Dinner on the Road

Myrna Chartrand : Myrna was born and raised in Oak Point, Manitoba.
Posted By Myrna Chartrand : Myrna was born and raised in Oak Point, Manitoba. On 2024-05-18 20:16:11

As per usual, at least once a year, I get on a health kick where I try to eat better and exercise with the goal of losing weight. I do great for a few months, then I get tired and frustrated and give up because, honestly, it takes a lot of effort….big surprise, I know!! I tried to think about why I always give up and I think it's because I get bored of eating the same old foods, day in and day out. I'm not a cook because I honestly don't enjoy it. Therefore, I end up picking at foods or eating many processed foods. This go round, I decided to try to prepare actual meals instead of just grazing at the fridge. I've got a smaller air fryer, a microwave, a mini grill, and a waffle maker in the truck. I figured surely I should be able to put some great meals together. So, I went to TikTok and searched for high-protein, low-calorie meals. I saved a bunch in my favourites that I thought I would like to try and that were simple to make with simple ingredients.

The next step was to put a shopping list together. I went back to watch all my saved videos and wrote down all the ingredients I needed. This included all the fresh produce, spices, sauces, rice or noodles and meat. I tried to find some already-cooked options to have in the freezer. Handling raw chicken or beef in the truck isn't ideal because I'm worried about contamination. I have a nice-sized closet in the truck with sliding drawers inside and pockets built into the doors. I was able to organize my spices and condiments in there for easy access. I also bought some containers that have separate compartments. I figured I could make some meals in advance. That way, it's grab-and-go, and there is no excuse for fast food. The sectioned containers also help control portion sizes and track macros, which I don't necessarily focus too much on. Macros are your protein, fats and carbohydrates per meal. I'm trying to up my protein intake as that's what I find keeps me fuller longer.

Some people may think that the fact that many truckers are now eating in their trucks is the reason that many truck stop restaurants have closed down. I agree, but I often don't have time to stop and have a sit-down meal. It seemed after COVID, they could never find anyone to work the late shifts, so restaurants weren't open late anymore to stop at the end of the day. If I eat at a restaurant, I always tend to overeat and choose the greasy options. Therefore, staying away from that temptation is a better option for me.

If you think that eating greasy truck-stop pizza wreaks havoc on your bowels, try changing your diet to include healthier items with far more fibre values. It's like a shock to your system! Your insides are screaming, "What's all this leafy greens, fruits and nuts doing here?? Get out!!!" Thankfully, this appears to only last for the first few days.

I thought I would share my recipe ideas on my take on cooking in the truck in case anyone would also like to give it a go. I'm not a chef by any means, and I'm basically just following Tik Tok videos, but I can definitely give my recommendations on what worked and how to do it. I'm sure the possibilities are endless with all the different flavour combinations.

This is a good time to tell a little story about seasonings. This week, I went to do a pickup at a customer in Chicago, and when I called for directions, the guy was brutally honest - very pleasant - but honest. Before calling, I checked Google maps and knew it would not be an easy area to navigate. The fellow on the phone told me he could not give me directions because he didn't know how I could get there without hitting a low bridge. Wonderful, just wonderful!! He told me he is highly inconvenienced by trucks constantly hitting low bridges, adding, "No offence to you." None taken, sir!! I would also like to add that I've never owned a truck GPS in my 14.5 years of trucking and haven't hit a bridge yet. That GPS may have come in handy in this situation but I took it upon myself to street view the entire area to see what streets didn't have low bridges. I finally came up with a plan and proceeded to the customer. They had enough room to pull in when I got there, but getting turned around would be tedious. A fellow came out to spot me while I wiggled my way around in there. Finally, I was facing the way out, and they loaded two skids on the back as they didn't have a dock. I secured the skids, signed the paperwork, and they told me they had never had a 53-foot tractor/trailer combo in there before. I was also the first female to pick up or deliver there. The company is called Char Crust Dry-Rub Seasonings, and they gave me a couple of boxes to try. This fits in so well with my newfound cooking adventure. I can't wait to give them a try!

The recipe I want to share today is for a Chicken Mozzarella Spaghetti Squash. I'm sharing how I prepared it, but you can alter it as needed.

Cut spaghetti squash in half. Spray with avocado oil and season with salt and pepper. Place face up in a microwave-safe dish and cook for 10 to 15 mins, checking it at 10 mins. It took 15 minutes of cooking before I could make the spaghetti strands with my fork.

Once cooked, I set it aside and air-fried some chicken. I used a low-carb breaded chicken from the freezer section. I air-fried it at 400 degrees for 18 minutes. Then I added it to my spaghetti squash, poured in some pasta sauce and mixed it up. I mixed it all right in the spaghetti squash, then topped it with mozzarella cheese. I popped it back in the microwave for three more minutes until the cheese melted. I then topped it with some green onions and Bon Appétit!

I cooked the other half of the spaghetti squash and pulled the strands out into a container so that I had a fast start to my next day's dinner.

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