By Ashley Marie
I get the worst case of “screw this, I don’t feel like cooking dinner tonight” at the beginning of the work week. I’m sure you all feel the same. It may be the fact that I work in a kitchen all day and don’t want to rush home to get back into the kitchen again, or it may just be tiredness from working in general- but either way, fast dinner is best. Always. The one thing I can rarely sacrifice, even in tiredness, is meal quality. Just because dinner needs to be quick to prepare does not mean you need to sacrifice the quality of your meal. Learning different ways to prepare foods and being creative with the ingredients you have available to you- can change your weekday meal preparation dramatically. In the winter you can spend more time at once preparing one pot meals to freeze for later consumption, and in the summer you have a wider selection of interesting (and extra tasty) in-season produce. The best thing about summer produce isn’t just the variety of items to choose from- it’s the flavors. Sometimes the produce tastes so great you don’t even want to cook it, raw will do! Tastes great, takes no time to prepare.
Tonight I’m preparing quick broiled vegetables (or grilled if you’re lucky enough to have access to the outdoors) with carrot fronds, dressed in a light vinaigrette, with yesterday’s leftover chicken leg. Done, and done. Carbless, light, super quick, and not lacking in flavor in any way.
To prepare the broiled vegetable side dish:
-Preheat your oven to 450 F.
-Make this quick vinaigrette, just shake it up in a mason jar, and set aside. Click ‘recipe index’ at the top of my blog for other vinaigrette recipes too…
-Slice one small bunch of carrots (nicest ones you can find at the market) lengthwise into two halves each. Wash and reserve carrot tops for garnish. Taste a piece first to see make sure it’s not too bitter.
-Chop up one small red onion and one small green pepper into large chunks. Toss all the vegetables with a drizzle of olive oil in a large bowl, add a little salt, pepper, and za’atar spice mix if you have.
-Toss the vegetables onto a prepared baking tray and throw it in the oven for 7-8 mins. After this initial bake switch your oven setting to broil, and continue cooking (keeping a very close eye every minute) until the ends of the carrots, and edges of the peppers and onions are becoming slightly charred and blackened. Remove from the oven.
-Toss a handful of the washed carrot fronds with a few teaspoons of the vinaigrette, and top the vegetables with it.
-Serve with leftover chicken leg! (or… a fried egg and a slice of toasted sourdough maybe!) Think less about what a traditional meal would be, and more about what will get you some protein, taste good, and not take up too much of your time.
Easy meals make it easier for you to spend less time slaving away, and more time enjoying that glass of wine on the balcony or that evening stroll before the sun disappears. Summer doesn’t last long up here in the North- spend your time wisely!
Ciao for now guys!
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