If you follow my Instagram account you’ve seen my Sunday meal prep effort. Making or prepping food ahead is the only way to eating ‘healthyish’ in this household. Investing a couple of hours on the weekend shopping, cooking, and prepping ahead makes it much easier to eat well balanced meals during the week. And by well balanced meals I really mean less take-out and more homemade.
This week was a fail for me on the “homemade dinners” department. Too tired. Too lazy. Now I’m paying the price. I’m feeling it in my gut, pocket and conscience–there was a lot of guilt that came with last night’s take-out.
So to shake the crap out my tired and lazy self, I’m sharing some of my favorite dishes to make ahead.
Roasts are easy to throw together. You can roast a whole bird, juicy piece of pork or beef loin. Some potatoes and root veggies on the bottom and sides, meat on top, herbs+spices+liquid (lemon/orange juice, wine, beer…) and that’s as effortless as it gets in the homemade dinner business. Fridge to oven to table.
Lentils don’t need to be soaked and they cook quickly. Can be done on stovetop, slow cooker, and even pressure cook. It’s healthy. It’s filling. It taste even better the next day…and the following. It keeps for over one week in the fridge and It’s the perfect leftover for lunches. I like any kind of lentil but the Beluga is our family favorite. Cook it in chicken broth, crushed coriander+cumin+mustard seeds, bay leaf, onion and garlic. Serve with a scoop of steamed rice. I can eat this for days!
Lasagna! The best thing about lasagna is that you can make so many variations of the same dish. Of course we love the rich cheesy kind but I try to make healthy substitutions. My apologies to my true Italian friends but I like to alternate a layer of noodles with a layer of thin sweet potatoes, replace ricotta with cottage cheese, add spinach and other veggies to the sauce. Whatever the flavors are, lasagna is always a family pleaser and a favorite leftover for lunch too.
Stuffed bell peppers, eggplant, squashes…any chubby veggie goes. I’ve stuffed vegetables with couscous, quinoa, leftover rice, and even falafel mix. Think about a thanksgiving stuffing recipe but replace the bread part with some cooked grain and you have a ‘dealicious’ filling for any vegetable that can handle to get stuffed!
Roast vegetables and keep it in the fridge ready to side any protein or add to pastas and salads. My favorite combo is eggplant, bell peppers and zucchini. Dress it with plenty of olive oil, salt, pepper, a drizzle of balsamic vinegar and a couple of whole garlic cloves. 430F for 15 minutes. Not too mushy. Not too raw. Perfect!