However, if foods can be prepped over the weekend and ready to go, throwing something together quickly during the week is a breeze. It just takes a little planning ahead. I know I have suggested this before, but it's worth repeating....get your grocery shopping done....check out recipes you might like to try, or just simply come up with your own concoctions...but make a list. Bring the groceries home...wash the vegetables, chop them up and put them in ziplock bags. Make a big batch of brown rice or beans, divide them up in ziplock bags and throw them in the freezer. When the food is prepped, you can get a really healthy dinner on the table in a matter of minutes! Just saute some vegetables in vegetable broth with any kind of seasonings or herbs, put them on top of some brown rice, quinoa, couscous or mix them in with some beans...serve with a big green salad, (throw some lettuce in a big bowl, use your chopped up vegetables already prepared), and dinner is complete.
Now that we are in full swing of summer, there are farmer's markets and road side stands everywhere selling all kinds of fresh vegetables and fruits. Take advantage of this while we have it!!
I know there are people that just do not like to cook...they hate being in the kitchen for any length of time, so I have EASY solutions for anyone in this category. Here are the SIMPLEST recipes I've found that will take you about 5-15 minutes to get on the table....less time than it would take to wait in line at some fast-food place where you will spend your money for something that isn't even REAL FOOD!
The following recipes are from Jeff Novick who is a registered dietitian and follows a Whole Food Plant Based diet. He uses 5 basic ingredients and makes different meals out of them. Very simple and quick.
5 Basic Ingredients:
- Canned tomatoes, (whole and or pureed, low sodium) 28 oz. can
- Canned beans, (no salt added) 14 oz.
- Frozen vegetables, (no added seasonings or sauces)
- A starchy vegetable (potatoes, sweet potatoes, brown rice, barley, etc.)
- Spices and seasonings
Just by changing the type of beans, vegetables and spices, you can come up with different meals using the same 5 basic ingredients. By using low sodium ingredients, there is not much salt in your dishes.
DISH 1: Curried Indian Potato Stew
- 2 cans whole tomatoes
- 1-2 cans of garbanzo beans
- Frozen cauliflower, peas and onions
- 2 large potatoes
- Salt free curry spice mix
Microwave the potatoes. While they are zapping, put all the other ingredients in a large pot and start to heat. When the potatoes are done, cut them up in to 1 inch chunks and throw in the pot. Simmer for 5 minutes and serve. Sprinkle cilantro on top if desired.
DISH 2: Mexican Beans and Rice
- 2 cans of whole tomatoes, (or 1 whole and 1 pureed)
- 1 can of pinto beans and 1 can of black beans
- Frozen pepper, onion and corn mix
- Success quick cooking brown rice (in a bag)
- Mexican spice mix or hot sauce
Cook brown rice. While rice is cooking, add all other ingredients to a pot and heat. When rice is done, place in a bowl and add the vegetables and spice mix and or hot sauce. Sprinkle with cilantro and enjoy!
DISH 3: Italian Pasta Primavera
- 1 can of whole tomatoes, 1 can of tomato puree
- 2 cans of dark red kidney beans
- Frozen broccoli, cauliflower and carrots
- Whole grain pasta
- Italian seasonings
Cook pasta. While pasta is cooking, place all other ingredients in a pot and heat. When the pasta is done, mix everything together and sprinkle with basil or parsley. Enjoy!
DISH 4: Longevity Soup
- 1 can of whole tomatoes, 1 can of puree
- Your favorite beans, (garbanzo, kidney, small red, etc.)
- 1-2 pounds of your favorite frozen vegetables and frozen collard greens
- Your favorite starch (potatoes, sweet potatoes, rice, barley, etc.)
- Your favorite seasoning, (garlic, onions, ginger, etc.)
Add tomatoes to a large pot and add in 2-28 cans of water. Add all other ingredients, bring to a boil and then simmer for about 15 minutes. Serve with a salad and dinner is done!!
DISH 5: New Orleans Jambalaya
- 2-28 oz cans whole tomatoes
- 2 cans, 14 oz, of red beans or kidney beans
- 2 lbs of frozen vegetables, (zucchini, corn, carrots, yellow squash)
- Success quick cooking brown rice, (1 large bag)
- Spice mix
Cook brown rice. While rice is cooking, add tomatoes and veggies to a large pot. Add in 4 cloves of diced garlic, 1 bay leaf, 1/2 teaspoon of thyme, 4 tsp of paprika, 1/4 to 1/2 tsp of cayenne pepper and heat. When rice is done, place in a bowl and serve tomato vegetable mixture on top.
Remember, there are no rules....you can substitute for whatever you may have on hand at the time. The main thing is, these dishes are easy, quick and so much better for you than eating fast food on the run. The preparation is simple and really does not take more than 15 minutes to get on the table.
It really does not get any easier than this.....