Along with the general advice to just throw whatever veggies you have in the fridge into on on top of whatever it is that you are cooking, here are a few easy recipes that work well with most any vegs you have on hand.
“HOMEMADE” PASTA SAUCE
You may think that making pasta sauce takes too long and is too much “cooking” for you. I beg to differ! The best thing about making your own sauce is that you really can’t go wrong, no matter what you end up throwing in there.
- First, the meat. Optional. Cook a pound or two of ground beef or turkey in a large skillet until brown on the outside. Or, chop up some chicken breast into small squares and cook until done (when you press on the chicken with the back of a spoon, the juices should run clear, not pink or cloudy).
- Second, dice a whole bunch of veggies, whatever you have, and throw them in a pan with some olive oil to saute them just a bit. Or, toss in some frozen veggies (frozen spinach works great) or canned veggies. I usually do at least one onion
- Last, the sauce part–you can use plain tomato sauce or one of the jarred sauces (just watch to avoid the ones high in sodium). Heat and serve, that’s all there is to it! If you want to get fancy, you can add fresh basil and parsley right before serving.
Basically the same principal as above, only don’t add tomato sauce. Instead, add some spice! I usually just throw some ground red pepper and salt on mine, or soy sauce, but there is a plethora of Asian-inspired sauces out there to experiment with and find what your family likes.
I also hear rave reviews for Trader Joe’s frozen stir fry veggies, although I haven’t tried them yet. I’m usually shorter on money than time, so I go for the cheaper but more labor-intensive option of just buying veggies separate. If you’re more concerned about getting in and out of the kitchen quickly, or with having something on hand that just needs to be heated up, then these ready-to-eat bags are probably great.
What could be easier than a tortilla, some cheese, and some veggies/meat? Grill up some chicken breasts, (or, to save more time, get a rotisserie chicken from the market). Layer a flour tortilla, cheddar cheese, chicken, peppers/onions (optional), another tortilla – and heat in a frying pan or George Forman grill like a grilled cheese sandwich. Easy, fast, neat enough to take in the car…it’s the perfect food!
(Leave off the tortilla, add eggs, and you have a Veggie Frittata!)
Another very easy at-home fix that sneaks veggies into a kid-appealing package. Rumor has it that Trader Joe’s sells the dough (plain or wheat) for $0.99, although I can’t vouch for it personally. I can highly recommend Wegman’s pizza dough, especially the whole wheat variety. It’s in their prepared foods section (by the bakery) and it’s only $2.50 (approx.) for a package, which for us makes 2 pizzas that serve 4 each. Toppings, like all the other recipes on this page, can be anything. Chicken and onion is a favorite in my family, but thinly sliced tomato, bell peppers, leftover slices of eggplant parmesan, olives, canned artichoke hearts, broccoli crowns, thinly sliced zucchini and other squash all work well.