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Posted By Jessica Harlan On May 15, 2009 @ 4:03 pm In Healthy Eating | No Comments
When Dolly Pardon laments about working 9 to 5, I want to slug her. With a full-time freelance career, a toddler daughter, volunteer work and myriad chores associated with keeping my house and car in relatively working order, I feel like I am working nonstop.
Which doesn’t give me much time to get dinner on the table each day. Over time, I’ve come to rely on a number of shortcuts, easy meal solutions, and pre-prepped ingredients to ensure that making dinner doesn’t take all afternoon.
I used to scoff at the bags of chopped-up stir fry vegetables . After all, how long can it take to cut up broccoli and carrots? Actually, all that prep work does take a while. And, the bags of vegetables give you a nice variety of veggies, all ready to go without the waste of stems and peels. Look for jars of chopped garlic, chopped fresh herbs and ground fresh ginger in the refrigerated case, and blends of fresh or frozen vegetables. My favorite is the pack of sliced cremini mushrooms; they’re the same price as whole mushrooms.
When you’re making dinner, make enough so you’ll have leftovers  for another dinner or for a couple of lunches. I like to make a roasted turkey breast and use the leftover turkey for sandwiches, in pot pie or in pasta. If I’m making stew, I’ll portion out the leftovers into another meal’s worth of servings and vacuum-seal it for the freezer. It’s always comforting to have a freezer full of leftovers, just in case.
Sauteeing, steaming , stir-frying and grilling (on a gas grill or countertop grill) are all good options: you can saute a tilapia fillet in less than 10 minutes, and steam some green beans for a side dish in that same amount of time.
I hate the weeks when I haven’t planned my meals and I end up at the grocery store every other day, frantically buying provisions for that night’s dinner. Instead, now I sit down with my cookbooks and food magazines and plan out dinners and lunches for the whole week (taking into account a couple of dinners out or take-out meals). Don’t forget ingredients for breakfasts and snacks!
In our house, it’s a tofu-noodle stir-fry made with frozen vegetables. Everyone loves it, I don’t need a recipe to make it, and it comes together in less than 30 minutes. Try it yourself!
1 10-ounce package extra-firm tofu
1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
3 scallions, sliced, white parts only
1 teaspoon ground or grated fresh ginger
8 ounces Asian noodles, such as somen, ramen or rice noodles
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 package fresh or frozen stir-fry vegetables (1 pound)
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon sesame seeds (optional)
Makes 4 servings.
Article printed from Gaiam Blog: http://blog.gaiam.com
URL to article: http://blog.gaiam.com/blog/kitchen-shortcuts/
URLs in this post:
 vegetables: http://life.gaiam.com/gaiam/p/Kick-Up-the-Flavor-on-Vegetables.html
 leftovers: http://life.gaiam.com/gaiam/p/The-High-Cost-of-Wasted-Food.html
 steaming: http://life.gaiam.com/gaiam/p/Spring-Produce-And-Healthy-Recipes.html
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