As much as I love to cook, I don’t want to spend every night laboring over my meals. I am generally exhausted after a full day at work and after being trapped in an hour or more of traffic, I want to throw together a quick meal as soon as I get home. The problem is quick often equals take-out or some unhealthy frozen “fill-in-the-blank”.
So I’ve found a solution that works quite well. I try to find time during the weekend or on a Monday evening, in this case, and I go to town prepping lots of food so when I need a quick fix, I reach for healthy options as opposed to take-out or junk food.
My favorite way of preparing for the week is roasting a bunch of veggies and cooking up some protein (usually chicken breast).
For example, last night I started out with these goodies:
Zucchini, yellow squash, green pepper, red pepper, brussel sprouts, butternut squash and a red & yellow onion.
First, I preheated the oven to 450 and started with the brussel sprouts. I chopped of the ends, quartered the sprouts, tossed in olive oil, salt and pepper, and roasted for 30-45 minutes. I honestly don’t watch the time that closely. I just pull them out every 10 or 15 minutes, flip them over and give a good shake, and put back in. It all varies depending on the oven and how many you have on a pan.
Some people cringe at the thought of brussel sprouts, but I love them! And roasting is by far the best way to cook them. Delish!
While those were roasting away, I began the next pan of veggies. I chopped up a yellow onion, red pepper, and green pepper, seasoned with olive oil, salt and pepper, and threw on the bottom rack for about 10-15 minutes. During that time, I cut up a zucchini and yellow squash into bite size pieces to add to the peppers. I like to get the peppers and onions started since they cook a bit slower than the zucchini and yellow squash. After another 15-20 minutes, this pan was good to go!
The Christmas colors turned out to be an added bonus! 🙂
To conclude the veggies, I peeled a butternut squash with a standard vegetable peeler and diced into small cubes along with a red onion. I tossed this mixture in some coconut oil, salt and pepper. If you’ve never tried coconut oil, I HIGHLY recommend it! Lots of health benefits, google it 🙂
By the time I got finished cutting up the butternut squash, the other rounds were out of the oven so there was room. I roasted for roughly 45 minutes but again, just keep checking, stirring, flipping, shaking every 10-15 minutes until tender.
Meanwhile, I cooked up a batch of quinoa and pasta to have on hand throughout the week. I simmered the quinoa in chicken broth which makes it taste WAY better than in water. Again, if you’ve never had quinoa, TRY IT! It’s a great alternative to rice and has way more protein.
I didn’t end up prepping any chicken last night because I had leftover pork tenderloin from Saturday’s lunch (recipe to follow) which I need to work on finishing up! But normally, I use the George Foreman and cook at least 2 chicken breasts to add to lunches and dinners. It’s nice to have already cooked to throw into salads, sandwiches, quesadillas, pasta, etc.
Now that my fridge is full to the brim with lots of great choices, throwing together a quick lunch or dinner this week will be a cinch!