there is no control of how the food is made.  However, with the comfort meal types, the appetizers are either on the vegetarian, pescatarian and low carb side.  The hard part is dessert, which in case, lunch is ideal, but due to my full time job, I can’t take advantage of the lunch offerings this season.

In the past, I have shared my experiences of eating at restaurants for restaurant week and if you need any ideas or suggestions,  below is the list of places I have eaten at for past restaurant weeks:

Capital Grille at all three New York City locations (Grand Central, West 50s and wall Street) their 14 ounce bone-in dry aged sirloin steak is still being offered for this restaurant week.  In addition from now until September 2, Capital Grille is also offering what they call a “Generous Pour”, which costs only $28 for a tasting of seven wines with the purchase of dinner.   The suggestion for this restaurant week:

Lunch for 1: Caesar Salad & Signature Cheeseburger with Truffle Fries

– Dinner for 2: Wedge of Bleu Cheese or Clam Chowder

Bone-In Dry Aged Sirloin Steak  (14oz) w/ Mashed Potatoes & Green Beans

Seared Citrus Glazed Salmon w/ Mashed Potatoes & Green Beans

Flourless Chocolate Espresso Cake and Creme Brulee

Fonda (Comfort Food) in the East Village has awesome happy hour specials, but for restaurant week it’s a good way to get four friends to get together for drinks and happy times.  Check out my post on what the guacamole, enchilada suizas and dessert (morenitas).

Blenheim (Comfort Food) a Michelin rated restaurant offers a stipulation from my experience eating here two years ago.  The menu changes frequently for the season, which makes it exciting.  This season, a solo dinner is the way to go with the following: Fried Chicken, Pork two ways and Chocolate cremeux.

Tavern 62 by David Burke (Comfort Food) located at the beginning of the Upper East Side is one of the few restaurants that are utilizing their regular menu have new customers try their food and feel that they belong. They have great happy hour specials, where there are $10 burgers and $8 fries.   Check out the pictures and previous write up about the transition from Fishtail to Tavern62 by clicking on the “Tavern 62 by David Burke” link.  I do plan on returning to this restaurant because I feel welcomed but more importantly it’s a great deal for restaurant week and the customer will get their money’s worth.

Other restaurants I definitely want to try are the following:

Smith & Wollensky – Dinner for 4 – Comfort Food

Appetizer: Mixed Green Salad, Caesar Salad, Calamari, and Pea Soup

Entree: Filet Mignon, Lemon Pepper Chicken,  Salmon Waldorf, and Pan Roasted Branzino

Dessert: Cheesecake, Bourbon Pecan Pie, Chocolate Mousse Cake and Coconut Layer Cake with Vanilla Ice Cream

Barraca – Dinner for 2 – Pescatarian/Vegetarian

Appetizer: Ensalada de Mercado and Pulpo a Feira

Entree: Paella de Verdura (minimum 2 people) and Paella de Calamares

Desserts: Churros de Rellanos and Corte de Helado

In addition, offering a great $18 wine pairing deal for restaurant.  They are also one of the few restaurants that are offering a three course lunch meal for restaurant week for $26.  Plus, they have a great $6 happy hour menu from 4pm to 7pm.

Nickel and Diner – Dinner for 1 – Pescatarian/Low Carb

Appetizer: Smoked Salmon Chowder

Entree: Ginger Crusted Halibut

Desserts: Honey Semifreddo

In addition, they have a great happy hour menu from 3pm to 7pm.

Lugo Cucina Italiana – Lunch for 2 – Low Carb/Pescatarian/Vegetarian

Appetizer: Kale Mango Salad, Mussels Fra Diavolo

Entree: Salmone Al Forno, Eggplant Parmagiana

Although I may have disappeared here on my own site, but I am posting on my Instragram page: tablespoonsandteaspoons.  Please follow me.

I will continue to strive to post more often here.  Stay tuned….

