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Meal Planning: Weekend Prep to Make Weekdays a Breeze

“What should I cook?”  Whether you’re asking yourself that question or your family is, fear no more!  If you spend an hour on the weekend getting ready for your weekday lunches and dinners, you’ll always have key items on hand for a variety of meals in 15 minutes or less.  Make as many or all of the suggested recipes below depending on how much time you have.  

When it’s meal time, warm up prepared items that need heating.  Meantime, you can defrost frozen cooked rice or quinoa, boil some noodles, steam some pre-cut, pre-washed veggies in bag, or throw some pre-cut and pre-washed salad greens in a bowl.  Any combination works!  

To add variety and flavor to your combinations, make liberal use of dried spices and herbs as well as tasty hot sauces, mustards, vinegars, and other condiments to bring the meals together.  

Trust me, a little planning and preparation goes a long way towards making serotonin-friendly meals a cinch!

Recipes  

Roasted Vegetables

Preheat oven to 425 F.  Place chunks of baby potatoes, purple onion, rutabaga, zucchini (cut out the middle seeded part so it’s not so watery), cauliflower, rutabaga, Brussels sprouts, peppers, and carrots on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil.  Spray liberally with non-stick spray and toss with curry powder (or spice of your choice) and salt to taste.  Cook 45-60 minutes until desired doneness.

Roasted Chicken

Preheat oven to 425 F.  In a baking dish lined with aluminum foil, spray skin-on, bone-in chicken breasts with non-stick spray and toss with Italian herbs, garlic powder, salt, and pepper to taste.  Roast for 45 minutes or until cooked through.  Remove skin before eating.    

Roasted Salmon

Preheat oven to 425 F.  Place a large piece of salmon, skin side down, on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Suggested spices: liberal paprika & cumin, cayenne pepper and salt to taste.  Roast 15-20 minutes until just cooked. 

Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Preheat oven to 425 F.  Pierce a couple of large sweet potatoes and roast on a separate pan or simple on foil then placed directly on the oven rack.  Try purple and white sweet varieties.  Cook until soft, about 45 minutes to an hour. 

Vegetable Soup

In a large pot, bring 4 cups of chicken or vegetable stock plus a total of 6 cups of vegetables – for example, broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, spinach, onion, garlic, carrots, cabbage, etc. – plus a heaping spoon of cumin to a boil, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes.  Use an immersion blender to puree.  Add salt and pepper to taste, and top with an optional dash of olive oil or spoon of grated parmesan cheese to each bowl when serving.  

Easy Chick Pea Curry

Combine a jar of curry sauce with 2 drained cans of chick peas in a pot.  Bring to a boil over medium heat, cover, and reduce heat to a simmer for 15 minutes.  

Balsamic Salad Dressing

Shake all ingredients in a jar with a tightly sealed lid: 1/2 cup olive oil, ¼ cup balsamic vinegar, 2 cloves minced garlic, 2 Tablespoons dijon mustard, 2 teaspoons maple syrup, ½ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon black pepper.

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