We all lead busy lives. This time of year gets especially hectic. And even if you are not too busy to cook, do you really feel like cooking every meal? I’m guessing no. I love to cook and even I don’t feel like making the mess on a daily basis!
I eat a lot of raw foods in the summer, but I crave warm, roasted foods in the cold months. That means cooking.
What do I do to make mealtime easier on myself? I keep these three foods prepared, in the fridge, at all times during the winter.
- Cooked chicken
- Switch up cooking styles: crockpot, sautéed, grilled, baked
- Use different herbs, spices and marinades with every few batches.
- Swap in your protein of choice here…turkey, wild salmon, etc. I like chicken because it’s so simple and versatile.
- Roasted vegetables
- Buy a variety every week (cauliflower, broccoli, asparagus, zucchini, Brussels sprouts, onions, peppers, mushrooms, fennel, carrots, parsnips, beets, etc.)
- Experiment with different dips, dressings and herbs to make each meal a little different.
- Roasted squash or sweet potatoes
- Delicata, butternut, and kabocha are my favorite squash varieties.
- If you like, you can opt for brown rice, quinoa, lentils or beans. I love squash and sweet potatoes as my starches.
Honestly I’m not picky when it comes to food. Leftover, re-heated foods work fine for me. (And thankfully, my family!)
I’m one of those people that can eat the same thing for a few days in a row and be okay with it. If you are not, then use the tips above to keep meals tasting different and keep things interesting. You can take these principles and make it work for you.
How do I really make this work? I make large batches on the days I do cook. What’s the difference between putting 1 pan of roasted veggies in the oven vs. 2? It may take an extra minute to chop the additional vegetables, but in the end, I’m saving time on the cooking time, clean-up, etc.
When I have these three foods ready to go, then it’s simply adding fresh foods around it to complete a meal (or just make a plate and re-heat and call it a day!). Add leafy greens and avocado for a salad, puree the butternut squash with vegetable stock for a quick soup, wrap leftovers in a tortilla or lettuce leaf, combine with fresh pasta and olive oil, the options are endless.
Healthy, simple and warm!
What are your favorite foods to prep ahead of time?