March 19, 2012

5 tips that motivate dinner at home every night of the week

         With just a little planning up front, you can remove hours of stress from your week as well as gain control over what you will eat.  Believe me, it took a long time for me to get to this point; I used to marvel at people who planned ahead and cooked dinner at home every night instead of grabbing food on the go or just giving up and going out most nights of the week.   By getting in the habit of planning ahead, it has actually saved us time and hassle after work in the evenings.  
  1. On Sunday, brainstorm about what you will make each night of the week.  If you get a brain-block, grab a cook-book and pick out some recipes that sound good.
  2. Make a list that includes all ingredients you will need to prepare dinner each night.  I suggest planning on making extra servings each dinner that you can pack for lunch the next day.
  3. Grocery shop with your list to make sure you have everything you need for the week.
  4. Do any necessary prep (chop veggies, cook grains) that evening if you have time to help speed dinners later in the week.
  5. Store all your ingredients properly and base your menu on what needs to be used first (i.e. the avocado is very ripe, so let’s make tacos tomorrow but the eggplant will hold until Thursday). 

We tried a new recipe tonight; it was incredibly easy, especially since we had gone shopping the night before and had everything on hand.  It took me about 20 minutes to chop veggies and 20 minutes to bake them in the oven while the quinoa was cooking on the stove. 

Garlic Quinoa with Roasted Veggies
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled, cut lengthwise, then sliced
  • 1 eggplant, peeled, cut lengthwise, then cubed
  • 1 tomato, cut into thin wedges
  • 1 onion, cut into thin wedges
  • 1 bell pepper (of your favorite color), sliced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon sea-salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoon parsley
  • 2 cups veggie or chicken broth (plain water is ok, too in a pinch)
  1. Preheat oven to 450 F; spread chopped veggies on a foil-lined sheet, drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper and mix to coat evenly.  Bake ~30 minutes or until potatoes are soft.
  2.  When the veggies go in the oven, heat olive oil and garlic in a sauce-pan for 2-3 minutes.  Add quinoa, spices and broth.  Bring to a boil then reduce heat, cover, and simmer for ~20 minutes (until water is absorbed).  Check quinoa often and stir.
  3. Combine quinoa and veggies in a large bowl.  Enjoy! 

*Adapted from “Favorite Brand Name, Vegetarian 3 Books in 1”

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