Balanced Meals

Several asked me whether I substitute beans for rice or potatoes in our meals. I don’t worry so much about having a vegetable, a starch and a meat. We just have whatever we want, whatever seems to go together and it all balances out in the end . . I hope! 🙂

For some reason, corn always goes with mashed potatoes because I love to mix the corn in the mashed potatoes so when we have mashed potatoes, we have whole kernel corn.  Two starches.  I’ve had corn and mashed potatoes together forever.  Once upon a time, I thought that maybe that wasn’t a balanced meal but then I realized as long as there’s lots of gravy, who cares?

Last night we had Butter Chicken, black beans, baked sweet potatoes, rice and a salad.  Technically, beans, potatoes and rice are all starches.  Black beans are really good for you!  I needed them for a recipe I was fixing today (Corn & Black Bean Salad) so I figured I’d fix them  for dinner last night and the leftovers went into the salad we had at lunch.

Sweet potatoes are a good source of fiber, beta carotene and several vitamins.  I’m always happy to add them to the menu (and they’re easy to fix and don’t make a mess!)  Chad had bought a jar of Butter Chicken Sauce and while I don’t normally use storebought pre-made items, he wanted me to fix it so I did and it was really good and we’ll probably have it again.  It needed to be served over rice so . . that’s how we ended up with so many starches last night.

Normally I wouldn’t fix so many starches.  I wouldn’t dream of serving mashed potatoes, pasta and rice all on the same night but I didn’t have a problem with black beans, baked sweet potatoes and rice.  Tonight we’re having saffron rice, green beans and green salad so you know I don’t always cook just starches.

Remember I’ve told you there are no quilt police allowed at my house?  No food police are allowed here either!  For the most part, our meals are pretty balanced but if somethings they just aren’t . . I don’t even think twice about it.


  1. 1

    Sandra Neel Hutchins says

    It sounds like it all balances out in the end. Besides, anything that we cook at home is usually healthier than constantly eating restaurant food which has so much fat and salt and who knows what else in it. I love sweet potatoes!

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    Michele says

    Is the butter chicken sauce really spicy? (I love spicy, but my husband can’t handle it.)

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    We hardly ever have starches…although I love instant mashed potatoes, but only if I have gravy or creamed corn..and I can’t eat rice….lol I always make a veggie, but sadly I am the only one that eats it…
    I think it always evens out in the end…

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    We have our own version of “balanced” around here, boyfriend likes something cold with every dinner meal…coleslaw, applesauce, salad, pickles, no telling what he’ll grab from the fridge. One of my favorite meals is what I call the “Triple Carb Threat.” My mom’s goulash (which is totally not traditional goulash but a spaghetti like dish with shell pasta, ground beef & tomato sauce seasoned with lots of chili powder). Along with it I make baked potatoes & corn. To make it a Quadruple we have a slice of bread on the side. This is one winter meal that’ll make you sleep good, lol!

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    Connie says

    Funny you do corn and mashed potatoes. My husband likes green (English) peas with mashed potatoes.

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    Marilyn Smith says

    Judy, I am having to totally relearn cooking as I was just diagnosed with diabetes a few weeks ago. It is all about carb watching – not just sugar. I am on pills, not insulin shots. Lots to learn. DH has said that he will eat whatever I can cook for myself. He can stand to lose a few so it may be good for both of us. I cleaned out the pantry today and tossed a bunch of stuff. We are both on high blood pressure meds too. Veggies and fruits will all be fresh – I rarely use canned because of the sodium content.

    My dh loves the types of food you cook (I have cooked many of your recipies). We have also cut down on portion size.

    Wish me luck in learning a new lifestyle!

    • 6.1



      You can relearn and rebuild a new lifestyle. Frozen veggies and fruit are my lifesaver some days as I don’t do canned veggies.

      In order to lose weight I needed to cut the starches way back. As a vegetarian I eat lots of beans & lentils. I lost approximately 100lbs in 2009 and I have managed to keep it off for a year. My goal this year is to lose the last few pounds to my goal weight. Some days my meals aren’t balanced either, but all tend to be low starch and sodium. I’ve actually had to increase my sodium intake due to my running…

      Growing up my family often served peas, corn and mashed potatoes… Now I rarely eat those veggies at any meal, and never together anymore….

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    Mariel says

    I love, love, love corn and mashed potatoes! My favorite meal in the whole wide world…fried chicken, corn, and mashed potatoes. This has been my favorite since I was a little girl.

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    Marie says

    Oh how I’d love to have a plate of round steak, rice and gravy, but DH has diabetes too and all fried foods are out. We have had to change everything that we were use to eating. Just a tip Marilyn, watch fresh fruit as it is loaded with natural sugars and now is a no can have here. Have you ever ate just a half of a banana? The way one eats is not the easiest thing to change but I’ll keep working at it. Judy, love your quilts, recipes and everything else that you discuss here. Keep doing what your doing, cause I’m learning everything I can!!!

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    Mel Meister says

    “Once upon a time, I thought that maybe that wasn’t a balanced meal but then I realized as long as there’s lots of gravy, who cares?”

    I laughed so hard I snorted my ice water! If you ask my husband what is favorite food is, he will say “gravy”. 🙂

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    Diann Smith says

    You are KILLING ME with all this food! I realized I’m not cooking enough at home and not my food is lacking and I’m WRITING down directions on all this to try myself. I need a note to my dr. from you about my weight gain for next appointment. I want to eat it ALL. I don’t see how you get it all done. But you do.

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    Helen says

    Ahh, you brought back some memories:
    “I wouldn’t dream of serving mashed potatoes, pasta and rice all on the same night”
    When we were at boarding school one of the meals we got for dinner about once a month was ravioli, rice and mashed potatoes. We hated it. There again the food was mostly bad, lol.

  12. 14

    Gwen says

    Judy, have you tried the Butter Chicken recipe on Tasty Kitchen? Pioneed Woman mentions it on a list of favorites on Pioneer Woman Cooks today. She has links to it and several other of her favorites.