Saturday, August 25, 2012

Cook Once, Eat Twice (or three or four times, even...)

Often, people think they just don't have time to eat healthier foods when the reality is, they just don't know what to do and when to do it.

Cook once for several meals.

It's not rocket science, it's just an exercise in planning ahead - even just a day or two, or even three.

In about an hour, you can roast some vegetables or cook a big pot of beans, and the only requirement is that you be close to the kitchen.

I call it hands-free cooking.

I'm a full-time college student, run my own business, work out regularly, play with my grandson AND manage to eat healthy meals that are centered around fresh vegetables. In fact, cooking my own meals from scratch is the EASIEST thing I do every day.

Most beans need to be soaked overnight to make for easier digestion. The next day, all you need to do is rinse and cook. Rinse again, drain completely and beans can be stored until ready to use (portions you won't use within a day or two can be frozen in canning jars). See my easy how-to here. Use them as the base for soups or toss them in salads, wraps and tacos.

Roast sweet potatoes, winter squash, eggplant, zucchini, pumpkin, peppers or any of your favorite vegetables (usually at 350-degrees for 40 - 60 minutes, or until desired softness) and store in refrigerator. When you're ready to prepare a meal these cold vegetables can be warmed and pureed into a soup (like this one), or chopped into a salad (like these). Pre-roasted veggies make great sandwich ingredients and pasta, quinoa or rice toppings, too.

If your oven is running for an hour, it doesn't matter if you've got one veggie or five, it still takes pretty much the same amount of time. If you're really pressed for time, stick them in the oven when you get up in the morning, set the timer, and take them out before you leave for work. Store in the fridge, and when you come home at the end of the day your dinner is nearly done. No excuses.

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