Wouldn’t you love to save some time?

If you spend a few hours in the kitchen today, I promise it will be worth it  later in the week. It’s batch cooking time! (Insert very energetic emoji here)  I have referred to my “batch cooking Sundays” in previous posts and I felt like it was time to finally get around to showing you, dear readers, how I accomplish all this work. It really is fairly easy and worth a couple hours of effort. Follow my easy steps and you will be thanking me on Wednesday when you are tired and can’t think of anything to prepare for lunch or dinner.

The first thing I do is roughly decide what types of things I’ll want to eat in the coming week. Breakfast is the simplest do-ahead meal. I eat steel cut oats pretty much each weekday morning. If you make them from scratch in the morning, they take over 30 minutes. No one has time for that, but you can make a pot of oats on Sunday and refrigerate them. Every morning, just scoop out what you’d like and pop them in the microwave for about 2 minutes.  Some mornings, I mash in a banana and blueberries. If you like savory oats, you can add some chopped tomato, chopped mushrooms or any other veggies you have on hand. Presto–sweet or savory breakfast oats.

A breakfast staple

For lunches and dinners, I like to have a grain prepared ahead of time. Some weeks, I’ll cook short grain brown rice or maybe some brown basmati rice. Other weeks, I’ll bake 6 potatoes. These grains become the “base” of a meal. Once you have a grain, you can build on it with steamed vegetables, or a stir fry or beans for a Mexican-style meal. This week I decided to make farro. If you haven’t tried farro, you need to. It is a very hearty grain, similar to barley. The one I use is from Trader Joe’s and it cooks in only 10 minutes.

Next on the menu is butternut squash. For dinner tonight, we are having a new salad recipe that I found in the latest issue of the Forks over Knives magazine. It calls for butternut squash, so I decided to keep the extra cubed squash for meals later this week. Once you cube the squash, place on parchment paper and roast in the oven at 400 degrees for about 20-25 minutes. You don’t need to add any oil. If the squash seems a little dry, just brush with some water. I seasoned mine with smoked paprika, but you can try cinnamon or curry. The squash will be delicious later this week mixed with the farro and drizzled with some balsamic vinegar.

To round out my afternoon of cooking, I steamed a big pot of broccoli and I made a batch of dragon dressing. The dragon dressing is a staple in my kitchen. I make a batch almost every week. You can find this peanut-ty, absolutely delicious dressing in the Engine 2 Cookbook. 

Once you have all of your prep work done, just put everything in containers for easy access all week in your fridge. If you like asian flavors, make a bowl with farro, broccoli and dragon dressing. You can add in some water chestnuts and snap peas. If you’re in the mood for tex-mex, try heating up some black beans and salsa to mix with the farro and throw in some chopped spinach and some avocado and corn.

I hope that you give batch cooking a try. If you feel overwhelmed, just start with one thing. Cook your oats today and see how that works for your morning routine. Next week, try some grains or potatoes. This method of food prep really helps me stay on track during the week. Leave me a comment and let me know how your meal prepped worked out.

See you in the kitchen soon,


My Go-To Breakfasts

When I have some extra time in the mornings, Chickpea Omelets are a delicious way to start my day.

When I’m craving a really hearty breakfast, or if I need a post workout meal, the chickpea omelet really fits the bill. I save this one for the weekend because it can be a little time consuming. I referenced the chickpea omelet in my previous post. But now, I’ll go into a more step-by-step preparation.

The beauty of this recipe is that you can choose the veggies you like. My favorites are any colored peppers (usually it’s whatever is left in the vegetable drawer), spinach or kale, and tomato.  The first step is to heat your pan, I use the copper red skillets. I also cook without any oil.  After the pan is hot, add your veggies and saute, if they start to stick, you can always add a little water to the pan. While the veggies are cooking, you can mix up your chickpea batter. In a small bowl, add 1 cup of chickpea flour, 1/3 cup of nutritional yeast, 1/4 t. each of baking soda and baking powder, and the any dry seasonings you like. It’s importaant that you use “fortified” nutritional yeast because it contains vitamin B12, which is essential for anyone following a plant based diet. This is very important, as it can be very bland with out any seasoning. I used garlic powder, oregano, Aleppo pepper and some zatar. I am sort of a Penzey’s Spices addict. Add in 1 cup of water and blend well. In a separate skillet, pour in the batter, as you would a pancake. There should be enough batter for 2-3 pancakes, depending on how thin your pour is. Watch them carefully, and flip when the underside is brown. Cook a few more minutes then remove to a plate. Add your cooked veggies to one side and then fold over like an omelet. At this point you can add some fresh tomato slices, some Cholula hot sauce is good too. Make them your own and enjoy!

During the work week, my foolproof breakfast is a bowl of savory steel cut oats.

Almost every Sunday, I do some batch cooking of the foods that I use most during the week. Usually, it’s a pot of brown rice, some steamed broccoli and always a pot of steel cut oats. I think my next post will be devoted to batch cooking. Steel cut oats are a terrific whole grain and they are so very filling. They can be prepared in advanced, kept in the fridge, and then portioned out and reheated whenever you want them. To make the savory oats, I add the cooked oats to a bowl, add in some already steamed, cooked kale, a few spoonfuls of nutritional yeast, a few shakes of turmeric and a few shakes of everything but the bagel seasoning (from Trader Joe’s)  Cover the bowl and microwave for 2 minutes. Add some chopped fresh tomatoes and few shakes of Cholula or whatever hot sauce you like and there’s breakfast!

That’s breakfast at my house most days. I hope this inspires you to expand your routine and include some new foods. Next time, we’ll talk batch cooking. Leave me a comment if you’ve got any suggestions for future posts. I’ll see you back in the kitchen soon.


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