Busy Weeknights Lend Themselves to Quick and Healthy Meals!

Sorry followers of @siswithgoodtaste for not posting last week! I just started a new job a few weeks ago, so it has been busier than normal trying to get my bearing at a new place of employment! The good news is I really love the job, the organization and the people, so happy emojis all around!

That being said, sometimes we are all just too busy during the week to think about meal planning, shopping and then the actual execution of dinner. Since starting this new job, my husband and I have been trying to prep and get a few things made on the weekend to get started on the right foot for the week, but it has been tough with Casey going back to school and work, and me starting a new job, all in the same month!

I have always been a fan of the term “30-minute meal,” but this has become even more of a weekday staple when I get home from working later than anticipated, arriving to my kitchen tired, “hangry” and with little patience for long, complicated, recipes. My husband can attest to this, but the majority of recipes that usually catch my eye are picked for the week based on the ingredients first and steps second, which can be a challenge when the recipe is more complicated than it may seem. Because I usually work at a local farmers market on Sunday, I try to get ingredients at the market I can use during weekday meals, or can plan a meal around these fresh, in season items. Because of weekly time constraints with meal prep, there are a few tips and suggestions I can make for those also looking for reprieve from the workweek meal hustle:

  1. Read Recipes Fully Before Diving In – This may sound like it would be pretty well known by most, but I am a victim to this more so than I am not. Sometimes a recipe sounds really tasty on paper, but then I go all in –shopping for ingredients and prepping, before realizing the recipe itself is more complicated than I may have time for, or patience for that evening. Most recipes include information about cooking time, but also look closely at “prep” time AND “cooking” time and add these together, because something prep can take longer than the actual cooking process.
  2. Take Advantage of Prep Shortcuts – I am not always a proponent of this, but if you have extra in your “grocery fund,” take advantage of pre-cut veggies, such as onions, garlic, peppers, etc. to help reduce your prep time. Also, if you can, freeze fresh veggies that you or the store preps, so you can pull out and use, as needed for other recipes.
  3. Check Your Fridge and Pantry Before Planning/Shopping – Again, my husband would say that I am a victim of this. Before running to the store to pick up ingredients for the meal you are preparing, check the pantry and/or fridge to see what you already have and if there is something you can substitute or add to the recipe. For example, sometimes I get produce over the weekend at the farmers market or the store that need to be cooked sooner rather than later, so I try to find recipes that will incorporate those items.
  4. If there is time, double the recipe – If you have time during the week, double the recipe so you can have multiple days worth of meals. If appropriate, freeze for longer storage.

With less time and energy during the week to cook, I have found a few recipes more recently that have become my go-to, quick, healthy meals that take 30-minutes or less and, ideally, take less prep and don’t dirty as many pots and pans as other recipes.

If you are not following and making recipes by Minimalist Baker, you should be! This simplistic blog is devoted to simple cooking, with all recipes requiring 10 ingredients or less, 1 bowl, 1 pot or 30-minutes or less to prepare. Bingo to all for time-sensitive weekday cooking! Also, recipes are special-diet friendly, especially plant-based and gluten-free, which is helpful if you have dietary restrictions or food allergies.

Here is a recipe I saw on MB’s Instagram page and I prepared this recipe it last night and loved it! Check out this 1-pot recipe and other simple recipes on Minimalist Baker!

1-Pot Kale Sweet Potato Curry
(Adapted from Minimalist Baker, but pretty close to the original).

NOTE: I was drawn to this recipe, not just for the 1-pot, 30-minute promise, but also because both kale and sweet potatoes are fresh at my farmers market right now!

Prep time = 5 mins
Cook time = 25 mins
Total time = 30 mins

Ingredients

FOR CURRY

  • 1 1/2 Tbsp (22 g) coconut oil (or avocado or grape seed oil)
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 2 Tbsp (12 g) minced fresh ginger
  • 2 Tbsp minced garlic (12 g)
  • 1 Thai red chili (or serrano pepper), stem removed and thinly sliced with seeds
  • 3 Tbsp (60 g) red curry paste*
  • 1 large (or 2 small) sweet potato, skin removed + cubed
  • 2 14-ounce (414 ml) cans light coconut milk (sub full fat for extra creamy texture)
  • 1-2 Tbsp (15-30 g) maple syrup, plus more to taste
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • optional: sea salt to taste
  • optional: 1/4 cup (36 g) frozen green peas
  • 2 cups (134 g) chopped kale
  • optional: 1/2 cup (60 g) roasted cashews (lightly salted is best)
  • 1 lemon, juiced

FOR SERVING (optional)
Lemon wedges
Thai (or regular) basil, or fresh cilantro
Brown rice* or coconut quinoa
Steamed broccoli

Instructions

  • Heat a large pot over medium heat. Once hot, add coconut oil, shallot, ginger, garlic, and pepper. Sauté for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently.
  • Add red curry paste and sweet potato, stir, and cook for 2 minutes more.
Curry_1(Photo credit: Minimalist Baker)
  • Add coconut milk, maple syrup, turmeric, and a pinch of salt and stir. Bring to a simmer over medium heat.
  • Once simmering, add peas (optional) and slightly reduce heat. You want a simmer, not a boil, which should be around low to medium-low heat.
  • Cook for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, to soften the potato and peas and infuse them with curry flavor.
  • At this time, also taste and adjust the flavor of the broth as needed. I added more maple syrup for sweetness, sea salt for saltiness, and turmeric for a more intense curry flavor. You can also add more curry paste for more spice and intense curry flavor. Don’t be shy with seasonings – this curry should be very flavorful.
  • Once the broth is well seasoned and the potatoes are softened, add kale, cashews (optional) and lemon juice, and cover. Simmer for 3-4 minutes more over low to medium-low heat.
Curry_2(Photo credit: Minimalist Baker)
  • Serve over rice, quinoa, or steamed broccoli (broccoli and rice being my favorites). This dish gets elevated with the addition of more lemon juice and Thai or regular basil for serving.

IMG_0954

Notes
I could not find red curry paste at my grocery store, so I just used red curry powder and added some lemongrass paste. Also, for the rice base, feel free to use any type of rice or grain you like! Lentils would also be super nice with this!

Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1/4 of recipe without sides/toppings Calories: 385 Fat: 26.6 g Saturated fat: 17.1 g Carbohydrates: 35.1 g Sugar: 6.9 g Sodium: 660 mg Fiber: 3.5 g Protein: 8 g

Post by Sarah

 

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