Summer is nearly here. Even with a change in season, our lives remain busy. We try to fit as much in a day as possible. Many times that does not leave a lot of time for meal prep. There are shortcuts that can keep you on track to eat real food. Today we'll look at ways to save time and save money on homemade meals.
CLEAN AND CHOP FRESH ROOT VEGGIES
How many times have you bought gorgeous produce and end up throwing some out because it got buried in the fridge and forgotten. Chop your root veggies and store them in water. They'll last about 2 weeks. Ready to eat items will get eaten.
HONEY ROASTED ROOT VEGETABLE SALAD
Mix raw and cooked veggies in this salad.
1 pound medium beets, with 1 inch of the stem attached
1 pound carrots, peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
1 pound parsnips, peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
1 pound turnips, peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
3 tablespoons avocado oil
3 small white onions (about 3/4 pound), cut into 2-inch wedges
Salt and freshly ground pepper
3 tablespoons honey, warmed
1 tablespoon chopped sage leaves
4 ounces fresh goat cheese, at room temperature
1/4 cup minced fresh herbs, such as chives, tarragon and flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon minced herbs, such as chives, tarragon and flat-leaf parsley
Salt and freshly ground pepper
4 cups packed arugula leaves (from two 4-ounce bunches)
Preheat the oven to 400°. Tightly wrap the beets in a double layer of aluminum foil and roast them on the bottom shelf of the oven for 1 1/2 hours, or until they are tender when pierced with the tip of a knife.
When the beets are cool enough to handle, peel and cut them into 1-inch pieces.
Meanwhile, divide the carrots, parsnips and turnips between 2 large rimmed baking sheets. Toss the vegetables in each pan with 1 tablespoon of the avocado oil.
Arrange the onion wedges on the baking sheets, keeping them intact. Brush the onion wedges all over with the remaining 1 tablespoon of avocado oil.
Generously season the vegetables with salt and pepper. Roast the vegetables for 40 minutes.
Brush the vegetables with the warm honey and sprinkle with the sage.
Continue to roast the vegetables for 25 minutes longer, or until they are tender and glazed. Loosen the vegetables with a spatula and let them cool to room temperature in the pans.
In a small bowl, mix the goat cheese with the herbs and olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
In a small bowl, combine the olive oil with the vinegar, garlic and herbs; season with salt and pepper.
In a large bowl, toss the arugula with 1 tablespoon of the vinaigrette and arrange on plates.
Add the roasted vegetables to the bowl and toss with the remaining vinaigrette.
Top the arugula with the vegetables, dot each plate with small spoonfuls of the herbed goat cheese and serve. Make Ahead
Make ahead: The herbed goat cheese and the vinaigrette can be refrigerated overnight. Bring the goat cheese to room temperature before serving the salad. The vegetables can be roasted earlier in the day and kept at room temperature.
BOIL YOUR SWEET POTATOES
Chopping and boiling your sweet potatoes cooks the potato faster than roasting. Leave the skin on, boil, and you'll reduce the glycemic index by half.
GARLIC BUTTER SMASHED SWEET POTATOES
Try sweet potatoes with a little mix of salt from the parmesan cheese.
4 medium sweet potatoes (or 3 large sweet potatoes)*
3 tablespoons melted butter
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley
Kosher Salt and Black Pepper to taste
2 tablespoons Parmesan Cheese
Place sweet potatoes in a large pot of salted water. Bring to the boil; cook, covered for 20 -25 minutes or until just fork-tender. Drain well.
Lightly grease a large baking sheet or tray with cooking oil spray. Arrange sweet potatoes onto the sheet and use a fork to LIGHTLY flatten each piece (they will be soft, so try not to press too hard or they will end up breaking and mashed).
Mix together the butter, garlic and parsley. Pour the mixture over each sweet potato. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and lightly spray with olive oil spray.
Broil (or grill) until they are golden and crispy (about 15 minutes). Remove from oven, sprinkle over the parmesan cheese and return to the oven until the cheese is melted.
