Big batch recipes are where it’s at! Save yourself time, money, and brain space by making a sheet pan full of roasted vegetables, 4-5 servings of a healthy whole grain, and a pot full of beans or lentils at the start of each week to make workweek meals easy peasy. You can think of the recipe below like a formula – swap the veggies out for others you like (brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, etc) and change up your spices (cumin, red pepper flakes, curry, etc). Just be sure to keep an eye as you roast different combinations as some vegetables might not need as long to cook. Look for golden brown bits around the edges and avoid letting your vegetables get black and burnt – no carcinogens please!
Work weeks are hectic and weekends are no longer for rest – at least that’s the way I’m feeling these days. In an effort to fit it all in we have less and less time for essentials like sleep, feeding ourselves and down time. What would happen if we all set aside just a few hours, once a weekend, to stay in, read a book, make some food and just plain relax?
Big batch recipes are a great use of our limited down time – good bang for your (time) buck! With that in mind, I’m launching a new series on my blog “Something for Sundays” to provide big batch recipe ideas that will help you maximize your relaxation time. You may have to hang around the house – dare I suggest, read a book, watch a movie, or listen to a podcast – but you won’t have to be too hands on with these recipes. First up…
I’m an Italian girl with Mediterranean taste buds so when summer rolls around pesto comes into the forefront of my culinary rotation. Pesto is so easy to make and can be played with endlessly. My little urban garden is currently overflowing with at least four varieties of heirloom kale and a gal can only eat so many kale chips, eat so many kale salads, and drink so many kale smoothies before she gets kale’d out. The solution to my kale fatigue? You guessed it, presto pesto!
My kale pesto has the same umami goodness of a more traditional recipe, but with a little extra kick from the bittersweet taste profile of this blend of kale leaves. I used a mix of laccinato, curly, and a purple-stemmed kale whose name I don’t know but you can use whatever looks fresh and delicious. If you don’t have almonds, pine nuts or walnuts work well too.
I quadrupled this recipe to make 4 quarts, which are now sitting frozen in my freezer for a crazy week when I don’t have the time to cook. These will stay fresh for up to 3 months when frozen, but I wouldn’t leave them sitting for more than a week in your refrigerator. Enjoy with eggs, grains like farro or quinoa, and of course on pasta. Green goodness in a jar – what more could you want from a summer haul!
(yields one quart)
- 6 heaping handfuls of kale (I used 22 leaves de-stemmed)
- Juice and zest of 2 lemons
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup parmesan
- 1/2 cup dry roasted almonds
- Add all ingredients to a food processor and blend until it’s an even consistency.
- Scrape contents into a wide mouth mason jar.
- Store in the fridge for up to 10 days or freezer for up to 3 months.
When you know you’re about to get snowed in, it helps to have a plan for what you’re going to eat when you’re all cooped up. Once it became clear that DMV meteorologists had actually gotten predictions for the Jonas Blizzard right, we knew we were in for a doozy. Queue the mass rush to grocery stores and empty shelves in the days leading up to any actual precipitation. Thanks to my abnormal, self-employed schedule I got to hit up the grocery stores when there weren’t as many folks there and get all the ingredients I needed to bring my culinary vision to life. My biggest meal prep take-away? Plan ahead and get it done early so you don’t have holes in your pantry or refrigerator.
For me it wasn’t hard to decide on a menu, but if you struggle with that it helps to scour your favorite food blogs for ideas. I knew I wanted to make soul and belly warming meals that would make forced nights in feel special. I also needed them to be hearty enough to refuel us after all our shoveling.
Night one was a really tasty (and pretty spicy) Thai coconut lemongrass soup which I’ve mapped out for you below. The following night was pan-seared chicken thighs with caramelized onions, roasted beets and a side of sautéed mushrooms and kale. Breakfasts were protein-heavy. One morning we did eggs in a hole (so much fun if you’ve never tried) and the next we lightened things up with green smoothies. Warm, hearty, and healthy meals. Check, check!
Thai Coconut Lemongrass Soup with Shrimp
Makes 4 meal-sized portions
- 1 – 14 oz can full-fat coconut milk
- 1 – 14 oz can “lite” coconut milk
- 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
- 1 Tbs coconut oil
- 2″ grated fresh ginger root
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1 Tbs red chili paste
- 1/2 large red onion, peeled and finely diced
- 2 stalks dried lemongrass
- 1 red pepper, finely diced
- 2 cups brown, white or shiitake mushrooms, rinsed, dried and sliced
- 2 lbs large uncooked shrimp, tail-on
- 1/2 cup cilantro
- 1/2 cup toasted cashew pieces
- 2 limes
- 1 serrano pepper, seeds removed and sliced thinly
- 2 cups cooked brown rice (optional: make a blend of brown rice, quinoa and amaranth for a more hearty flavor)
- In a large, heavy-bottom pot, sauté the ginger, garlic, Thai chili paste and red onion in coconut oil over medium heat for approximately 5 minutes, or until the onion is tender. Season to taste with salt.
- Add in coconut milk, stock and lemongrass and bring to a low boil. After a 3-5 minutes, add the red pepper and mushrooms. Cook another 3 minutes, then add the shrimp and cook for another 3-4 minutes or until the flesh of the shrimp is opaque.
- Spoon a 1/2 cup of rice into each bowl and ladle soup over it. Squeeze half a lime over each serving. Garnish with fresh cilantro, toasted cashew pieces and hot pepper slices to taste.