It’s not simple making home cooked meals every day when you work 40+ hours per week outside of the home (not to mention time for commuting, obligatory work events, travel, etc.). As a result, many of us fall back on eating out at lunch – either from a cafeteria, local restaurant or (gasp!) fast food joints. As my husband and I have drifted away from eating many processed foods and replaced them with whole, organic foods we’ve hit a bit of a conundrum. Our lunch options are quite limited in the neighborhood close to work and we don’t have time to prep a meal every morning (we are already up at 3:45 am – enough is enough!).
Enter bulk cooking. While we don’t have time to cook every day we do have time on some days to put in some effort in the kitchen. On these days (usually Sundays and Wednesdays) we spend an hour or two in the kitchen whipping up whatever sounds good that week. But here’s the trick – double or even triple the recipe so that you have plenty of leftovers to last for 2, 3 even 4 days of lunches. This not only saves us time in the long run, it ensures we are eating healthy, home cooked meals AND we save a ton-o-money by not going out and plunking $20 on lunch each day.
Granted, you have to be willing to eat the same thing, or a variation of the same thing for more than one day. We don’t mind this one bit – especially considering the money we are saving and the good we are doing for our health. We’ll often cook two or three dishes at a time so we can mix and match to stave off boredom. And each week we try to cook something completely different than the last.
Here’s what we are eating this week: Sautéed lemony-dill quinoa and cabbage with turmeric chickpeas.
The recipe is based on Martha Stewart’s recipe Toasted Quinoa Saute with Lemony Cabbage and Dill.
I tweaked some of the ingredients to save money (like using regular pearl quinoa) and added extra flavor to the chickpeas using turmeric.
- 1 cup chickpeas, soaked for 6 hour or overnight
- 2 cups pearl quinoa (or whatever is cheapest in the bulk section) rinsed
- 7 cups water (3 for chickpeas, shy 4 for quinoa)
- Mineral Salt and fresh ground pepper
- Olive oil (about a 1/3 cup)
- 2 heads savoy cabbage, cored and either thin sliced lengthwise or shredded using a food processor
- 1 ½ good quality green olives (from bulk is best if available)
- 2 lemons, zested and juiced
- 1 cup coarsely chopped fresh dill
- Plan flavored, Greek yogurt for serving (optional)
- Bring 3 cups of fresh water to a boil and add soaked and drained chickpeas. Add ½ tablespoon turmeric, pinch of salt and pepper and bring back to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and let simmer about 1-1 ½ hours until chickpeas are tender, but not mushy.
- Remove chickpeas from heat, drain off excess water and set aside.
- Bring a pot full of fresh water to a boil over medium high heat. Sprinkle a little salt in the water then stir in quinoa and return to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and let simmer for 15 minutes. Uncover, and allow quinoa to sit for about 5 minutes to allow the last bit of water to evaporate. Fluff with a fork.
- Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add about a quarter of the cabbage (don’t overstuff the pan though, just add as much cabbage as can fit while still allowing room to stir and sauté.) Sprinkle about ½ teaspoon of salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until cabbage is tender and golden brown in places, about 5-10 minutes. Transfer to a bowl. Repeat with next batch of cabbage until all cabbage is cooked.
- Add tablespoon of olive oil to skillet. Add about a quarter of the quinoa and about a quarter of the cabbage and raise the heat to high. Cook, stirring occasionally, until quinoa starts to appear golden and toasted, about 8 minutes. Work in batches until all of the quinoa has been sautéed with the cabbage. Return to the mixing bowl.
- Add the lemon zest, lemon juice (I usually add a little at a time to obtain the desired flavor), olives, chopped dill and chickpeas. Season with salt and pepper to preference. Serve with yogurt.
- Goes well with roasted chicken, garlic tofu cutlets lots of other things!