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Almost-no-cooking dinners during morning sickness?

I am pregnant with my second, and therefore not as interested in food as usual, and I'm finding dinners a challenge, between food shopping and cooking. Any suggestions for really fast (preferably no meat, or already prepped meat, no steaks or cutlets, please) dinners whose ingredients I can have hanging around in my fridge or pantry?

We're eating a lot of grilled cheese and boxed mac'n'cheese. Of course I have a laundry list of things I can't stand (mostly meat cooking) but I'm likely to be sick for another ten weeks, and my husband is going to go broke buying us takeout.

Help!

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  1. I can relate with you on the meatless first trimester (my whole pregnancy was actually chicken-less - couldn't bear to see the stuff!). By Christmas I was feeling okay enough to prepare a beautiful beef tenderloin for dinner, but couldn't actually eat it.

    I ate a lot of pierogis, pasta, spaetzle and rice with veggies. And lots of fruit, yogurt and cereal. My husband would cook up a bunch of chicken one night, and reheat throughout the week to add to my veggie and grain or starch dinners. Not Chowhound worthy, but if your husband isn't available to help with the meat prep, maybe you can use frozen cooked chicken breasts or fish for him.

    Sorry I don't have more specific recipes, but if I think of any I'll post again.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Foodie in Friedberg

      Been there, done that. Things that were ok with me (because I also hated being near meat during 1st trimeseter--ok, most of both pregnancies): tofu, rice & beans, pasta, salt bagels with butter/margarine or cream cheese, pizza. Asian food was somehow more palatable than other types of cuisine. My husband was wonderful about cooking for me most of the time (though nothing appealed and I never had suggestions for what to eat). Salads were ok. Good luck! it's challenging.

    2. lissar, would your family eat tuna casseroles or maybe salmon patties? I also remember not being able to even look at raw meats in those days. Perhaps a vegetarian chili dish involving beans and veggies and no meats?

      1. For my wife, I would make or have the ingredients around for:
        Salads (bags of pre-chopped lettuce if you feel like it)
        tuperwares in the fridge of diced fruit
        Deli meats
        those store-roasted chickens to have in the fridge
        cheeses you enjoy
        you can microwave squashs really easy (covered, a little water in the dish)
        egg salad

        Not sure what kind of food you like

        1. - how are you with eggs? frittatas, omelets & scrambles are quick & easy, nutritious, and very versatile - you can jazz them up with any combination of vegetables and cheese that you have on hand
          - vegetarian lasagna with low fat ricotta or cottage cheese for added protein
          - beans/legumes - lentils, soybeans (edamame), chickpeas, black beans - tons of possibilities for salads & soups
          - rotisserie chicken - you can shred the meat & fold into pasta dishes, use it to top a salad, or serve the whole pieces with some quick vegetable sides
          - quesadillas or burritos with whole-grain tortillas (another place you can use the shredded chicken)
          - how about low-mercury fish that doesn't require any cooking? i'm thinking specifically of canned wild red salmon and sardines - there are a zillion ways to use them

          oh, and congratulations on the pregnancy!

          1. If you share the laundry list of things you can't stand, that might shortcut unnecessary posts. Also, are your husband and first child (age?) fairly good eaters?

            With all the great fresh produce available right now, I'd suggest salads, or at least mounds of tomatoes, augmented with a rotisserie chicken shredded up for anyone who wants meat. The chicken can morph into spaghetti with tomato-chicken sauce one night, chicken salad for sandwiches or with avocado slices on lettuce leaves another. Save the carcass in the freezer for down the road when you feel more like cooking for a base for soup or gravy.

            1. Sympathy comin' your way!

              What about risotto or other rice-based dishes once the weather cools down? Fairly quick, meatless but very satisfying, infinitely adaptable.

              Since you can handle grilled cheese, why not grilled ham and cheese, or grilled cheese and asparagus, or grilled cheese with a carton of store-bought tomato bisque and a salad?