Season with a little extra salt and parsley, and serve immediately.
DOUBLE YOUR RECIPES AND USE YOUR LEFTOVERS
It makes sense to cook more than what you need for any given meal. That will guarantee leftovers. A simple reheat will save you time the next day. Soup is a good example.
CHICKEN TORTILLA-LESS SOUP
You don't need tortilla strips to enjoy this soup.
3 pounds chicken breasts, boneless, and skinless
3 tablespoons oil, your choice, divided
2 to 3 teaspoons of fajita or taco seasoning
1 large or 2 medium onions, diced
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 jalapeno peppers, diced
1 to 2 poblano peppers, diced
2 quarts chicken stock
1 (28-ounce) can fire roasted tomatoes or regular canned tomatoes
juice of 2 limes
1 cup cilantro, chopped
avocado, cubed and fresh cilantro, diced, to garnish
Preheat your oven to 375°F.
Place your chicken breasts in a large baking pan and pour 1 tablespoon of oil over all, coating well. Sprinkle your fajita seasoning over the chicken, coating well, and place in the oven.
Cook for about 30 to 45 minutes until cooked through and liquid from chicken runs clear. Remove the skin and bones from the chicken. Using two forks, shred the chicken.
Meanwhile, in a large dutch oven over medium heat, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil, and when hot, add the onions. Cook until onions are translucent, about 4 to 6 minutes.
Add the garlic and peppers and saute for about 1 to 2 minutes, until fragrant.
Pour in the chicken stock and fire roasted tomatoes and bring to a medium boil.
USE YOUR SLOW COOKER AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE
Low and slow is the best way to cook meat. Throw your choice cut of meat in the slow cooker in the morning and dinner will be ready when you get home.
SLOW COOKER CHICKEN TACOS
Try tacos in a new way. All you need with this recipe is the guac. Everything else will be ready when you get home.
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons oregano
1½ teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon black pepper
Salt, to taste
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 cup corn
1 can diced tomatoes, drained
1 large jalapeño, deseeded and diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 lime, juiced (about 2 tablespoons)
6 chicken thighs, boneless and skinless
In a small bowl, combine the cumin, oregano, paprika, chili powder, pepper, and salt, and stir to combine. Set aside.
Place the onion, corn, tomatoes, jalapeño, garlic, and lime juice in a large slow cooker.
Place the chicken thighs on top of the veggies and season with half of the taco seasoning. Turn the chicken over and season with the remaining taco seasoning before mixing the chicken and veggies together so that everything is well combined.
4. Cook on the high setting for 3 hours or the low setting for 6 hours, until the chicken is cooked through.
5. Remove the chicken and slice into small diced pieces, then place them back in the slow cooker. Give the chicken and veggies a good mix and replace the lid.
6. Cook the chicken mixture for another 10 minutes so the flavors can marry.
7. Using tongs or a slotted spoon, place the chicken taco mixture on corn tortillas and top with your choice of toppings
BUILD FROZEN SMOOTHIE BAGS
Placing all of your ingredients together in a freezer bag. it will save time in the morning. All you need to do is place the packet in your blender and mix.
1 cup spinach
1 cup mixed berries
2 oz. aronia juice
1/2 scoop whey protein powder
1 T collagen
1 T flax meal
1 T chia seeds
This is one of my favorites.
OTHER TIME & MONEY SAVERS:
Organic greens - Plastic boxes of organic greens can go back before you've had a chance to use all of it. Separate the fragile leaves into 3 piles. Place paper towels in between each layer as you replace the greens into the container. This will stretch the life of your good greens.
Cut your veggies before your meat. That way you don't have to clean the cutting surface before moving on to the next ingredient.
Don't think you'll use all of your nearly too ripe fruits and veggies? Freeze them for later use. You'll save food and money.
Buy herbs when they are in season. Chop and place them in ice cube trays with water & freeze. They'll be perfect for future soups, sautes and roasts.
Keep an inventory of your staples and then only buy what you need.
Here's to your health! Happy Cooking!