 

 

 

Flashback Friday – Winter 2018 NYC Restaurant Week

Today is the last day of NYC Restaurant Week and after reviewing menus and reviews, I was not impressed with the options that were offered this season. Therefore, I was considering skipped this season’s restaurant week. However two of my friends wanted to do restaurant week lunch and dinner. So after getting my arm twisted, I ended up eating a really good lunch at Cut by Wolfgang Puck in Lower Manhattan. My friend wanted to eat there and so I joined her. The service at this restaurant was really good and very accommodating.

For $29, my lunch prix fixe included the following: goat cheese ravioli, crispy quail salad and empire apple crumble.

For dinner, I decided to use my $100 gift card I won at last year’s American Cancer Society Taste of Hope event to eat from Massoni, an Italian/Asian casual fusion restaurant. Service was not par and food was not what I had expected. Furthermore the waiter was terrible, he didn’t know how the food was made and screwed up people’s orders. He suggested items for the $42 prix fixe, which was a bad idea because everything was salty. The waiter too responsibility for his mistake and gave me a free drink and a side dish of squash.

In addition, I took advantage of the happy hour $8 wines until 7pm. I had a Falanghina/fuedi di san gregorio 2014, a white wine and a Barbera/pico maccario 2015, a red wine.

For the $42 salty three course prix fixe dinner, I ordered Biriyani balls, Brussels sprouts pizza, and Snickers cannoli. Let’s put it this way, the cannoli was the best dish out of the three. The first two dishes were so salty that I couldn’t finish it, my friend shared the appetizer with me and I took leftover Brussels Sprouts pizza home.

By far Massoni was probably the worse restaurant week meal I have had and I used the remaining balance on the gift card to order more food to see if their regular menu was better….

My friend ordered the salmon and it was supposed to have potatoes and leeks. Let’s just say the dish was a disappointment because it not only had too much dill but it was salty with very little potatoes and leeks.

If it was not for the gift certificate I would not have eaten at this restaurant. I believe the food needs more work, I have to give the benefit of the doubt that this place opened less than a year ago. Honestly, I would not come back here, there are more restaurants out there to try for better food and service.

Throwback Thursday – Thanksgiving for Two

On behalf of Tablespoonsandteaspoons we want to wish you and your family a happy Thanksgiving. Thank you to my followers for your continuing support. 

If you’re unable to celebrate Thanksgiving with your family, we came up with a meal that can be done in a hour and more importantly it’s budget friendly, healthy and low carb. 

Bacon Wrapped Turkey Cutlets with Brussels Sprout Casserole and Skinny Mashed Yams

Bacon Wrapped Turkey Cutlets – Recipe was adapted from Domesticated Wildchild and Grace Before Meals

Boneless Skinless Turkey Breast Cutlets $4.99/lb 

Bacon $3.99 

Salt

Pepper

1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees. 

2) Place aluminum foil on a baking sheet and lay 4 strips of bacon flat on the foiled baking sheet. 

3) Rinse 2-4 slices of turkey breast cutlets depending on size and place cutlets on top of the bacon. 

4) Season cutlets generously in salt, pepper and garlic powder.  Stack cutlets. 

5) Place the tips of the bacon to wrap around the cutlets and roll tightly. 

6) Place bacon wrapped turkey cutlets in the oven for one hour.  Rotate the baking sheets 180 degrees halfway. 

7) Remove from oven and let it cool for 10 minutes. 

Brussels Sprouts Casserole – Recipe was adapted from Grace Before Meals

1 tablespoon of butter (I used the Earth Balance Organic Whipped Butter) $3.50 

16 pieces of Brussels sprouts -$2.99/lb.

Ocean spray craisins  (dried cranberries) at 2 for $3 ($1.50)

1/4 cup of water 

1/4 cup of breadcrumbs $1.50

1) Rinse and cut Brussels sprouts into quarters.

2) Melt butter in a non stick pan

3) Add Brussels sprouts and let it cool for 4 mins. 

4) Add dried cranberries and water and let it cook until water is evaporated. 

5) Add breadcrumbs and mix until toasted. 

Skinny Mashed Yams – Recipe was adapted from Tasty Kitchen

2 yams washed and cubed = $0.59/lb

Cinnamon 

Salt

Butter

1) Wash and cut yams into cubes.

2) Add yams to boiling water and cook until fork tender. 