              Pre-cooked meat is a great idea, as others have suggested, like rotisserie chicken. If you have a grill, maybe your husband could grill a dozen chicken breasts on the weekend that you can use during the week on salads and sandwiches, in pasta dishes, etc. Heck, grilled chicken on top of linguine with jarred spaghetti sauce would work.

              If you're ok with eggs, I couldn't agree more with the frittata/omelet suggestion. Baked eggs are hands-off too, and pancakes or waffles make a darn good breakfast-for-dinner. Make batter in the blender and it's lower-maintenance in case mixing up liquids does a number on your nausea.

              Good luck!

              1. I remember when I could only keep down watermelon, ginger ale and cheerios. It's hard to think of cooking.

                Everyone's got great suggestions. How about fried rice dishes? Can make it as bland as you like Also plain noodles that you can add flavorings to like sesame or parmesan. I remember eating a lot of baked potatoes, again, can add any flavor on top, depending on your mood. Good luck and hope that it abates by your 3rd trimester - mine finally stopped by the 2nd.

                1. Shepherd's salad
                  pasta with veggies and hummus
                  quinoa with veggies (zucchini, broccoli, bell peppers, etc)
                  cherry tomatoes, bell peppers, and tortilla chips with hummus
                  brown rice with black beans and veggies
                  lentil soup with greens and crackers

                  1. Unfortunately my husband can't cook. We're working (very slowly) on him learning a bit, but he's not much interested in food and intimidated by cooking. So he could probably make salad and chop veggies and make mac'n'cheese from a box. That's about it.

                    My son is 19 months and a pretty good eater, but not very useful in the kitchen yet. :)

                    I can't take a lot of garlic, most meat (especially chicken and ground beef), tomato-heavy sauces. I have troubled with lingering food odours in general. I can sometimes eat meat if we're out at a restaurant. I could probably eat cold roasted chicken if it was store bought- but, as I'm sure lots of you know, what I can and can't manage depends largely on how sick I'm feeling each day.

                    I don't eat fish, and my husband hates onions. You're not really supposed to eat luncheon meat, but I'm largely ignoring that. Ham sandwiches are easy.

                    Sigh.

                    All suggestions appreciated.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: lissar

                      Then please forgive my tuna casserole and salmon pattie suggestions--I hereby withdraw those ideas....but the veggie chili still stands as long as you omit onion...there are loads of recipes for meatless chilies out there and others here have suggested great ideas here for you! Hope you feel better...you WILL get through it!

                      1. re: lissar

                        You actually can do 1 serving of nitrate filled meat if you cook it before hand. Also you can buy roast turkey sandwich meat without the preservatives.

                      2. Hey there, I feel for you as I had morning sickness for the first trimester of my PG last year and it was really crap. I found that I could only handle plain food, so things like
                        - vegetable soup, minestrone soup
                        - baked potatoes, just with butter and herbs unless I felt up to something more
                        - pasta with a creamy sauce
                        - croissants (often plain, lol)
                        - fresh bread rolls
                        - snacky things like dried fruits, nuts, chips -- I found that nibbling a bit very often helped reduce the feelings of nausea a bit
                        Can you bear to have the things you prefer yourself and just let your husband buy take-away for himself? or cook a simple steak or something for himself and you just eat the veg or potato or whatever you can manage?

                        Hang in there, the 1st trimester was by far the worst in my experience, and feels like forever but once you're through it it gets a lot better, you will feel fantastic! All the best :)

                        1. I can totally relate! One *Great* tip I learned from my Eating Well When You're Expecting book is that with nauseousness do not just eat carbs like crackers as most women learn to do, but add a dairy, like cheese to the cracker. Something about the mixture of carbs and dairy is great for calming a queasy stomach. I don't know why ... and I had to force myself to eat cheese and crackers when I felt nauseous, but for some reason it almost always worked. I say definitely stick with the carb and dairy route.
                          Dinner idea:

