One of the tricks that my old trainer taught me was the key to making the quickest dinner (or lunch possible) … prep ahead. And this weekend, I actually got a chance to do that. I roasted two trays of vegetables (sweet potatoes, butternut squash, carrots, red bliss potatoes and parsnips) and loaded them into small sealed containers.
But how does that become dinner? Simple. Add a protein and a carb, mix it all together and serve. The hard part (and really, roasting vegetables isn’t hard, it just takes a bit ‘o time) is done, so then during the week, when you’re a bit short on time, you just need to add the extras and you’re golden. Two dinners this week took less than 15 minutes.
1. For Sunday night’s dinner, I added Five-Spice Shrimp (recipe below) to roasted vegetables and brown rice. Once plated, I squeezed half a lemon over the whole thing and added sliced avocado and fresh chopped cilantro. It was perfect, and light (yet filling enough for a meal) and one of our guests remarked that it was one of her favorite meals here so far I mean, really, did you LOOK at that picture? It was sublime.
2. For a second dinner, I marinated some flounder in lemon juice, garlic, sea salt and parsley and again, added the roasted vegetables, brown rice and lemon juice.
For alternatives instead of brown rice, whole wheat cousous would be great, as would some quinoa. Mix and match the roasted vegetables. Add a sprinkling of fresh herbs and lemon juice over the top and call it a day. Or a meal. Crumbled turkey meat, wild salmon or grilled chicken would also be pretty awesome (in place of the shrimp or flounder) as well.
The key here, as with many meals, is to have some of your prep work done ahead of time, so when it’s time to start making your meal, it’s just a little bit of mixing and matching, a little bit of heating and a whole lot of devouring.
February 24, 2011, Photo #54
Dear Grandma, thank you so much for the soft yellow duckling that plays the Bruno Mars song over and over and over again. I love it. My mom? Not so much. xoxo Madeline
PS – Want one more recipe before escaping for your weekend? These Banana Walnut Pancakes I have over on Betty Crocker’s website are the perfect start to your lazy Sunday morning, or a great treat for breakfast at dinner. Enjoy your weekend!
Recipe courtesy of Cate O’Malley
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound medium or large shrimp, peeled
Preheat a grill pan to medium-high heat. In a Ziploc bag, put the oil, garlic five-spice powder, sea salt, black pepper and shrimp. Seal the top and mix to combine. Grill the shrimp, turning once, until just firm and opaque (tails will start to turn in when done).