Greens, Grains, and Other Good Things

Lately our dinner compositions have revolved around some beautiful, flavorful, and, I must say, healthy ingredients, so I figured –  why not a post to boast?

As we all know, weeknights tend to be a mad dash for dinner;  by the time the day is done we are homeward bound and the decision of what to make can become difficult.  And getting stuck in the hunger trap tends to lead to bad food choices.  Over the past weeks my husband and I have been practicing a routine another colleague talked about some time ago – prepping an assortment of whole grains in advance and having them on hand to use in a variety of preparations.  We are loving this tip!

On Sundays I get ready for the week, cooking two to three different whole grains (often in vegetable stock, instead of water, for extra flavor).  After cooking I combine them to toss in different meals throughout the week. A few weeks ago it was a farro, brown rice, and quinoa medley, last week it was black rice and bulgur, and this week it happens to be tri-colored quinoa and millet.

Another Sunday prep tip we have been abiding by is grilling several types of vegetables:  asparagus, eggplant, a red pepper, zucchini, mushrooms, purple onions, or whatever vegetables  we find that look fresh and good.  Grilled veggies keep well in the refrigerator, are great served cold or at room temperature, and add depth of flavor to your dinners.  (If you are feeling extra motivated one morning, they even make for great omelet ingredients.)

Leafy greens are also a key component of our weeknight “tosses.”  I have been testing different types – from our local farmer’s market Lacinato kale and broccoli greens to Swiss chard, spinach, and even baby bok choy. And who knew arugula tastes fabulous when lightly cooked?  A simple sauté with garlic, olive oil, maybe a squeeze of lemon, and a bit of salt and pepper and you are well on your way to a satisfying supper.

If you decide to balance out your plate with a bit of protein, you can grill a piece of salmon, bake some tofu, or sprinkle your dinner with some lentils or grated cheese. The bottom line is that with a plan, we set ourselves up for success.  Sitting down to dinner we don’t feel overwhelmed, we are able to unwind from the day with more time to enjoy our meals and each other’s company.

--Rachel

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