Let's Get Cooking!
Here it is! One week's worth of meals - prepared in 6 hours!
Welcome to "part 3" of bulk cooking. In case you missed them, here are links to part 1 and part 2. Admittedly, this cooking session went a little long. But, in my defense, I kept stopping every few minutes as my 13 year old sidekick, had a blast attractively displaying the food at various stages and snapping photos for this post. Thanks to my son, Daniel, for his assistance in all of my cooking adventures!
First, a confession: I eat a whole foods, plant based diet - which is a fancy way of saying that I am a vegan who doesn't eat processed foods. If it's a whole food, grows in the ground, on a stalk, or on a tree, then I probably eat it. If it came from a factory, it probably doesn't reach my plate very often. So if, like most Americans, and you are trying to put more veggies and fiber on your plate, then I'm your girl!
Let's go over some tips and then take a look at this week's menu. I deliberately selected recipes that are family favorites! They resemble traditional American fare, but have zero cholesterol, a ton of fiber, are nutrient dense, low-fat, low-sugar, and low-salt. As an added bonus, they look and taste fantastic! These have been certified as "outstanding" by my four sons, ranging in age from 20 - 9.
TIP: We eat with all five senses! When I plan my menu, I try to think in terms of aroma, taste, texture, and color. I vary all of these throughout the week. No one wants to eat a plateful of food that is the same color or texture! Seriously!
TIP: Eat the rainbow. When you put all your ingredients out on the counter, you should see as many colors as possible. For a simple guide to help you in this quest, check out Dr. Don Colbert's "Eat This and Live." I love this book! It's so easy to use and is divided into sections according to the colors of foods. Want to know what is so fantastic about deep purple or blue foods? Turn to the purple section of the book and find out. The colors show up as bands of color at the edge of the pages. So, you can look at the outside edge of the book and turn to the purple section very easily.
TIP: Plan recipes with versatility in mind. For instance, smoky black bean filling can top a baked potato or be rolled in a tortilla. But, It can also be topped with a dollop of spicy garbanzo bean spread and then sprinkled with chopped green onions, red peppers, and sweet onions. Then you can scoop it onto tortilla or corn chips and enjoy! Many recipes can be used in multiple ways and for multiple meals.
TIP: Plan a weekly hot stuffed baked potato night! Roast some plain, large baking potatoes and sweet potatoes. Set out any leftover veggies, beans, rice, casseroles, bean burgers, or chili that you have in the house. Most leftovers are really good on top of potatoes! Think outside the box. Pineapple, salsa, stir fried veggies, and hummus are all fantastic on top of a potato! My boys like to top sweet potatoes with pineapple chunks, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, raisins, and walnuts. No sugar. Really sweet potatoes are just that ... sweet. A potato night is a GREAT way to keep everybody happy!
TIP: Look in the middle of the tray in the photo at the right. The bulbous end of a butternut squash makes a fantastic natural bowl! So do acorn squash! Cut, in half. Scoop out the seeds and roast at 400 degrees on the same tray as your sweet and white potatoes. Fill them with brown rice pilaf or wild rice. Add a sprinkling of cinnamon for an autumn treat!
Your finished dish will look like this!
This Week's Menu with Links and photos:
1. Garbanzo Bean Soup
2. Everything Minstrone - I make a pot every week and put in whatever veggies I have in the fridge. It's a great way to use up "bits and pieces".
4. Ginger Butternut squash soup
1. Sweet and smoky barbeque lentil sandwiches
2. Cabbage Roll Casserole
3. Black Bean and sweet potato quesidillas
4. Tuscon Spicy Lentil Tacos
5. Mexican Chili burgers
6. Hot stuffed baked potato bar
1. Ginger-Lime Coleslaw
2. Vegan Potato Salad:
TIP: Mix a generous squeeze of dijon mustard into some spicy garbanzo spread and then thin with a little plant-based milk. It becomes the perfect base for vegan potato salad. I give you my word! Not a bit of cholesterol and it looks and tastes like traditional mustard-based potato salad! You'll find the recipe for the spicy garbanzo spread here.
3. Creole Green Beans
4. Spicy garbanzo spread