Last week I had a few hours to throw together a few quick meals to keep the family alive while I was away at work. I have been trying to be resourceful and use the things I have on hand. This has been paying off by saving money on my weekly grocery trips. Instead of creating extensive grocery lists, I am able to pull the majority of my meals from what I have in the freezer or pantry. At some point I will have to re-stock my pantry but I have realized that cup runneth over, meaning I’m a bit of a hoarder and I am a sucker for the “Buy 10 for $10” deals. It’s time to decrease the over head and use what I actually have on hand.
I threw together these meals in just a couple of hours. One benefit to batch cooking is there are less dishes- I have an awesome set of Emeril cookware that my Aunt and Uncle gave me years ago. I can fix all of these meals and only have one sink of dishes to wash, as opposed to washing them every single night I would need to cook. Of course the most obvious benefit is that I only spend time cooking one afternoon out of five.
This weeks meals were delicious, fast, and easy! I started with Gazpacho from Happy Herbivore Abroad. I have never had Gazpacho before so I have nothing to compare it to. Mine didn’t turn out to look the same as in her cookbook, but it was still pretty looking. It didn’t seem to be a huge hit at my house, but I would definitely make it again before I would write it off for good. (One of my favorite mottos is “Try Everything Twice”). You can check out the recipe along with a few others from HAA here.
Who says you can’t use a boxed meal in a pinch? I don’t use many of these boxed meals anymore, but it is a quick meal if you are short on time. Everyone in my house loved this one. I opened a can of water-chestnuts & I threw in some frozen veggies, including the left over mushroom stems from a previous recipe. This was super tasty and really fast. (If you read my last meal post, you will see that we like Pad Thai! I have fun trying different recipes.)
I had some left over rice from another Happy Herbivore recipe stored in the freezer. I thawed it, mixed in corn, black beans, and diced tomatoes and Wah-lah! Dinner is served. This took no more than 8 minutes to throw together. It’s versatile too; eat it plain, throw it in a tortilla, or stuff it in a wrap.
I keep a few packs of whole wheat tortillas in the freezer so all I needed to do was thaw it out, wrap up some beans and rice and cover it with enchilada sauce. I have several recipes to make enchilada sauce from scratch, and it definitely tastes better homemade, but this isn’t always feasible. I covered the dish and left a note for the S.O. to cover it with the sauce and bake it until it was heated through. Add a side of the Smorgasbord Rice pictured above and you have an easy meal!
This was inspired by one of the weekly meal plans from Happy Herbivore. I opened a can of white beans and smashed them up. Had I had an avocado on hand I would have smashed that in as well. I spread it on the whole wheat tortilla and topped it with some veggie goodness. This makes me hungry just looking at it! (I do not really care much for cans of veggies and beans. I would rather buy bos of frozen veggies and make my own beans to freeze. There are some beans though, that I don’t use often enough to make a big batch. I keep several cans of these beans on hand.)
THIS skillet was a little taste of heaven. Last week I was in the middle of a busy shift at work- which means no time for breakfast, lunch… or dinner. We finally swung into the cafeteria at the hospital we had transported to and low and behold, there was an amazing aroma coming from their pasta station. Sadly- even in hospital cafeterias it is not easy to find vegan food options, so this came as a pleasant surprise. This meal was my attempt to duplicate the pasta chef’s creation. I need to keep working on this dish, as I didn’t quite get the seasoning the same, but it was still pretty good. I used a whole wheat pasta and I added in corn, tomatoes. celery, chick peas, onions. I used garlic and lemon juice as my base and added a few other spices to it. I think the big difference was that I used dried spices and the pasta bar chef used fresh spices and lots of olive oil.
While I was cooking I treated myself to a green smoothie in my Vitamix. YUM.
Any ideas on some quick, healthy meals?
Happy, Healthy Eating!