1 Sep
2009
Posted in: Food, Simplify
By    4 Comments

Healthy Weeknight Dinner Time Hack: Roasted Vegetables

The scene of the carnage...all you need is olive oil, a knife and a bunch of defenseless produce.

The scene of the carnage...all you need is olive oil, a knife and a bunch of defenseless produce.

This week, I’m trying a new method (based on a plan from a book I picked up used on Amazon, Katie Brown’s Weekends) to decrease our meal preparation issues during the work week and to also try to get us to eat more veggies, less meat. Don’t get me wrong, we LOVE meat. That’s sort of the problem. In Texas, steak is about the same price as chicken or other “more healthy” meats (and both are quite cheap), so which do you think we get? If you said the animal that goes Moo and tastes like heaven, you are right.

Since moving to Austin, we eat meat (usually beef) at almost every dinner. And, since we all also eat small amounts at lunch (hello, leftovers), it’s probably a bit of overkill in terms of fat, cholesterol, whatever. Really, I’m just trying to talk myself into this new plan, can you tell? I can’t even tell what I’m typing anymore, as the tears of thinking no-meat are welling in my eyes.

Wow, they almost look as appealing as...well, at least chicken. (Steak is a high bar, after all.)

Wow, they almost look as appealing as...well, at least chicken. (Steak is a high bar, after all.)

Anyways, the deal is after dinner yesterday (probably a bit counterintuitive, but it works out better for me this way) I roasted a whole pan of vegetables. Squash, mushrooms, asparagus, sweet potato, carrots, some onion…you get the idea. I can’t remember the last time I saw so many veggies in a big roasting pan at my house with nothing else, so even getting that far was clear progress. It wasn’t as much of a pain in the rump as I expected (obviously, the roasting part isn’t hard, but there is some prep work since everything needed to be washed, chopped, tossed in olive oil, etc.) We’re talking MINIMAL work (my favorite kind during the evening). I roasted everything at 375 for 35 minutes and voila! We’ve got our main course ingredients ready for this week.

Tonight we had frittata with some of the mushrooms, carrots, onion and asparagus in it. It was terrific and even Benjamin cleaned his plate. Tomorrow we will use some more of the veggies in a primavera pasta dish that uses red raspberry vinaigrette for a sauce base and Thursday evening we’ll make stir fry with whatever’s left over.

Ready to rumble. Go, veggies, go veggies, go veggies, go.
Ready to rumble. Go, veggies, go veggies, go veggies, go.

I don’t know that we’ll do this every week, but if we can aim at once a month and gradually branch out to every other week, I think it would make a pretty positive difference in our diets. We usually like to think of ourselves as healthy eaters because we pretty much make everything from scratch and tend to use mostly organic, mostly healthful ingredients (okay, okay, cheese is a major exception–but I am NOT cutting that out). But of course, we could do that with veggies as center stage. In theory.

(Side note: I didn’t know much about Katie Brown before this book but she does have some good recipes. Check out her Web site and Podcasts at http://www.katiebrown.com/ if you are interested.)

Do you have any dinner hacks to share? If so, share them in the comments!

4 Comments

  • That platter looks BEAUTIFUL! One thing I like to do on weekends is make a couple of sauces (Romesko, tomato, pesto, etc.) that can be used during the week with either the veggies or the protein, or both. They have time to simmer and become really flavorful while I’m watching football on Saturday, and they can be employed QUICKLY after I get home during the week.

    • Cory, this is a great idea! I’m going to chat Nick up to see if he wants to help me try this out this weekend. Thanks!

  • elayne, i’ve peeked in @ your blog a few times now and think it’s wonderful- love your writing/ideas and how organized you are, holy cow!

    these veggies look so delicious, we might have to try doing this as we do not get enough vegetable and actually have a garden pouring in with them this year.

    we tried this pizza dough (jason & shealyn made it) and it was by far the best we’ve had to date, in case you guys feel like pizza one night- maybe give this recipe a try:

    http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/001199.html

    • Pam, we are ALWAYS trying to buy fresh pizza dough and have only been able to find it at Whole Foods, so this will be fun to try! 🙂 Thanks much, Peach!

So, what do you think?