By Ingrid Ashley
Do you ever get home from a long day of working look in the fridge and just want to turn to the take out menu? Trust me, we have all been there! I still have times when it is just not in me to cook a big meal. The beautiful thing is that cooking dinner does not have to be a big meal. Some of the best dishes I have created have been the ones that took all the weekly leftovers and made a casserole or stir fry that was out of this world. The other day Dr. Liz sent me a photo of a simple one skillet dish she threw together that looked so delicious! (See photo below.) When I have one of these moments, I have no choice but turn on loud salsa music (or whatever my kids will tolerate), and turn into the dancing chef! My kids get a kick out of my dancing even joining in on occasion, and the music fuels me along to keep calm and carry on into a healthy dinner for our family. What motivates you to cook? Tell us below!
Pinto beans and kale added to squash, porta bella mushrooms and lightly marinated in Annie's Ginger Marinade with coriander and tumeric add a gentle spiciness to this simple dish!
By Dr. Elizabeth George
My husband and I were getting the garden ready to plant today. (This early we can put in the spinach, lettuce and potatoes). We got the fence mended (we have deer friends and worse, we have a dog, Frodo, who loves to dig up potatoes and eat them!)
That got me to realizing that the summer crop will be coming in before too long, and I haven’t used everything in the freezer. Well, lets make a dent in it tonight. Frozen veggies roast just as easily as fresh – though this is the first I’m trying my frozen potatoes. I gathered up my broccoli, heirloom string beans, potatoes and kale from the freezer. (I also set out a frozen tomatoe sauce – it will work well later this week to add to leftovers –and , yum, throw in some Quinoa).
Meanwhile, I’ll also chop up the fresh veggies. Also, I’ll get the frozen veggies out of the oven in about 15 minutes and see if they can be cut a little smaller.
Sun chokes add a nice zing to potatoes dishes – kind of like parsnips and turnips and kohlrabi do. They are also yummy slivered raw on most any kind of salad – they add a nice crunch and flavor. I cut the carrots in 1- inch pieces – they’re slow cooking so smaller is better. I noticed the onion was actually a scallion (?) – slivered it and spread it over the rest so the flavor could sink in.
And then I opened the spice drawer and looked around to see what inspired me. Oregano jumped out first – shake it on, then cumin, and then dill seemed right and finally pepper. I’m not entirely sure how I decided on these – and we’ll see how they taste! Finally I topped it with some garbanzo beans – but didn’t have as many as I wanted, so I opened some lentils and added a cup. Also I got the frozen kale out and broke off a handful and crumbled it on top of everything; it will come out crispy and delicious. I put it back in the convection oven at 300. (Notice that I did not add any oil to all this. I prefer to get my healthy plant fats from the plants themselves – rather than expressed and extracted into an oil with nutrients and fiber missing. And the bonus is, it’s soooo easy to clean the dishes!
While it’s cooking I’ll make some notes about adding the legumes – garbanzo beans and lentils. They are a wonderful source of protein, magnesium, iron and fiber and many other nutrients. They help diabetics (or anyone for that matter) regulate their blood sugar. Also, they help your blood vessels produce nitric oxide which helps arteries relax, “vasodilate”, be “unsticky”, and reduces inflammation; all of this is wonderful of course for your circulatory system and everything it serves – AKA your whole body! Of course every veggie in this dish with all their different colors adds potassium, a variety of vitamins and other antioxidants, minerals, fibers and more than we’ll ever know!!
Time to taste!! A yummy success – what’s really cool is I can taste the distinctive flavor of each of the different veggies and beans, while they all go well together. Also, all the different veggies maintained their own textures – some are crisper than others, nice!. Tomorrow night I’ll cook some of these up with Farro and that yummy tomatoe sauce thawed from last summer.
Coming soon on our next blog "The standing desk!"
A well stocked pantry will allow you to get home at 7:30pm with no ideas of what to make for dinner, and have a deliciously nutritious meal on the table by 8:00pm.
Brown rice, Quinoa, Barley, Oats or any
Black beans, Kidney beans, Butter beans, Chick peas and any other of the huge variety - choose low sodium canned, or using dried beans is easy to learn and can cook quickly with a pressure cooker. Dried lentils cook quickly and easily.
Other Canned/jarred items:
applesauce, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce (look for low sodium), and tomato paste.
Frozen veggies - peppers, onions, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, green beans. Frozen fruit - blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, mango, and bananas
Comment ~ I buy these in season and freeze. Also, store bought frozen veggies and fruits are economic and harvested at peak ripeness for flavor and nutritional value. Serving size portions of chicken and fish can also be frozen in freezer baggies; freeze them in a single layer for easy use.
Fresh items that keep fairly long at room temperature:
White, yellow, red, fingerling and sweet potatoes, onions, whole garlic, butternut squash, apples, oranges, and lemons.
Keep well in refrigerator:
Carrots, celery, broccoli, cauliflower, mushrooms, head of romaine lettuce, red/green cabbage, boc choy, collard greens, kale, and grapes.
Things to buy more often and that can be frozen for smoothies if they get over ripe before you get to use them:
bananas, berries, peaches, and cantaloupe.
Buy fruits and veggies in season, buy local, check out your local CSA(Community Supported Agriculture)!
Cinnamon, Turmeric, Curry, Chili Powder, Garlic Powder, Ginger Powder, Oregano, Thyme, Dried Parsley, and Cardemon.
Check out our next blog on how Pharmacists, Doctors, and other healthcare professionals around the world are focusing on the nutrition we put into our bodies vs. treating with pharmaceuticals!
Dr. Elizabeth George