I was figuring out my breakfast the other day when I realized two of the nectarines I had purchased at the farmers market had gone moldy. No bueno. So I decided to take stock of all the produce in my house, and I came to a startling conclusion: Lots of it was on the verge of going bad. I wasn’t eating it fast enough!
There was more produce in my fruit bowl and fridge than normal. I was pretty stocked up before my sister and niece came to town, and then I added to my stash at the farmers market. There was fruits and veggies everywhere.
So I took control of the situation and, over the course of an hour or so, prepped and cooked lots of it. I basically made my next few meals all at one time (all except the protein). I’m a big advocate for make-ahead meals and meal planning, because if you’re trying to eat healthy, it’s so much easier if you know what your next meal is going to be and where it’s coming from.
Here’s how I handled my about-to-turn produce:
1) SPINACH. I had a huge container, that I had barely made a dent in, with an expiration date of yesterday. I’m not the sort that automatically throws away something if the expiration date passes; I take a good look – and often a good smell – and since this spinach wasn’t slimy or stinky or moldy, I knew it was still good. For now.
A great way to turn a ton of spinach into a little spinach is to saute it, because spinach wilts down to practically nothing. Put a mountain of spinach in a skillet on the stove, and a couple minutes later, a mere fraction of it remains. So I sauteed my spinach with half an onion and some garlic powder, and my nearly-one-pound container ended up filling a bowl halfway.
What a powerhouse side dish it is, too. Spinach is a super healthy green. Google it. You’ll see!
2) BABY BROCCOLI. I bought it at the farmers market because it was unique and something I don’t see every day, but guess what, folks? It tastes just like broccoli. I sauteed the baby broccoli with some jarred zucchini and garlic sauce (the same sauce I used on my cauliflower-crust pizza), with a few extra garlic cloves thrown in for good measure. This went in the fridge (after it cooled, of course), and I pulled it out and nuked it later.
3) ROASTED VEGETABLE PARTY! I love roasting vegetables, because they get super tender and very flavorful, and they keep really well. I loaded up two baking sheets with Brussels sprouts, yellow squash, zucchini, a green bell pepper, and red onion, and roasted it all for 45 minutes at 400 degrees, and used nonstick cooking spray to keep it all from sticking. The Brussels sprouts got a little overdone – a little too much char – but they were still edible, and still pretty good.
I love Brussels sprouts, but I can’t eat them nowadays without thinking of a line from Weekend Update on “Saturday Night Live” a couple months ago, when Deenie, played by Kate McKinnon, says this: “Brussels sprouts are a riot, because they smell like a fart, but they actually taste like a burp.” That probably isn’t going to convert any skeptics, but I thought it was hilarious.
4) GREEN JUICE. I’ve been blending fruits and veggies into a tasty juice, and I made a big batch that I drank all day long. I started with a few handfuls of leafy greens (a salad blend that I wanted to use up), and added a tomato. Then I added some stuff to sweeten it up: 2 bananas, 1/2 an orange (not just the juice, but actual peeled orange segments), and a container of blackberries (which give this green juice a slightly purple hue):
I also added some nonfat milk (for the calcium and protein), and then thinned it by adding water. I would drink a glass and put the remainder, still in the blender pitcher, in the fridge. Then, throughout the day, I would pull it out, and blend it again for just a few seconds, to mix it all up in case the heavier parts had settled, and pour myself another glass. The best part of these juices is that you can put all sorts of things in them. The one I’ll made tomorrow will have strawberries and cucumber in them, among other TBD components.
Keep it up, David!