Monday, April 18, 2011

Time Saver Tip: Expedite Your Veggies!

As the weather turns warmer, Manatee and I have a major lifestyle shift: golfing, running and biking, oh my! The days get longer but time for cooking gets shorter. Enter the Badger Girl series of 'Time Saver Tips.' I am going to intersperse these with recipes and share with you little tidbits of knowledge while hoping to gain from you great boulders of knowledge. I am sure all of you have some great time saving tips for cooking and I would love to hear them.

Time Saver Tip #1: Expedite Your Veggies! Don't give up on whole foods and home-cooked meals in exchange for some meal in a box. There are quick, easy ways that allow you to include fresh vegetables without sacrificing time. 

Exhibit A: Frozen vegetables. I love fresh vegetables. Raw, steamed, grilled: I am a happy girl. Unfortunately, as our schedules pick up, fresh vegetables don't always get eaten and nothing smells worse than rotten broccoli or mushrooms. I know this from experience. Even worse: when you have both rotten broccoli AND mushrooms. Shudder. 
During these hectic times, I stock up on frozen vegetables. Now they have these great steam in a bag vegetables which makes cooking them even easier. Pop them in the microwave for a few minutes and you have fresh, steamed vegetables.  The traditional use would be as a side for some meat, but you can also toss them on a salad to make it more of a meal (I seem to connect warm food and cold lettuce with an entree salad) or toss them with pasta and sauce to make lazy spaghetti into a bistro dinner. 

WARNING: Avoid frozen vegetables in a fake chemical sauce. I know that lemon pepper butter sauce sounds good when you are in the store but trust me, it will taste so much better if you throw in a pad of butter and some herbs or pepper at home. Wouldn't you rather eat real, decadent dairy than dried chemicals? I know you would. Don't give in!

Exhibit B: The craft sale potato pouch. I do not know who invented this or how it is made but it is a true work of genius. Pop whole potatoes in this pouch, throw it in the microwave for a few minutes and you have a baked potato. No fork poking required! My mother told me she bought me one and I scoffed. She gave it to me and I rolled my eyes. Now I use it on a regular basis and would not dare part with it. I even take it to work with a potato to make a hot lunch. I have only seen these at craft sales and couldn't make my own if my life depended it. Put your friends, mother, aunts, sisters, anyone who goes to craft sales on the lookout for one of these. It's a great time saver. 

What tips and tricks do you have for expediting your veggies?

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