Want to eat healthier but you can hear the convenience of the drive-thru beckoning on your way home? I get it, that struggle is real! You’ve had a long day and you know that there’s more obligations and responsibilities waiting for you when you enter that door…school work, laundry, dishes, bath time, etc. That drive-thru sure would make the evening go a lot smoother…but that’s a slippery slope, one that if you’re not careful will drain you physically and financially. Thus, in an effort to limit takeout, stick to a food budget, get more veggies in your family’s diet, and ultimately feel better here are 3 easy recipes that you can prep in advance.
What you need: basically any veggies you have on hand will work, the idea is to make the dish heavy on the veggies & light on the pasta. I used broccoli, bell peppers, 1/2 onion, some cauliflower I had leftover, can of diced tomatoes, & fresh tomatoes. Eggplant is also another fabulous veggie to add! You will need a box of your favorite pasta, basil or Italian seasoning, garlic, pasta sauce (not in pic), & a little fresh basil to add at the end.
To prep in advance: I like to use a Ziplock bag & sharpie to help prep my meals…it’s extremely user-friendly, simply write the ingredients that you need to prep in advance. For pasta night I needed to wash and cut veggies into bite sizes. Placed in Ziplock bag, made certain I wrote pasta night on the can of diced tomatoes & pasta box so neither was used for another meal.
Day of the meal: put foil on roasting pan, preheat oven to 400, open bag, dump veggies on pan, & roast veggies for 25 minutes.
Remove, place veggies in large pan on range at low-medium heat. Add can of tomatoes, basil/Italian seasoning, pasta sauce and cook with lid on for 10 minutes stirring every few minutes. Meanwhile boil pasta. When pasta is done add it to pan with the veggies, stir, remove and place in 13×9 Pyrex (or whatever dish you have on hand), stir in fresh basil, & enjoy!
Sweet Potato, Chickpea, & Coconut Curry
What you need: cauliflower, 2 sweet potatoes, 1 onion, 3 garlic cloves, fresh ginger if possible or 2 teaspoons ginger seasoning, can diced tomatoes, can chickpeas, can of coconut milk, 2 teaspoons curry seasoning, turmeric, cinnamon, & chili powder. Cilantro & lime (optional)
To prep in advance: clean & cut cauliflower, sweet potatoes, & onion into bit sizes and place in ziplock bag. Label cans for curry night so that they don’t get used for anything else. Place ziplock bag in fridge.
Day of the meal: take bag of veggies out of fridge and place veggies on foil covered sheet pan, roast at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Remove from oven & place in a deep pan on top of the range at medium heat. Add diced tomatoes, chickpeas, coconut milk, garlic, ginger & seasonings. Cook for 1/2 hour stirring occasionally. While it’s cooking make brown rice.
Taste…add more seasoning if you wish, depends how you like it & who you are cooking for, children don’t like it too spicy. You can always leave seasonings on the table for people to add to their individual dish. Place rice in bowls, add cauliflower, sweet potato, & coconut curry on top of rice and garnish with cilantro & lime (optional) and enjoy!
What you need: broccoli, carrots, green beans, red and orange bell peppers, 1/3 of an onion, brown rice, rice noodles, pineapple (optional), bottle of favorite stir-fry sauce. (Chosen Foods, in the organic section at Kroger has some delicious options)
To prep in advance: clean all veggies, cut broccoli into bite sized pieces, slice peppers lengthwise, & dice onion. Place all veggies in ziplock bag.
Day of meal: remove veggies and place in a deep pan on top of range at medium heat. Add preferred sauce and cook for roughly 25 minutes, until veggies are tender. If you are including pineapple, clean & slice it, place on grate on top of a sheet pan, roast at 450 for 15/20 minutes. Cook rice and/or rice noodles. Serve & enjoy!
Bonus: here are some snacks you can prep in advance….
Do you have a fave veggie dish you make during the week?