Thursday, April 16, 2009

Try this Energy & Time Saving Idea this Weekend

On the weekends, I like to do lots of prep work and cooking ahead to make the work week easy for dinners. And I get an organic produce delivery shipment so I get plenty of fruits and vegetables that I need to use.

Roasting is one of the best ways to enjoy vegetables because it deepens and sweetens the natural flavors. This weekend when you do your larger grocery shopping trip, think about items you can roast to get ready for the week for quick side dishes.

Roast one time, all at once to save you time that day and the upcoming week. The bonus is that you're saving energy because you're making use of the oven once. You will have to watch your cooking times, but other than that, it's really easy.

In this picture, I have three different trays going in my 450 degree oven. I also line my cookie sheets with foil and coat with cooking spray so I don't have to clean up the mess in the end!
  • Roasted mixed root vegetables (potato, carrot, celery, parsnip, turnip, sweet potato, etc): makes a great side dish for leftover chicken, pork chops, or even soup. Chop veggies about the same size for even cooking. Mix with a drizzle of olive oil, garlic, and herbs like dried oregano, parsley, and salt and pepper. Cook for 20 minutes and stir, then place back in for another 15-20 until tender.
  • Roasted beets: great for salads during the week. Wash and pierce with a fork. Drizzle unpeeled beets with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Depending on size, check them if they are fork-tender 45 minutes. They may take up to 90 minutes if the beets are large. When cooked, let cool. Peel with a the tip of a spoon. Slice and place in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
  • Roasted garlic heads: mash for for salad dressing or a great flavorful addition for pizza, pasta, or spreading on toasted bread. It's best to cook 2-3 heads at once. Cut the top off the heads. Place on a foil-lined pie plate and cook until slightly bubbly 35-45 minutes. Let cool. Push the roasted cloves from the skin from the bottom. You may need to peel the cloves. It will be messy. Store roasted cloves in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator.

Also, try roasting tomatoes with breadcrumbs or zucchini and bell peppers for something different than steamed vegetables.

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