There is never enough time in the day to get everything done that needs doing. Often we find ourselves hungry at dinner time, and realize we haven’t done any prep, so the easiest thing is going to be a fatty plate of nachos or a quick omelette. By doing a little advance prep, you’ll be cooking healther meals in minutes.
Buying fresh vegetables and immediately stuffing them into the crisper of your fridge almost guarantees that they won’t be used before they turn into bags of furry goo. Cleaning and prepping your veggies as soon as you get home from the store means that you have healthy snacks ready to grab out of the fridge, and dinner is easier to throw together at the last minute.
2. Double Up
Double the amount of veggies in every recipe. So many older cookbooks and family recipes handed down for generations were developed when fresh veggies were harder to get year round, and expensive. The old food pyramid based our diet on grains and starch, but we’ve turned that upside down in recent years and our plates should reflect that with the veggies taking up the majority of the dish.
Try replacing some of your starches with a veggie. Cauliflower can pass for rice or mashed potatoes, zucchini or sweet potato noodles can replace pasta. I’ve even successfully fed my daughter pizza made with a cauliflower crust!
4. Stir Fry
Cooking in a wok uses very little oil and a meal can be thrown together very quickly. Chop up some onions, peppers, carrots, broccoli. Really, anything you have in the fridge. Just remember that some dense veggies like carrots will take longer to cook so cut them smaller. Slice chicken breast into strips or throw in shrimp when the veggies are nearly done. I usually use a small amount of sesame oil because I love the flavor. Toss in some fresh ginger, garlic and soy sauce. When I cook rice, I always make extra, so there is at least another meal’s worth stored in the fridge. You can reheat it covered in the microwave after adding a little water to create steam. Serve your stir fry over the rice.
I love to toss an assortment of vegetables in a little olive oil, balsamic vinegar and fresh herbs before broiling/roasting. Keep a close eye on them so they don’t burn and turn at least once during cooking. Prepare some couscous with chicken stock and toss with your roasted vegetables. Serve over lettuce and then add slices of goat cheese or crumbled feta.
To save cleanup time later, I always line my baking sheet or deep pan with parchment paper. To me there is no bigger downer after a relaxing dinner than being faced with a pile of pots and pans that need to be soaked and scrubbed.