Bountiful Veggies = 4 meals with one evening of work

Okay, it’s the bottom of the 8th, (Monday night)….. you’re the home team, (cook), and you find yourself with lots of infielders (vegetables) but no plan for their use and you just can’t imagine how to get through the next 3 or 4 innings (meals) without a pinch hitter (help!!!).  Okay, okay, so the men with whom I live (one very young and the other, like me, not so young anymore) have filled my life with baseball talk, but baseball makes for good summertime analogies.   I’ve grown to enjoy baseball even though it seems to be on every night!!, but I confess that I do get tired of cooking every night, especially in the summertime.  Both of my men help out with the dishes but neither likes to cook nearly so much as they like to eat.  Plus, I’ve got veggies from the garden as well as an abundance of cheap summer produce that I couldn’t resist buying at the grocery store. The plan, therefore, is to take care of several meals at once with less than 1 hour of time – not all of it requiring me to be present.  Peek out the window, look in the fridge – send a runner out to 2nd base (to pick) or to 3rd base (to buy) some veggies and keep the team fed for several days.

On this particular day on the pitchers mound, I had yellow peppers, swiss chard, zucchini, eggplant, red onion and baby portabella mushrooms. I didn’t think a pile of these on a plate in their whole form would go over so well, and they were not going to be fresh for very long so I chopped them all. Go ahead, slice and dice whatever you have in the frig or just picked that is not already ear-marked for use in the next few days. You don’t have to dice them small, just cut ’em into hunks. Continue reading

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Potatoes and Peasant Food

Potatoes get a bad rap, but truly they are victims in this turn of events.  They can’t help it that we tend to slather them with fat and/or dunk them in hot grease and eat the least healthy versions of them (big and white) in large quantities.  While potatoes are high in carbohydrates, there is fiber in the skin, so if you eat small potatoes, you get more skin (fiber and nutrients) and less starchy insides.  And if you eat colored potatoes you are also getting carotenoids and flavonoids which are nutritious and act as anti-oxidants.

Unfortunately, the little colored potatoes are more costly than the big white ones… but they are worth investigating.  You might be very surprised at how much more flavorful a small colored potato is than a big white one.  Makes it easier to skip the sour cream, butter, cheddar cheese, bacon….. oh my.  I used to like that kind of thing on a baked potato – but your family just might like these with a touch of healthy oil and spices.

The pretty little buggers can be boiled, or roasted, or baked just like any other potato.  One of my favorite ways to prepare them is a double cook: baked, boiled or even microwaved, and then sliced and sauteed with some onion, possibly some greens and if you want, you can even throw in some scrambled eggs or meat if you eat it.

We always ate this one night on camping or backpacking trips when I was a kid and it was dubbed ‘peasant food.’

Peasant food is another of the quick throw what you have in a skillet for dinner ‘recipes’ that Little Sis and I have come to rely on when planning is lacking or life doesn’t go along with our carefully laid plans.  Okay, so that’s almost everyday, and that is why we have more than one sneaky quick dinner on hand.

In order to make peasant food quickly you have to have already cooked potatoes.  If you are brilliantly organized you might cook some potatoes at the beginning of every week, just to have for emergencies…. or you might be like me and just wash them, slice them and throw them in the microwave to soften them up before sauteing.  It is much easier to slice a cold potato than a hot one, so if microwaving, it is important to slice first.  If baking or boiling for future use, it is not necessary to pre-slice.

After you’ve got some soft potatoes, you are only about 15 minutes away from a meal.

Saute some onion, scallions or leeks if you like them in a Tbsp or 2 of oil.  I used some leftover leeks from a previous dinner

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I’m not giving amounts because as I said, this is a fly-by-the-seat of your stovetop recipe… use what you got, or what you think is reasonable.

When the onion-y type stuff is getting translucent, add your potatoes along with some salt and pepper.  You can also add other spices if you like, I just relied on the flavor of the leeks, salt and pepper to improve the potatoes.

Cook over Medium heat until heated through and you have a little bit of browning action going on.

Throw in a couple of handfuls of any hardy greens you have around…. I used spinach…. you could try kale or swiss chard as well.

Cook until greens are wilted.

Now if you want to add scrambled eggs or chopped meat – I would add beaten eggs after the greens wilt, or meat when you add the potatoes.  We did not add anything but used the potatoes as a side dish.

P1010540-001Check out those gorgeous purple potatoes!!!  Hard to believe they are potatoes.  I may just have to take a stab at growing some of these bad boys this summer because they are really great.

Don’t get rid of potatoes…. just get rid of (or cut down on) french fries, chips and the fatty toppings.  What’s underneath is Food.  Real Food.

P1010541-001 Now excuse me while I go eat these beautiful purple potatoes.  Mmmm.