Back to School Dinners

Ok, so this post is a little late. But at least now everyone that’s going back to school is back to school. And back to their crazy schedules. And back to having no idea what to cook. And no time to cook whatever ideas they do have. “They” includes me. If it doesn’t include you, that’s cool, your schedule is crazy enough without have classes, homework, prepping, grading, students, teachers..yyyaaahhh…to worry about. Regardless of what your days and nights consist of, we can all use a few quick and easy go-to dinners (and hopefully left-overs for lunch!) for busy nights. Enter, the Wilt-In.

What is a Wilt-In? Why, it’s a dish that has greens wilted in, of course.

It’s difficult for me to get my greens in. There, I said it. I have yet to become accustomed to green smoothies (Ok. I’ve only tried one – once – and it was terrible.) I know green, leafy vegetables are good for me. I know I can’t eat enough Cheezy Kale Chips to meet my daily requirement (Trust me. I’ve tried.) So, out of desperation, I began wilting leafy greens into various dishes, and eventually, I found a green I am in love with (Yea chard!), and a way to eat it that isn’t boring; I’ve yet to get tired of, and it’s super quick. O, and it’s a one-pot meal. Did I mention that? That’s right people, give the dishwasher the night off because this quick and easy meal is ready in less than 30 minutes from chopping to eating, and it won’t make a mess of your kitchen. Hello, healthy dinner!

Rainbow Chard Wilt-In

1 med onion, chopped

2-3 cloves garlic, minced

1-2 TBSP vegetable broth

1 bunch rainbow or Swiss chard

8 oz sliced mushrooms

Grain (quinoa works great) or Protein (beans are awesome) – optional

Seasonings to taste (salt, pepper, oregano, basil, parsley flakes, etc)

In a large, deep skillet, saute onion and garlic in 1-2 TBSP veggie broth (no need for oil). Cook until onions are translucent – about 2-3 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook until tender – about 10 minutes.  I also like to add the seasonings here. Typically, salt, pepper, oregano, basil, dried parsley.

If using grain, add now. Uncooked quinoa will cook up nicely in a small amount of added veggie broth and the broth created by the mushrooms. (Add up to 1 cup dry quinoa and about 1/2 c veggie broth. Bring mixture to a boil, reduce heat to simmer, cover, cook 10-12 minutes or until quinoa gives off little spirals.) You may also add beans now, if you’re using. However, if you’re using grains and beans, wait until the grain has cooked to add the beans.

Finally, wilt-in your greens. If you added grains, you may need to add a little more veggie broth to create steam to wilt your greens. If not, add greens in batches, stiring them into the mix. You may want to cover the pan to aid in the wilting process. Continue to add and stir until all greens are wilted.

You can, of course, add additional vegetables to the mix. Make it your own. Try different greens. Kale, collards, spinach – whatever looks good or needs to be eaten.

Stiring in cooked grains at the end works too. Or spooning over a mound of cooked grains or beans. Whatever is left over.

Rainbow Chard Wilt-In with Quinoa

I also love BBQ tofu  and whatever roasted veggies are taking up space in the fridge. Just add about 1 cup of your favorite BBQ sauce to a sauce pan, warm for a few minutes, then add 1 package of extra firm tofu, with the excess water squeezed or pressed. I wrap the tofu block in a double layer of paper towel, then wrap that in a dish towel and press the block with my hands against the counter. The tofu won’t retain its block form (it gets kind of squished), but it works great as chunks in the BBQ sauce.

I make my own, quick BBQ sauce.

Veggie V’s Quick & Easy BBQ Sauce

1 15 oz can tomato sauce

2-3 TBSP tomato paste (more or less to taste)

1 med onion, thinly sliced

1-2 clove garlic, minced

1 – 2 TBSP soy sauce (or tamari for gluten-free)

1 – 2 TBSP mustard

1 tsp maple syrup – optional

Seasonings: chili powder, paprika, salt, pepper, oregano, basil, parsley flakes

Saute onions and garlic in sauce pan with 1 TBSP veggie broth or 1 tsp oil until translucent – about 2-3 minutes. Add remaining ingredients, including seasonings. Simmer for a few minutes to allow flavors to meld. Add tofu chunks and warm through.

Total time from chopping to eating – way less than 30 minutes.

Shaved brussels sprouts from Appetite for Reduction are my favorite side to make this meal complete.

BBQ Tofu & Shaved Brussle Sprouts

I love this cookbook, and I especially love this brussels sprout recipe. It’s crazy easy.  Thinly slice brussels sprouts (a food processor works great here). Add to a pan of sauted onions and garlic (Oil is a must here. 1 -2 tsp is plenty.) Salt and pepper sprouts. Stir to combine flavors. The let it sit on medium heat. The mix forms a little crust from the oil and the caramelized onions. Yum! Try to flip the mix after a few minutes (5 or so) so the rest of the sprouts have their chance in the pan. Cook another 5 minutes or so, and you’re all set!

With a little planning, quick and easy week night/school night dinners can be healthy and filling. There’s no need for take-out in my house 😉

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