I hate to admit it, but I don’t plan our weeknight meals as much as I should. Like everyone else, we’re busy! Running all over, fitting as much as we can into a single day. And sometimes, dinnertime sneaks up on me.
But I do feel that on-the-fly weeknight dinners become easier when I take them in parts. For instance, I always think of our dinners (and most meals really) with protein as a kind of anchor. At this point, we have tried and true 'anchor' favorites that everyone enjoys. So for me, it’s really about figuring out the side dishes to complete the meal.
I grew up having a giant salad and baguette on the dinner table every night - it’s just what my parents did. In fact, the first time I had dinner at my husband’s family’s house, there was no bread or salad and I couldn’t believe it! It was so odd to me. I have since done away with the baguette, but the salad has stuck – we have a green salad every night. Our family favorite is a mix of arugula and spinach, but we love red leaf lettuce and romaine too. Generally, I start with my base salad – tomatoes, chopped carrots, pumpkin seeds, and avocado. Depending on the season (and what’s in the fridge), I might add some crunchy radishes, or chopped steamed green beans, roasted beets, chick peas, black beans...and for dressing I usually go simple, olive oil, salt, pepper, and balsamic. I know Cassandra uses the Salad Dressing bottle with recipes that we have in the shop, so I may mix it up and try one of those dressings too.
But, my favorite way of making vegetables, by far, is roasting them. Something magical happens to boring old vegetables when I roast them - things that my girls would not typically eat are devoured. Today, I had 2 pints of grape tomatoes, one eggplant and a head of cauliflower – so that’s what I used, but you can roast almost any vegetable.
Some of my favorites are beets, broccoli, different color potatoes & sweet potatoes, fennel, zucchini. The list is endless and it’s SO easy. I chop the veggies, place them on a half sheet pan, a little olive oil, kosher salt & freshly ground pepper, and into the oven (a more detailed version is below). And…they're great leftover!
Spinach and arugula – washed and chopped
Raw pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
1/2 avocado cubed
Mix all ingredients in a bowl and drizzle with dressing – a little at a time & toss.
Cindy’s Assortment of Roasted Vegetables
Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Cauliflower or Eggplant: Peel the eggplant (I use the Swiss Peeler). Then cut the eggplant and/or the head of cauliflower into 1 inch thick slices (smaller pieces are fine too). Drizzle olive oil on the bottom of a half sheet pan and place the cauliflower on top - move them around a bit so the bottoms get a coating of oil. Drizzle 1 tbsp of olive oil on top and sprinkle with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.
Grape Tomatoes: Place tomatoes on a quarter sheet pan and drizzle with 1 tbsp of olive oil, sprinkle with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.
Cook eggplant and tomatoes for 30 minutes and the cauliflower for 40-45 minutes. Place in dishes and serve. Sprinkle cilantro over the cauliflower.