                          Baby's Big Bite (this is a breakfast food but u can always do breakfast for dinner, just add some home fries or fresh fruit, and you have a meal)
                          1 Whole grain English muffin, split or 2 slices whole grain bread
                          1 tomato, sliced
                          2 slices Swiss cheese or cheddar cheese
                          1 large egg
                          1 T. milk
                          1 1/2 t. olive oil

                          1. toast English muffin
                          2. Place the muffin halves split side up on a microwave-safe plate and arrange half of tomato slices on each. Top each with slice of cheese. Microwave on high power until cheese is slightly melted, about 30 seconds.
                          3. Place the egg and milk in sm. bowl and whisk until well combined. Heat the olive oil in a small skillet over med. heat. Add egg mixture and stir gently until completely set.
                          4. Spoon scrambled egg on both muffin halves.
                          Your hubby could add some bacon, ham or sausage if he wants meat.
                          Recipe is from the book I mentioned above

                          idea 2:
                          Try adding some ginger (like 1-2 teaspoons) to whole wheat pancake batter for a good meal. Ginger is known for calming the queezies. You could also add some fruit ir berries to your batter, like blueberries, chopped banana, chopped apple etc...

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: DishDelish

                            1 other idea (something I did a lot during my pregnancy), is to utilize a crock pot. It is almost like not cooking if the recipe is easy enough. If you don't have one they are cheap, then go find a good cookbook ... or find some good recipes online. This is an especially great way to make delicious soups.

                            1. re: DishDelish

                              We're moving in a few weeks, and I'm going to see if I can plug my crockpot in outside- otherwise I don't think I could handle the smell of the cooking for four to eight hours. Blergh!

                            2. re: DishDelish

                              Combining carbs with protein is not a new idea, and is good for everyone, not just for nauseous people!

                              1. re: Phurstluv

                                Specifically carbs with dairy protein (not any protein) is good for *pregnancy* nauseousness (lissar said she has morning sickness). Normally if you had the flu (which you often feel like you have the flu when you are pregnant, even though you may not) you would *not* eat this way, which is why it was so hard for my mind to wrap around eating this way when I first read about it (I really didn't feel like I could eat anything because I felt like I would throw up), but as soon as I would eat my whole grain crackers and cheese I almost always would feel much better. I am well aware of the benefits of a well balanced carb/protein meal. If a person was really sick they might not be able to eat in balance though. Typically if a non-pregnant person felt like they were going to throw up they would not eat food to make it better. Pregnancy is so much different! =)

                            3. Congratulations!

                              I actually had an opposite issue, I am a vegetarian and craved meat in the first trimester. And I couldn't stand the sight of raw veggies/ salads. Then there was the heartburn in the third trimester... ugh! (All this is still pretty fresh in my memory) :)

                              I say, do what you need to and don't feel guilty about doing convenience meals or not eating super nutritious - listen to your body. How about canned black beans with salsa and corn in a tortilla. Or pasta w/ pesto. Or baked potatoes with broccoli and cheddar. Or just hummus and pita. Or roasted root veggies and goat cheese on bread. Or couscous (so fast) with whatever (maybe navy beans, basil, zucchini and feta.)

                              3 Replies
                                1. re: DishDelish

                                  Hehe, yes I did - only twice though. And much to the chagrin of my husband I craved buffalo chicken wings both times. (!?). He was hoping when I caved and ate meat it would be for some chowhoundish delight or expensive cut of steak. No sense arguing with the belly of a pregnant woman though! :)

                                  1. re: Jitterbug

                                    Ohhh that is so true lol. =) When I got a craving for something I wouldn't stop thinking/dreaming about it until I ate it. My first pregnany was the worst I think, I often craved french onion soup, horseraddish mashed potatoes ... and I kept seeing this commercial for KFC, and I just had to have the potatoes and gravy, and chicken. Luckily with my last pregnancy my cravings were usually much healthier. =)