Do you plan your meals in advance each week? It can take a little time to do at first, but it saves so much time in the long-run. Once you get a good system going, it gets easier every time.
And what’s more, planning your dinners (and breakfasts, lunches, and snacks) ahead of time means you’ll save money, and you won’t have to worry about those hangry cookie and chip temptations at the grocery store.
One of my favorite plan-ahead tips is to stock up on whatever veggies are on sale that week at the store. I love roasting up a few sheet pans of veggies to use in salads, soup, sides, or as a main dish.
This method lets me cook once or twice a week and then I can take it easy on the other days because there’s minimal prep and cooking.
Roasted veggies, though so yummy and easy to make, can get a little boring at times, am I right? I came up with a delicious Dried Cranberry Gremolata made with loads of fresh herbs, and citrus zest and juice.
Its fresh, vibrant flavors and colors will perk up any roasted veggie dish.
Another tip that helps me immensely is making sure there is always something on my weekly menu that everyone in the family can look forward to. For one kid that may be broccoli as a side with dinner.
Someone else may request having a salad bar dinner. The choices are endless, naturally, which makes it really fun to get everyone involved.
Also, try new foods. Change up a favorite recipe or give it an upgrade. For a bit of sweetness, try cranberries. They can be a natural bacteria blocker–their Type-A proanthocyanidins (or PACs), provide an antibacterial effect by preventing certain UTI-causing bacteria from sticking.
Cranberries don’t have to be reserved for sweet recipes. Remember this rustic root vegetable galette? Make a big batch of this savory salad to eat for lunch throughout the week. Those tart and tangy ruby cranberries make any salad better.
What are your meal planning tips? Do you use a template of favorite meals and rotate them, or do you seek out fun, new recipes to keep things interesting?
Roasted Veggies with Dried Cranberry Gremolata
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large head cauliflower cut into florets
- 2 medium sweet potatoes peeled (if desired), and cubed
- 1 onion cut into 1-inch dice
- 2 tablespoons za'atar
- Sea salt and pepper to taste
- Juice and zest of 1 orange
- Juice and zest of 1 lemon
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 cup Craisins® Dried Cranberries roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup pistachios finely chopped
- 1/2 fresh herbs chopped (cilantro, oregano, mint)
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- Sea salt and black pepper
- 4 cups cooked millet quinoa, brown rice, or couscous
- Fresh herbs for garnish
- Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or lightly oil.
- Place cauliflower florets, sweet potato cubes, and onion in a large bowl. Drizzle the olive oil over the veggies. Use your hands to toss the veggies with the oil until they are well-coated. Sprinkle the za'atar over the veggies and season well with salt and pepper. Gently toss to coat with the spice mixture.
- Transfer the veggies to the prepared baking sheet and arrange in a single, even layer. Roast for 20-25 minutes, or until all of the veggies are tender-crisp.
- Meanwhile, prepare the Dried Cranberry Gremolata. Combine citrus juices and zest in a medium bowl and stir in olive oil. Set aside.
- In another bowl, combine the dried cranberries, pistachios, herbs, and garlic. Pour the sauce over the top and stir well. Season with sea salt and black pepper, to taste. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
- To serve, divide the cooked grains between four shallow serving bowls. Top with the roasted veggies and a big spoonful of the Dried Cranberry Gremolata. Garnish with a few more fresh herbs. Serve immediately.