Happy Herbivore Blog

Minimalist Monday: Cooking 1 Day a Week

Posted by: Lindsay S. Nixon |

Category: Minimalist

I love meal planning and now I've gone a step further: I cooked all of our meals for the week in one day. In fact, Happy Herbivore meal plans encourage it!

Admittedly, the first time I tried cooking all my meals ahead I wasn't sure if this would be possible. It seemed so crazy and unrealistic. Could I really cook all of our lunches and dinners in one day and reheat them during the week? Would the food still taste good?

My other concern was the practicality of it. I liked the idea of getting all my cooking over and done with but I didn't want to waste hours doing it. Plus, I only have 3 pots (two are rather small) and one skillet, which means multitasking (cooking multiple recipes at the same time) was out of the question, too. 

Still, I had to try it. Even if it took me 10 hrs.

First, I gathered all of my ingredients:

Then I popped in a DVD (I probably should have been more productive and listened to an audio book or my German lesson, but alas!) and got busy prepping and cooking.

Here are our precooked meals laid out in a grand fashion:

These represent lunches & dinners. Because I eat fruit, and sometimes oatmeal, and Scott eats a bread product (such as toast) for breakfast, it made no sense to cook these items ahead. We also have side salads at nearly every meal, which are not pictured.

As someone who has always hated leftovers I cannot believe how much I enjoyed this approach. Instead of having to stop what I'm doing to prepare dinner or make lunch, I could just get up, reheat, eat and then go back to whatever I was doing. I had so much extra time! I accomplished so much more! 

Remember when I wrote about single-tasking for maximum productivity? Well that's in play here as well. Of course not every recipe is going to work for this model but a good bit do and I cannot begin to tell you how fabulous it is. I just loved that when my hungry tummy was rumbling a delicious meal--often with many choices! was waiting for me. I felt like I was at a restaurant all week.

If you've ever been attracted to the insta-ease of fast food, take-out or frozen dinners, this approach is for you. Healthy, homemade food is ready and waiting for you after a long day at work. It's awesome!

So by now you're probably wondering--- but how long did it take me? 

The answer: three hours and thats because I had so few pots to work with. Had I had more pots to use, I'd have really been able to book it. Plus, I got distracted a lot in those three hours too. I was checking on my laundry, sucked into Harry Potter... you know, the usual.

Do yourself the favor and give it a try -- just once. I estimate even when I work at my fastest, with pulling out ingredients, cooking and then clean up, it takes me 30 minutes to an hour for every meal. Over the course of the week that's 5 to 10 hours! Compare that to 3 hrs in one shot! What a savings! This means more time to do what I want -- and also a lot less stress around meal times. Ahh yes, minimalist indeed. 

Have you tried once a week cooking? Do you dare to try it?

Try our meal plans! It makes eating healthy so easy!

1 List, 5 Meals: Summer Lovin'

Posted by: Lindsay S. Nixon |

This week's list focuses on summer fresh corn, tomatoes and garden vegetables! I also took care to select recipes that are skillet or stove cooked (not hot oven required!) and pair recipes with common ingredients so you don't get stuck with any leftovers. (no leftovers!)

For example, the Red Lentil Dal and the Mexican Cabbage share the same can of tomato paste. The Mexican Cabbage also shares a can of black beans with the Tofu Chilaquiles.

Download the PDF here (or use the image on Facebook).

For the Frittata, I've suggested tomatoes and basil from your garden, but feel free to use any vegetables you like instead. By the way, I love to serve my Frittata with a side of toast!  

Additionally, to round out the Red Lentil Dal, serve it over brown rice, a whole wheat pita or with a crisp side salad. Similarly, be sure to serve the Portobello Steaks with your two favorite seasonal veggies sides like corn on the cobb or grilled garden fresh zucchini. 


Foodie Friday - July 29th

Posted by: Lindsay S. Nixon |

Here are some of the tasty foods that came out of my kitchen this week:

Cheater Pad Thai (p. 117) with carrots and edamame. To be even more of a "cheater" I tossed the carrots and edamame in with the noodles when they were cooking! I was also all out of smooth peanut butter so I used chunky and I think the little bits of nuts really added to this dish!

A trio of recipes from my new cookbook, Everyday Happy Herbivore: Sweet Slaw, Roasted Carrots & Chickpea Tenders (which are so easy to make and so ridiculously good!)

Salad with corn, lettuce tomatoes and a Caribbean-inspired black bean dish I'm working on. I love how flavorful beans such as these or even refried beans can really give oomph to a salad!

Mardi Gras Red Beans & Rice, another recipe from Everyday Happy Herbivore. This recipe reminds me what I love about Cajun cuisine -- just a few basic ingredients and so much bold flavor!

We can't seem to get enough of HH's Eggless "Egg" Salad lately -- it was fantastic paired with red bell pepper and cucumber! 

I know I've blogged about this Enchilada Sauce (p. 260) before but it's so delicious and so easy to make that I can't help but have it all the time. It's great to have on hand, too. It's not just for enchiladas! Use this enchilada sauce to jazz up beans and rice, add extra flavor to tofu scramble and it's even pretty spectacular with greens! These were sweet potato, black bean and kale enchiladas. Really delicious and super healthy! 

Love my weekly eats? 

Don't forget to come back tomorrow for a downloadable weekly meal plan! Or create your own shopping list! 

What good eats did you enjoy this week?