I am one of the lucky ones. I live with someone who treats me to fabulously yummy meals: breakfast, lunch and dinner. We eat mostly vegetarian, but sometimes fish or the occasional poultry or red meat are added, and sometimes strictly vegan; regardless, we eat with health in mind. We keep it local, mostly, and organic, mostly, and gluten free, mostly, but always delicious. Now don’t get me wrong, we often have little time to whip up mid-week gourmet dinners. We work full-time, arrive home dog-tired after long-days, and are hungry. So, we try to keep what might be the answer to what’s for dinner? on hand and simple to put together.
A quick salad of local greens with avocado, heirloom tomatoes and shaved parmigiana, makes a sumptuous side for a veggie burger topped with homemade mango chutney (made during more leisure weekend time). Even more amazing: we were eating within 30 minutes of getting home, and happily so.
Sometimes one of us gets home early enough to cook brown rice, but if not, we start with quinoa, which only takes 20 minutes, and mix that with left-over corn on the cob (cooked in it’s husk on the grill the previous night), mushrooms and kale with white beans to satisfy any one’s hunger. We often think through a few meals ahead, (like what to do with left-over corn), but just as often have a back up plan, like a few cans of beans in the cupboard to add a quick protein to the dish. We think about that, protein, as well as fat, and loads of fresh veggies. You have to know what will fuel you if you are going to stay active and healthy.
Speaking of canned beans, what’s a quicker meal than tacos? We keep a package or two of these wonderful all corn soft tortillas in the fridge, and warm them quickly on the cast iron skillet before filling them with what we can. Some nights we simply fill them with scrambled eggs and drizzle with flax oil. On this night we layer on black beans, diced tomatoes, shredded cheese, and sunflower shoots. A side of spring fiddle-heads, sauteed lightly in coconut oil complete this lightening fast, delicious supper.
There are often chickpeas on our menu. The dry beans are soaked for a day, then cooked up at night; afterwards we can store the bulk of them for a few days in the fridge, first to make hummus but also to add a handful to soups and stews throughout the week. Here the chick peas are mixed with potatoes and cauliflower and carrots and sweet potatoes and cooked in a simple vegetable broth (also always kept on hand for a fast meal). Some cool evenings we feel like like a warm meal, adding a dash of curry to the pot fulfills both speed and comfort.
For the fastest meals, the big fry pan is your friend. Fry up kale and onions and potatoes and mushrooms in a tablespoon of oil or ghee. Sprinkle some Herbamare for added zest onto your mixture. You can decide what protein to add to this dish. A frozen burger is fast, veggie or beef, but we often have tofu in the fridge, and after removing the excess liquid, this too cooks fast.
Really rushed? May I suggest a baked sweet potato with a topping of leftover quinoa, chopped kale and some of those chickpeas still in your fridge. Voila!
Cast iron pans are an easy way to make more flavor, especially before grilling season begins. By cutting a cauliflower into large, thick slices, you can create veggie steaks. A whole pan of mushrooms and onions and kale and carrot complete a colorful medley.
Once you do get your outdoor grill up and running, grill the cauliflower along with asparagus, and a nice thick piece of fresh fish.
Just because your cooking time is limited, you can still eat with flavor, filling a whole plate with tasty goodness. Do give any of these ideas a try, and of course, let me know how you fare. Bon appetit!