Make Ahead Meals: Vegetables

by Gloria on 28 February, 2016

in Make Ahead Meals

Adding plenty of vegetables and fruits is an important part of any healthy diet. It does take some work, expense and planning. A recommended minimum amount for good health is more than 5 servings a day.  Most people are only getting 1 or 2 servings. Having 7-9 servings is recommended for optimal health, and getting that is where the planning comes in.

My methods for increasing fruit and vegetable consumption:

  1. Grow a garden
  2. Can and freeze excess produce
  3. Shop farmers markets
  4. Shop grocery store sales and buy in bulk
  5. Pre-prep fruits and veggies immediately
  6. Package small amounts for snacks and lunches
  7. Wash greens and store in a salad spinner or glass jar
  8. Serve fruits and vegetables with every meal
  9. Cut the carbohydrates in your meals buy substituting non-starchy vegetables
  10. Stretch your meats and protein foods with vegetables
  11. Stock up on frozen and canned fruits and vegetables
  12. Buy or grow lots of Fall squash and pupkins for your decorating….and eat them all winter!

MushroomsI do shop at Aldi quite a bit as the prices are lower and I can purchase more. Two bags of vegetables and a package of blueberries were less than $20. Mushrooms were on sale for 69 cents so I bought 8 packages. I saw a lady buying one and I wanted to say “why would you do that…they are only 69 cents?” Some people have said they find the quality not great at Aldi. I do try to buy my produce right after they get a shipment.

I also shop at County Market in Pontiac and purchase their sale items and at Dave’s in Fairbury which has the freshest produce. Walmart is the other store in my area and I never buy produce there due to the poor quality.

cooking mushroomsI immediately washed and sliced all the mushrooms. I added a little olive oil to the pans and cooked them for a few minutes until they had wilted down and there was liquid in the pan. If I were cooking carrots or celery I would add a little water or broth.

pan mushroomsFill muffin pans or other small containers with the partially, pre-cooked vegetables and place the pan in the freezer.

mushroom pucksThey will freeze quite quickly and I pop them out and store in a container or bag. I call these little cups of goodness “pucks” and use them in my everyday cooking. At anytime in my freezer I usually have pucks of grated carrots, grated cabbage, celery and onion, peppers and onion, pinto beans, spinach or kale. It is so fast and easy to take a couple out and microwave them to add to casseroles, rice or quinoa, omelets, etc. It saves money, saves time, makes your food healthier….why wouldn’t you do it??

peas and carrotsI have mentioned before that I have a Facebook group for Pyrex collectors. Every week we have a decorating challenge. This picture is showing “Peas and Carrots” which was my literal interpretation of using your orange and green Pyrex.

Decorate with Pyrex

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