If it is a Sunday, you can most likely find my husband and me in our kitchen preparing food for the week. Most weeks we are really on top of it and make more than enough to feel us until the weekend, but sometimes life happens, we get busy, we work extra shifts, or we just decide to spend a beautifully sunny day outdoors. These times we turn to our 'emergency' foods that will either get us by in a pinch or serve as the base of a tasty recipe. This doesn't always result in the best meal of the week, but it keeps us from caving into takeout or a gluten-free pizza that will leave us feeling horrible later that evening.
Here are our tips and tricks for always having something healthy in the fridge and avoiding quick and easy fast food:
+ Roasted sweet potatoes: every week we roast an entire bag of sweet potatoes. This is quite possibly the easiest thing you can do. Just wash them, place them on a baking sheet, and bake for about 60 minutes on 375. The time will obviously depend on the size of the potatoes. Then, reheat throughout the week as needed for meals. If you have some left at the end of the week, mash them into your eggs or make twice baked sweet potatoes for breakfast!
+ Roasted vegetables: an assortment of roasted vegetables can serve as a side dish, a snack or an addition to soups and stews. We usually wash and chop a mix of butternut squash, onions, tricolor carrots, parsnips, broccoli and cauliflower, then drizzle with olive oil and roast on 375 for about 20 minutes, maybe longer depending on the size of the veggies. Just cook them until they are soft.
+ Crockpot shredded chicken (or other protein): we cook about 1&1/2lb chicken breast in our slow cooker every week to use for salads, making chicken salad, or to add to other dishes throughout the week. It's so simple:
Place the chicken (fresh or frozen) in the slow cooker, drizzle with olive oil and season generously with Trader Joe's 21 Season Salute (or other all-purpose seasoning blend). Cook on low for 4-6 hours depending on the thickness of your chicken. Shred or dice once it is cooked, and use as needed!
+ Whole roasted (or slow-cooker) chicken: this is an incredibly versatile and simple item to cook when you are low on time. We typically cook ours in a slow cooker with this seasoning blend, pull off the meat, then add an onion + a splash of apple cider vinegar to the remains and make homemade chicken stock. We use the meat for salads, chicken salad, a last-minute dinner, or our favorite soup.
+ Hard-boiled eggs: these are another incredibly versatile addition to your weekly meal plan - everything from a last-minute, out-the-door breakfast, to snacks, to a salad topping. Again, if you have some left over at the end of the week, dice up with fresh tomatoes, avocado and bacon for a weekend breakfast or add to a salad!
+ Miscellaneous chopped vegetables: For us this is typically onions, zucchini and squash, sometimes bell peppers. This can be sautéed in ghee or coconut oil + coconut aminos for a quick side, added to eggs for veggies scrambles, or placed in a pot with protein + homemade stock + fresh herbs for a quick soup.
And all those things combined bring you:
+ 'Emergency breakfast': hard boiled eggs + a side of fruit + avocado slices + roasted vegetables or sweet potato
+ 'Emergency Dinner': shredded or pulled chicken + a sweet potato or roasted vegetables + avocado slices + our favorite mayonnaise (or you can make your own).
+ Roasted chicken and vegetable soup, one of our go-to simple recipes that can be thrown together in minutes!