Wednesday, November 9, 2011

I'm Back! Quick and Easy Meals

I'm back! It's been a really hectic week and I couldn't find much time to post, but I was inspired about a new idea. What are some real foods you can make on a busy weeknight? When you haven't been to the grocery store?

Usually on Saturdays I make a meal plan for the entire week. I try to block out about four dinners and then buy the groceries needed for the week. Since there aren't any grocery stores near my apartment this is really important- I can't just quickly run out to the store for something. I didn't do this last week! So I was just working with what I had on hand. 

1, 2, 3 Pasta
  1. Boil up a pot of pasta. 
  2. Drain and drizzle with olive oil. 
  3. Toss in whatever veggies and beans you have on hand.  

Super easy. All real foods. Our pasta had diced tomatoes, frozen peas, frozen spinach, great northern beans and diced tomatoes. Spinach is one of my new favorite freezer items. You can buy a big bag of it for pretty cheap and then just stir into dishes such as  pasta, grains (quinoa, rice, couscous) or soup at the end of cooking for some extra Vitamin A and iron.  I also minced some garlic and tossed that in a large pot with olive oil. Then added the veggies and when the pasta was cooked I just threw the pasta in with the vegetables. Make a huge batch because it tastes really great for lunch the next day after all the flavors have soaked in. 

Stacked Eggplant with Sides
  1. Slice eggplant.
  2. Assemble breading line- whole wheat flour, eggs, whole wheat breadcrumbs.
  3. Run eggplant through the line.
  4. Cook in a frying pan with a little olive oil on medium heat for about 2 minutes on each side. Finish in oven at 350F for about 15 minutes.
These get super crispy! I use homemade bread for my breadcrumbs. I keep some slices of bread in the freezer and just defrost and pop in the toaster when I need them. Then blend in a food processor for crumbs. I try to make a whole bunch at once and keep some crumbs ready to go in the freezer. Then season and you're good to go (I used dried basil, oregano and parsley with a little salt and pepper). I LOVE eggplant. Sometimes when Brian's not home I actually make this for an entire meal... but we did have some sides!

No eggplant? Substitute summer squash or zucchini!

Spaghetti Squash
  1. Slice squash in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds. (Consider baking them like Pumpkin Seeds!)
  2. Roast halves face-down on a greased baking sheet for 35 minutes at 400F.
  3. Scoop out insides and saute with olive oil, salt and pepper. Finish with ½ tablespoon of butter.

Not a great pic, but you can see that it really does look like spaghetti on the upper left side. I was intimidated by spaghetti squash for a long time, but after first trying it a few weeks ago I have bought it every week since!

We had quinoa on the side too. Just add 1 cup quinoa and 2 cups vegetable stock to a pot. Bring to boil and reduce to a simmer until sprouted. Stir in chick peas.

More to come tomorrow!

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