Cooking can be a relaxing and enjoyable activity, but only as long as you have enough time to set aside for it. When you are tired and hungry, it is easy to make unhealthy decisions about what to eat. Here are three recipes that will help you prepare meals at the beginning of the week that will stay fresh in the fridge or freezer and make for delicious, quick dinners each day.
Italian Wedding Soup
Italian Wedding Soup is one of the easiest and fastest soups to make.
Ingredients: orzo, meatballs, spinach, parmesan, and egg.
1) The first step is to make the meatballs by combining half a pound of ground pork and half a pound of ground beef with ½ cup of diced onion, 3-5 cloves of chopped garlic, ⅓ cup of chopped parsley, ½ cup of grated parmesan, 1 teaspoon of salt, 1 teaspoon of black pepper, an egg, and a handful of breadcrumbs.
2) Dump all the ingredients into a large bowl and knead the mixture thoroughly until it is completely combined — using your hands produces the best results.
3) Form this dough into 1 or 2-inch wide meatballs and set aside.
4) Bring 16 cups of broth to a boil.
5) Once the broth is boiling, drop in the meatballs and ¾ pound of orzo, then turn the heat down to medium to simmer the mixture for 10 minutes.
6) About halfway through, drop in about a pound of spinach.
7) Once the orzo and meatballs are cooked, stir in a mixture of 2 eggs beaten with 2 tablespoons of parmesan, using a long spoon to spin the broth slowly so that the eggs are spread through the soup in long strings as they cook.
8) Once the egg mixture is incorporated, you’re done.
If you’re trying to limit their intake of gluten and carbohydrates, a cauliflower pizza is a delicious meal that will satisfy the craving for a cheesy delicacy.
Ingredients: Cauliflower, cheesecloth, eggs salt, parmesan cheese, chevre, mozzarella cheese, and spices (oregano, rosemary, parsley, basil, and thyme.)
1) If you want to make your dough from scratch, start by steaming cauliflower florets until tender, then use a food processor to grind it into the consistency of rice.
2) Once “riced”, the cauliflower needs to be dehydrated. Use a cheesecloth or dish towel to squeeze the extra moisture out of the cauliflower so your crust turns out crispy instead of soggy.
3) Use about 32 ounces of riced cauliflower to make a pizza that will feed 2-3 people, or split the dough into smaller batches to make personal pizzas.
4) Once your cauliflower is ready, mix it together with an egg, a teaspoon of salt, ¼ cup of grated parmesan and ¼ cup of chevre.
5) If you prefer cow’s milk cheese, you can use mozzarella instead of chevre.
6) Mix everything together and add your choice of spices — oregano, rosemary, parsley, basil, and thyme are all delicious.
7) Spread the dough out into your chosen size on a pan covered with parchment paper.
8) Bake the dough at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for about 30 minutes, then flip and bake for 10-15 more minutes.
9) Add toppings and bake until the cheese is melted (about 5-10 minutes.)
Ratatouille is a tasty way to make sure to get a healthy portion of vegetables into your diet after a long, stressful day. It is a French dish that tastes like a cross between a hearty stew and a roasted vegetable hash. It can all be cooked in one pot, and since the flavors need time to come together some people think it tastes even better after a few days in the fridge.
Ingredients: To make this filling meal, you will need 1 pound of eggplant, 2 pounds of tomatoes, 1 onion, 2 bell peppers, 6 cloves of garlic, 2 zucchini, ½ cup red wine, 3 sprigs of fresh thyme, 1 teaspoon black pepper, 1 teaspoon paprika, 1 teaspoon salt, 3 tablespoons fresh basil, olive oil, and 1 teaspoon vinegar — red wine or sherry.
1) Since eggplant is a very moist vegetable you will want to cut it into cubes, dust each cube with salt, and let it rest for about 30 minutes before you cook it to allow it to dry out.
2) Add a few tablespoons of olive oil to the bottom of a large pot.
3) Chop the onion into small pieces and add it to the pot, stirring until it is see-through before adding the bell peppers, chopped into cubes.
4) Cook for 3-5 more minutes, and then add diced garlic, chopped tomatoes, half-moon cuts of zucchini, eggplant, red wine, and thyme. Mix everything together to make sure all the veggies are coated with olive oil, and then stir in the rest of the dry spices and salt.
5) Bring the mixture to a boil for about 5 minutes, stir it well, then turn the heat down and cover the pot to let it simmer for 20-25 minutes.
6) When you are ready to serve, top each bowl with fresh basil. It is traditional to add a fried egg on top as well, but leave it out if you are aiming for a vegan dish.
7) Serve with a slab of French bread on the side to scoop up the tasty sauce at the end.
This meal will stay fresh for about 4 days in the fridge, or you can freeze it to extend its shelf life. It is fantastic fresh as well as reheated so don’t worry about saving this meal for the end of the week when you really need a pick-me-up.
Cooking ahead of time will also help you avoid unhealthy eating habits we are all tempted by when we are exhausted. Start with just one recipe this weekend and you will be thrilled with the results.