I previously sang the praises of spiral vegetable slicers when I bought my SpiraLife. I upgraded to the fancier model but still love my trusty hand-held.
My latest experiment involves sweet potatoes. I peeled a Beauregard (grown locally) and combined its noodles with one zucchini, also spiral-cut, and steamed over low heat for about ten minutes.
I added salt and pepper, and then tossed the “noodles” with a dressing I made from 1 Tablespoon soy sauce, one clove garlic, and a pinch of Chinese Five Spice seasoning. I topped it off with chopped fresh cilantro. Delicious!
You can change up your vegetables by mixing up the combinations and/or dressings or sauces. What a fun way to be sure you’re eating your vegetables. Enjoy!
As warm weather returns, so do the salads. A delicious salad topped with protein (boiled egg, grilled chicken meat, cheese) makes a filling meal that doesn’t heat up the kitchen. But salads are time consuming to make. Here are my shortcuts for hasty tasty salads.
- Chop, wash, and spin a big bowl of your greens. I usually buy Romaine because it keeps longer than other varieties of lettuce, but buy what you like.
- Make carrot ribbons from 2 carrots using a spiral vegetable slicer or a peeler. Toss with the greens.
- Chop 3 ribs of celery and mix with the lettuce and carrot ribbons. Seal and refrigerate.
- Boil 5-6 eggs, peel, and refrigerate.
- Cook 2-3 chicken breasts (I use the pressure cooker, but use whatever method works for you), chop, and store in a sealed container. Refrigerate. Or keep deli meats handy in the refrigerator.Your choice.
- Make a cruet of your favorite homemade dressing. I prefer a simple vinaigrette, but even mixing up a Good Seasons mix is better than buying a bottled brand because you choose your ingredients. Refrigerate.
- Grate a wedge of your favorite hard cheese (I like Parmesan) and store in the fridge.Already shredded cheese is fine, but freshly grated has better flavor.
- Wash several tomatoes and store in a basket in a cool, dry place in your kitchen. Do not refrigerate unless tomatoes get too ripe.
- Congratulations! You now have the makings of at least 5 chef salads you can pull together within minutes.
This is my salad, but you may use any variety of ingredients in yours. The secret to hasty tasty salad meals is advance preparation. Assembling the prepped ingredients into a tasty salad takes mere minutes. Enjoy!
(No, no, no. This isn’t a post about passing around a marijuana joint. This is a food blog, remember? LOL)
When preparing your dinner, especially a large meal for entertaining, minimize your clean up by cooking foods with similar cooking times together. For instance, I often steam broccoli in the skillet with my salmon fillet.
The key is similar cooking time. You can control cooking time by the sizes of your food. For instance, a whole potato takes much longer to cook through than a diced potato.
Today I served green beans and carrots as my two sides. I prepped the green beans and placed them in the bottom of my pressure cooker pot, along with the recommended amount of water. Then I added my rack and basket. I keep my carrots above the liquid yet in the same pot. (I season each vegetable separately)
After bringing my pressure cooker to pressure, I timed for eight minutes, quick-released the pressure, and served. (Cooking time varies depending on your pressure cooker. Mine is 10 psi. Some are 15 psi.) If you don’t use a pressure cooker, you can still share the pot. Just triple your cooking time.
One pot to wash, two vegetables to serve.
Some of my fondest memories of my father are of our runs together. One day, a couple of years before he died, we stopped near the end of our run at a neighborhood produce stand. Dad bought an assortment of fresh vegetables grown right there in the man’s backyard. I promised to cook whatever he bought. He spent about six bucks, total, and my family sat and ate as if it was Thanksgiving dinner.
We love vegetables, especially locally grown, fresh produce. Our favorite summer dinner is a fresh-from-the-garden vegetable plate. If you haven’t taken advantage of the produce grown in your area, now is the time to indulge.
Don’t restrict your menu. Plan your meals around what looks good and fresh, even if you have two or three green veggies. Corn on the cob, Squash, potatoes, beans, broccoli, tomatoes…it’s all better when fresh-picked. Steam, grill, roast, sauté, or all the above. It’s healthy, tasty, and good for the local economy.
KITCHEN TIP: Add a little bit of butter for flavor. A tiny amount goes a long way. I freeze butter and use a hand grater to add it to cooked vegetables. Isn’t that a grate idea? 😉
Green beans, roasted potatoes, and vegetable medley with a whole wheat roll.
Grate cold butter for easier seasoning.
Filed under cooking, corn on the cob, Green Beans, Healthful Eating, onions, Quesadillas, Roasted Vegetables, Salads, spinach, tomatoes, Vegetables