Recipe revelations: 8 ideas towards easy, plentiful eating

Not surprisingly, you are all amazing.

I have been inundated in the best possible way with recipes and food planning tips since my recipe plea. I needed ideas for easy meals that  produce a lot of food for leftovers or freezing. Boy did you deliver. Lo and behold, such recipes exist and I have you to thank for a week of much better eating around here. The first and most helpful piece of advice that I got from my friend C?

1) Do a huge shop every 2 weeks or so.

I think I’ve been teetering on the edge of this since J officially entered the ranks of 3 year olds who eat entire meals. I’m still living in the past, as is the destiny of parents everywhere, and clinging to the idea that I can still feed him off of my plate. This, sadly, is not true, since he can and does easily polish off 4 bananas in one sitting at just about any time of day. So last time I went to the store, I bought 2 dozen eggs, 2 tubs of yogurt–essentially twice the amount of the things that I’ve been buying for my entire adult life. The result: we have food in our refrigerator for longer than 5 minutes. And I feel less resentful when I open the fridge before bed, desperate for protein, and find that all appealing options have been scavenged by the two men in my life.

2) Stock up on ingredients for high-protein snacks.

I found this list of snack ideas in a moment of internet desperation. Protein-Shake_LG_604
Some of the stuff was pretty basic, but there were some good ones–I have been especially loving smoothie #13, and I like it best with almond butter.

3) Make lots and freeze.

  • From E: Black bean sweet potato burritos
  • From S and C and r: Make a lot of soup and freeze it. (This was a revelation, since I often do make a lot of soup, and then we all go on strike on day 3 and I find myself leaving little tubs of the stuff on our neighbors’ doorsteps.)

4) Make lots and eat for days.

  • From r: “Roasted vegetables! You just have to cut them up, drizzle in olive oil, season, and stick them in the oven. Turn half way through.”
  • Anna: “Cook a load of cous cous (soaked it veg stock so it tastes of something already), chop up ( nice and chunky) a red onion, pepper, fennel( essential in my opinion), courgette and roast for about 20 mins, then for the final 5 mins chuck in chopped chilli and garlic ( plenty of) cherry toms and crumbled feta. Mix with all roasted goodies with cous cous and mix together with a dressing consisting of olive oil, whole grain mustard, lemon juice and loads of seasoning. Eat it warm and fresh then stick it in the fridge and it makes good cold lunches for a few days. Yum yum pigs bum.”
  • From me! Lentil feta tabbouleh (I make at least a double recipe and it’s also great with quinoa instead of bulghur wheat)

5) Pick recipes that are easy to throw together quickly:

  • From Laura: “Tilapia filets cooked in a skillet with Frontera sauce for fish and served over rice. Grab some salad from a bulk mix, toss it with some olive oil and soy sauce and BOOM, dinner.”
  • and Laura again: Noodles with broccoli and white beans
  • From S: Bibimbap–its a traditional Korean dish.bibimbap10 “Make a big pot of rice and toss with sesame oil (& toasted sesame seeds are good). Saute protein (tofu, beef, chicken). Add veggies: greens, mushrooms, carrots in vinegar. Last minute, fry and egg and throw on top. Eat with soy and spicy sauce.”

6) From my dear friend MM: “Here’s my two cents on cooking ahead. CROCK POT!”

7) Prepare certain ingredients in advance to throw into future meals.

  • From Shanyn: “For example, make a big batch of your favorite grain on the weekend when you have the time and then you can morph that grain into several meals just by adding a protein and veggie/fruit.”
  • From S and J: Make a huge batch of beans or lentils to freeze or add to multiple meals all week.

8) Ask for help when you need it.

Putting out the call to all of you was the single most helpful thing I did to improve our food reality. It made me feel less alone, impressed with your resourcefulness and lovingly envious of the beautiful meals you feast on with the ones you love. It also reminded me that I do have recipes I love and ways that I tend to cook, and that sometimes I go into lock-down mode because there is simply too much going on. Having some compassion and understanding for that topped off with some very practical help from a bunch of kick ass people–well, that is a recipe we should all keep around.

6 thoughts on “Recipe revelations: 8 ideas towards easy, plentiful eating

  1. love your last sentence, you’re the best!!! about to start sunday morning co-cooking–one or two friends come over and we make tons of food to freeze–this a.m., the sweet potato burritos and chicken burritos. last sunday was kale, mushroom, egg, potato and cheese breakfast burritos and the apple cheddar scones from smitten kitchen, which we froze before baking and i pulled out of the freezer on tuesday night and had freshly baked scones on wednesday morning! the best is when i can get a non-cook friend to come hang and hold nina (ben takes s on sunday mornings). highly recommend for when #2 arrives, totally great way to catch up with a friend, get creative, and go home with tons of food.

  2. We buy lots of veggies like squash , eggplant , carrots , parsnips, avocados and tomatoes, and buy protein such as fish or steak or chicken on the way home from work (granted we live in Europe where markets are indeed on every street corner) anyway grill veggies with olive oil garlic or rosemary, make the fish or pan fry the steaks, everything takes max 45 minutes of which 40 is in the oven grilling. Heathy, tasty, easy.

  3. I just improved my own meal-making life recently w/ a meal planning dry-erase board that I posted in my kitchen. (http://www.meadorganizher.com/products/meal-planning/write-n-wipe-meal-center) Spending maybe 5 or 10 minutes on Sunday nights, I map out at least a couple of meals for the week. For recipe inspiration, I usually check my cabinets and fridge first to see if there is anything that needs to get used up. Just the simple act of writing down “veggie/tofu stir fry” in the spot for Tuesday dinner takes away so much stress. Then when Tuesday rolls around, I don’t spend a frantic 10 minutes trying to figure out what I can make for dinner before everyone starts crying!

    Another life saver for me is a produce delivery service. Once a week I get a box of fruits & veggies dropped off on my doorstep (they do other groceries too). It costs a little more than doing the shopping myself, but the savings in junk I’m not impulse buying at the store + not having to go to the store myself so often is huge.

    And YES use the crockpot!!!

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