My summer cooking routine is simple:
- Choose protein. There's a wide variety of frozen, cooked beans and meats ready to go, as well as some quick-cook meats like ground turkey. Set selected protein on counter to sort of head towards thawing.
- Choose starch. We love rice here and go through the 25lb bag from Sam's every 3 months of so. I set rice or brown rice up in the rice cooker (yay single button cooking!) or a pot on the stove for noodles. If I'm really lazy we just eat bread.
- Visit the garden and pick whatever's ripe. Lately there's been nothing but squash, but today I found my first red tomato and two lovely jalapanos -- Mexican-ish it is! I can't wait for the green beans!
- Chop veggies, stir fry or something with the protein, grab a can of sauce if desired (I've always got spaghetti sauce and italian salad dressing ready to go) or spice if you'd rather.
- Serve the veggie mix over the protein and GO!
One caveat -- I almost always know what should be ripe in the garden, so I do think ahead a tiny bit with the protein. Like, I knew the tomato was ready today... only one, and none others even close, so it would have to be eaten alone.
Today's Garden Simple Meal
- Black Beans (precooked and frozen in a meal size package. Never canned -- too salty)
- Brown rice (rice cooker love. This and my crock pot are the only two appliances I couldn't live without)
- Tomato, 2 jalapanos from the garden, plus a couple cloves of garlic from the store
Put the rice on to cook even before going to the garden. Cook the peppers and garlic, chopped, in olive oil til fragrant. While cooking, chop tomato and toss in when ready. Stir until tomato starts to break down. Break frozen chunks of black beans into the pot, stir til thawed. Hit with a little water, little salt and pepper, then let simmer. This kinda made its own gravy... yum. Put in a generous helping of rice (more for the boy, he's always hungry!) and top with the beans. It was literally heaven in a bowl.
We've lately also had squash with tomato sauce and noodles, zuccini and spinach soup, Thai chicken (theres a recipe I've got to share!), and all sorts of salads. Garden dinners are never boring and never preplanned, so we can eat what we want each evening. And, I'm pretty sure we've doubled our veggie diet! I love summer :)