3) Drain yams. Mash yams and add cinnamon and butter as needed. 

There you have it, a date night/Thanksgiving meal for two that can be done in one hour with each dish requiring no more than five ingredients. 

From our family to yours, once again Happy Thanksgiving! Cheers! 

Throwback Thursday – Mixed Berries Dessert

This past Christmas my cousin made of the best cobblers ever and I’ve yet to order one from a restaurant.  This week was the week to clean out the fridge and pantry.  As a result, there were still leftover blueberries and strawberries from New Year’s  and an old fashion fruit cobbler mix purchased on sale from Aldi. Therefore, a decision was made to made a mixed berry cobbler. Totally not being creative here but we followed directions outlined on the cobbler mix. Therefore, the look and taste definitely does not compared to the freshly made cobbler from scratch.  Although this dessert is high on calories it carries some healthy ingredients that have demonstrated resourceful in healing, preventing and evening treating disease, two of which were mentioned in previous posts. 

1 box of the old fashion fruit cobbler mix from Baker’s Corner = <$2 on sale = 110 calories/serving

1 large egg = 70 calories 

strawberries, sliced = 24 calories

16 tbsp blueberries = 85 calories

2 tbsp sugar = 100 calories 

6 tbsp melted butter = 300 calories (50 calories/tbsp. 

Five ingredients used plus sugar

Mix egg with the dry mix using a fork until well blended.

Grease 8×8 pan and lay out the fruit

Sprinkle sugar over the fruit.

Place egg cobbler mixture on top and spread evenly to cover the fruit.

Sprinkle melted butter evenly on top of the cobbler. Place the dish in the over at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes.

Good news: Cleaned out three leftover products from the fridge and pantry (strawberries, blueberries and cobbler mix). 

Mediocre news: Definitely can tell that the taste of the end product came from a prepared mix. 

Take home message: attempt to make a cobbler with available fruit from scratch. 

Sunday Game Plan – Cleaning the Fridge/Pantry

For the second Sunday of 2017, we decided to devise this week’s game plan because we discovered that there is no more room in the fridge/Pantry.  This week game plan may not be as healthy as one may think because it involves wine, cheese, chocolate brownie mix, cobbler mix and stir fry mix. Below is this week’s game plan of dishes to be made during the week. Two of the six dishes were made for Christmas. The good news is all the items purchased were on sale making the total cost of each meal less than $10.  The next goal is to utilize all the New Year’s fruits and come up with different dishes for next week’s game plan. Stay tuned. 

Sunday Game Plan – Happy New Year – 2017 Good luck meals 

Happy New Year 2017! As we approach the one year anniversary of Tablespoonsandteaspoons, this experiential journey was filled with trials and errors, mastering food photography, extensive food and health research and experimenting dishes. 

As 2016 ends and 2017 begins, we decided to prepare meals utilizing what is considered lucky foods to consume for the New Year. After evaluating the significance of the lucky foods, there were some health benefits in consuming them. 

This time around we were lucky enough to prepare these meals successfully ahead of time. 

The lucky foods to consume New Year’s include:

Black Eyed Peas

Spinach (Greens)

Pork

Udon (buckwheat noodles)

Lentils

Below is our successful Game Plan for New Year 2017. 

In addition to the game plan, we prepared our traditional 13 round fruits, a Filipino tradition because 13 was considered a lucky number. 

So excited to share our meals for New Years with all of you. 

Cheers to a happy, healthy, properous and successful 2017! 

Sunday Game Plan

It has been awhile since I posted a game plan for meals of the week. For the past two weeks I have been exploring cheap places to eat and new restaurants. Now it is time to get back to business and proceed with my weight loss plan in order to reach my weight goal by the end of the year which is easier said than done at this point. 

 Today’s game plan include recipes for vegetarians, pescatarians, paleo eaters, and gluten free consumers on a budget. This week’s recipes are inspired by Physique57 SolutionThe Food Babe Way and The Pound a Day Diet. 

In addition to the food consumption I will be doing at least 30 minutes of cardio with strength circuit training. 

Let the weight loss journey resume. Stay tuned.