Tag Archives: one_dish_meal

One-Bowl Meals for Too Fast Lives

The Hearty Mexican Posole Soup with Radish Cabbage Arugula Salad Garnish (choice of vegan bean or pork version) that is featured for this week’s Delivered Dishes of the Week is an excellent one-bowl meal. See pithy descriptions for the next 2 weeks’ menus on the Menu Archive.

One-bowl meals are a way of life for many of us. They’re quick to eat, easy to make and more portable. When made of whole foods,  they’re also more ‘nutrient-dense’. A cup of nutrient-dense food like beans & greens gives you more nutrition than a comparable serving of something starchy and/or processed.  Looking at it another way, if you’re going to eat a 600-calorie meal, you could eat a 3-4 course meal of nutrient-dense foods instead of one bowl of mac ‘n cheese.

[Of course, there are times when that mac ‘n cheese or ice cream is completely appropriate. For instance, driving past Izzy’s Ice Cream on a 76 F evening last week.]

Anybody who’s followed a weight-loss program knows this. So the challenge is to surround ourselves with more nutrient-dense, unprocessed foods, which is hard when nutrient-poor processed foods are everywhere and simply more convenient.

I’ll be teaching to this question on Thu to residents at Next Step Housing, an independent living facility run by Ascension Place, a transitional housing program for women based in North Mpls.  I’ll assess their cooking skills, teach basic knife techniques, and focus on easy, cheap, healthful dishes that you can ‘build’ on for an endless variety of meals.

Tuscan white beans, swiss chard and broccoli.

We’re going to make a couple variations of Beans & Greens (see prior posts). Next Step’s apartment building is near the Cub Grocery on Broadway Ave & Lyndale Ave North, so these women can easily get dried/canned beans and frozen/ fresh greens such as kale, collards, turnip greens and spinach, all year round. On summer weekends, they can go to a satellite Farmers’ Market run by Mpls Farmers’ Market and West Broadway Business & Area Coalition. These women may have never visited a farmers’ market before, so I’m looking forward to introducing them come summer.

We’ll cook large batches as usual. In the end it’s cheaper and more efficient to cook a large batch than a small batch of most dishes. If you’re going to chop 1 onion and 3 carrots, you may as well chop twice as many while you’re at it.

Furthermore, I’m going to suggest that, since they live in the same apartment building, they do a couple things that will make cooking more fun and save money, too:

1) Monthly Soup Swap. Say you have a group of 6 people. Each participant brings a 6-quart pot of home-made soup and 5 quart-size ziploc bags or tupperware. Divide all the soups. Everybody gets 6 quarts of different soups! If you freeze the ziplocs flat, they can be stacked vertically or horizontally in the freezer and will take up less room.

Gorgeous local veg!

2) Buy favorite veggies in bulk at the Farmers’ Market and divide. You can buy 5-10 lb tubs of green beans, tomatoes, et al at a cheaper rate than the little 1-lb trays. The farmers often have blemished ‘seconds’ in large tubs for even lower prices. And, if you go near closing time, they will practically give stuff away rather than pack it up in their trucks.

3) Cook together occasionally. It makes a solitary chore more of a social event, especially for singles, and besides, two cooks are faster than one.

Of course, these are excellent time- & money-savers for everybody, whether you live next door or not!

Round the World in 3 Weeks

UPCOMING DELIVERED DISHES OF THE WEEK

MAY 16 – 22

1) Minty Greek Garbanzo & Cucumber Salad. Will most definitely have kalamata olives and bell peppers, but, no tomatoes, which make chopped salads too soggy. You can add fresh ones and crumbled feta before serving. Vegan, no gluten.

2) Lemony Asparagus & Potatoes. I get to use my fab new microzester wand. Vegan, no gluten.

MAY 23 –  29

1) Nigerian Kidney Bean Stew. A creamy tomato sauce similar to the popular Mafe sweet potato stew dished up earlier this spring. An occasion to say “unctuous”. I might add tofu. Vegan, contains peanut butter, no gluten.

2) Not Soggy Collards. With lots of garlic and lime to offset aforementioned  unctuousness. Vegan, no gluten.

MAY 30 – JUNE  5

1)  Carrot Salad in Citrus Cinnamon Dressing. Doesn’t that sound divine? Possibly with local peas if they are readily avail at farmers’ market. Vegan, no gluten.

2) “Casual” Persian Rice w/ Lentils & Raisins. A fried rice sort of treatment instead of the elaborate party stunner pictured in all the cookbooks.

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Slaw + noodles = terrific summer entree

So now that you know how easy it is to whip up, you’re going to make a big batch of Crunchy Cabbage Slaw, right?  Add any kind of noodle — whole wheat linguine or fusilli, buckwheat soba, rice noodles, mung bean thread vermicelli — for a tasty, satisfying pasta salad. 

Cold noodle salad with napa cabbage and grilled tempeh

Cold noodle salad with napa cabbage and grilled tempeh

 For a nutritious one-dish meal, add whatever protein you have in the house. Great way to use up leftovers! Cut up cold bbq’d chicken, hotdogs, pork chop, hunk of roast beef from last week; slice deli meat, tempeh or firm tofu.

Remember to add more Orange Ginger vinaigrette, as the noodles not only need thorough coating but also soak up the sauce. I would also make the vinaigrette stronger-flavored to compensate, ie more salt, garlic, herbs.   Blend in tahini (sesame paste) and/or  peanut butter goop-ified with canola oil, and you get a dressing similar to the  “Sesame Chicken Salad” sauce. [what I mean is, either paste has to be well-blended with oil til goopy first before you create the dressing, or the paste will remain a sticky hunk.]

I like Sesame Chicken Salad, too, but it’s so ubiquitous in restaurants now, even in ‘fast-food’, that the quality really varies and can be very disappointing.  It’s so easy to make good quality noodle salad at home, and in quantities that keep.  All combinations are good, as long as you have a decent vinaigrette and do not overcook the noodles (mushy).

Cold Chinese-style spicy sesame noodles — with cold crunchy vinegary cucumbers and sliced napa cabbage — are incredible, both rich and refreshing at the same time. Totally worth the  saturated fats.  Ohhh!   Guess what I’m making today!