Dinner time has been unusually hectic the last couple of months. My oldest two children have many late afternoon and evening activities. Three nights out of the school week I arrive home at 6:50. I don’t have time to cook dinner, but I definitely don’t want my kids eating fast foods. I apply some of the principles of batch cooking to cook real food in bulk.
On Sunday evenings when I am cooking a nice sit down dinner, I cook extra vegetables to get us through the week.
I roasted or sautéed 4 lbs. of asparagus ( substituted olive oil for butter in this asparagus recipe), 2 heads of cauliflower ( made Roasted Cauliflower with Carrots and Roasted Cauliflower with Brussels Sprouts which is printed below), 2 heads of broccoli, 2 lbs. of Brussels sprouts, and 1 lb. of carrots. That equals 32 cups of cooked vegetables, which when combined with fresh greens, is enough veggies to get us through until I have time to prepare another nice dinner on Friday.
Since nutrients are lost when heated or cooked in liquids, the first time I cook the vegetables I cook them until they are just barely fork tender and in just enough olive oil to keep them from sticking to the pan. When I use the vegetables later in the week, I reheat just enough for that meal and only cook them until the are heated all the way through.
I also batch broil or barbecue 2 – 3 pounds of meat, cook a double batch of brown rice in the pressure cooker and prepare a large bowl of fresh mixed greens. This allows me to combine the various batch cooked dishes to quickly make a stir fry, a frittata, a salad, or soup. When altering recipes to use batch cooked ingredients, add the previously cooked ingredients at the last possible minute. They are already cooked, they just need to be reheated.
However, when we walk through the door a 6:50, I will admit to just loading up plates and heating them in the microwave to create a one minute meal. It is not my favorite way to cook dinner, but it is still much healthier than most of the convenience food that is available.
- 1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
- 1 pound Brussels sprouts, halved
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 1 teaspoon parsley
- pinch of salt
- dash or two of coarse ground pepper
- Spread the cauliflower florets and Brussels sprouts on a greased cookie sheet.
- Drizzle olive oil over the Brussels sprouts and cauliflower. Toss to thoroughly coat the veggies. Sprinkle the spices over the vegetables.
- Cook at 400 degrees for 30 minutes or until fork tender.
I am looking forward to mid May when our schedule will ease up and provide for more relaxing dinners! How do you speed up dinner on rushed evenings?