Want a jumpstart on the week? Put a little time aside on Sunday to prep for some home-cooked meals all week long and help guarantee you healthier, calmer, and happier meals.
Home-Cooked Sunday (yes, we are trying to start a delicious movement here) is your family’s day to shop, prep, cook, and enjoy a great sit-down dinner together — all the while getting your fridge ready for the week. Most importantly! Sunday is the day to take the time to include your kids and show them the joys of cooking. It will expand their palates and curiosity and set them up for healthy eating the rest of their lives.
1. Make a plan!
Plan for 3 dinners, it helps to get inspired by cookbooks, (we have lots of easy, healthy, tasty recipes in our cookbook “The Family Cooks”) online cooking blogs or your family recipe box. Write a shopping list, and shop … Already knowing what you are going to make and having ingredients on hand is a huge help on busy weeknights
2. Peel 3-4 onions and one or two heads of garlic, (don’t chop them yet, they’ll get funky).
Store in airtight containers, ready to chop.
3. Wash, peel and slice plenty of carrots, celery and peppers.
Chop up a head or two of cabbage, cauliflower or broccoli… Put them in separate glass jars or containers, (adding water to the one with carrots), they will be easy to grab as snacks or to chop up for soups and salads.
4. Cook up a batch of quinoa or brown rice, refrigerate or freeze in airtight containers.
Quinoa tossed into salads or soups add an easy boost of nutrition. Having precooked brown rice ready saves you 45 minutes on busy night.
To have a bowl of cooked beans or lentils on hand is invaluable on a busy night, make some for the fridge and some for the freezer too (see recipe from “The Family Cooks” for a batch of refrigerator lentils below)
6. Wash, prep and dry a large container of salad greens.
Keep in an airtight container ready to grab by the handful.
7. If you are a kale-loving family, wash and chop a couple of bunches.
So they are ready for salads, as topping for soups, eggs and beans or as fillings for sandwiches and wraps.
8. Shake together a jar of homemade vinaigrette for salads, to drizzle on chicken or crudités.´
Pour 1 part tasty vinegar to 3 parts good oil in a jar, add a sprinkle of salt, and maybe some crushed garlic or shallots. Shake the jar vigorously before using.
9. Hard-boil a few eggs.
These will be great for a fast breakfast or lunch on the go.
Bonus: A batch of lentils for your fridge
A bowl of lentils is a springboard for quick improvised dishes. They can be served as is, simple and comforting. Then on another day toss them into a salad and on the third day, add broth, leftover cooked vegetables, perhaps a little cumin and Indian curry powder, then blend and you have a fabulous soup … how easy is that, all from a pot of legumes.
Makes about 8 cups of lentils for your fridge
- Olive oil, for the pot
- 2 medium onions or 3 leeks (white and light-green parts only), chopped
- 4 to 5 garlic cloves, chopped 2 carrots, chopped (unpeeled if organic)
- 1 pound green or brown lentils (about 21⁄4 cups), rinsed
- A sprig of fresh thyme or rosemary, or a bay leaf
- 41⁄2 cups water
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Heat a soup pot over medium high heat and drizzle the oil in to cover the bottom. Add the onions and cook until soft and golden, about 5 minutes.
Add the garlic and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Add the carrots, lentils, herbs, water, and 1 teaspoon salt. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and continue to simmer until the lentils are tender but still toothsome, the skins still intact, 30 to 40 minutes.
Drain, if necessary. Season to taste, cool, cover, and refrigerate up to 6 days.
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