This is the first of three guest blog posts I'll be sharing over the next few weeks all about quick and easy midweek cooking. Here in the Northern hemisphere summer holidays are coming to an end and we're returning to a regular work routine or gearing up for a new school year. When our calendars get full, weeknight dinners can be a challenge. But with some fresh inspiration and a few meal prep and cooking strategies in our back pocket, they can actually be quite effortless.
Just like you, I also need inspiration from time to time. And there's nobody I trust and respect more than my blogging friends when I need clever and delicious weeknight meal ideas. So I've asked a few of them to share with us their favorite midweek dinner recipe and go-to strategies for getting quick, delicious, and nourishing meals on the table. No matter where you are in the world, I hope you'll follow along and feel re-inspired to whip up some wonderful midweek meals for yourself and your family.
To start things off, Dearna from To Her Core will share how she brings this hippie bowl together quickly on a weeknight and her top strategies for ensuring fun, healthy meals are within reach even on the busiest of days.
Eating healthy during the week can be a challenge for the best of us. There’s those late night yoga classes, staying late to meet deadlines, getting the kids bathed and the homework done, catching up with friends, and of course the lazy outlet of TV, reading or whatever it may be that sometimes you just need to do to relax away the stresses of the day. It doesn’t leave a great deal of time for cooking a healthy, nutritious meal. While it differs from person to person, I have found that the following work well in our house to ensure that for the most part, we always have something healthy at hand.
- Cook in bulk. I usually double or triple recipes for anything like soup, curries, stews etc. The leftovers are great for dinner the next day (and hopefully the one after that too!), or I’ll freeze a few portions that I can take out for those nights I really just don’t feel like cooking.
- Have a few quick, easy recipes up your sleeve that you can pull out when you just can’t think of what to eat. Things like zucchini noodles with pesto or a quick, veggie-packed frittata are great nourishing options that come together really quickly.
- Prepare various components ahead at the start of the week that you can combine together to make meals out of. Things like big batches of wholegrains (quinoa, freekah, brown rice, buckwheat or millet), finely chopped or grated veggies to throw into salads (you can do this in bulk if you have a food processor), dips like hummus, pestos and other dressings, roasted vegetables, boiled eggs, roasted tofu… There are a whole bunch of things that can be easily prepared at the start of the week that come together to make a variety of quick meals while still being able to have a bit of variation in your diet.
The last principal forms the basis of this recipe I’m sharing with you today. This is a grain-free version of a “hippie bowl” and something that I might eat for an easy meal that’s balanced, nourishing and filling, while still feeling quite ‘light’ that it’s not going to weigh me down and make me sleepy and lethargic the following day.
The dish is made up of four main components – buttery cauliflower rice, roasted vegetables, boiled eggs and my savoury seed granola, which I always like to have on hand as it’s such a great way to turn an average meal into a really special one. You could easily use a grain instead of the cauliflower rice – quinoa is great here – and you could roast whichever veggies are in season and take your fancy. Each of these components can be prepared and cooked at the start of the week, or alternatively do the prepping on the weekend, and then you only have to cook in the evening.
Grain-free hippie bowl
Serves 2 - 3
Buttery cauliflower rice
- 2 Tbsp organic, grass-fed butter
- ½ medium head of cauliflower
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Roughly chop the cauliflower and add to a food processor. Pulse until the caulflower is finely chopped resembling couscous.
- Heat the butter in a fry pan over medium heat. Once bubbling, add the cauliflower and stir to coat. Cook 3 – 4 minutes, until just soft. Season to taste with the salt and pepper.
- 2 cups of assorted vegetables (pumpkin, sweet potato, carrots, Brussels sprouts, zucchini, broccoli, etc), peeled
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp salt
- Chop the vegetables to be a similar size. Toss in the olive oil and salt. Bake in a hot (200 C) oven for 30 – 50 minutes, turning halfway. (Note some of the vegetables will cook quicker, such as broccoli and zucchini. If using these as well as root vegetables, it’s advisable to cook the root vegetables for 20 minutes or so before adding them in at the end).
- 2 hard-boiled eggs, sliced in half
- 2 Tbsp savoury seed granola
- To assemble to bowls, simply place a few scoops of the cauliflower rice on each bowl, add a few roasted vegetables, two egg halves and then sprinkle with the savoury granola.