Unprecedented

 

How many times have we heard that word lately?  A lot.  Life is stressful right now, and I totally get that. I feel you, and I want to help.

 

First, let me remind you that while we’re facing this pandemic the most important thing isn’t making big, fancy, uber-healthy meals.  It is okay if you only managed a peanut butter sandwich for lunch yesterday.  A couple days ago our power went out… I was shocked to see an unplanned power outage, especially in the middle of a pandemic.  But, I mean – really – anything can happen.  That morning my breakfast involved peeling a banana and opening the jar of peanut butter, which I liberally ate with each bite of my banana.  And sometimes, it is just plain okay to eat peanut butter right from the jar.  I’ve done my share of it recently. 

 

At our house we are trying to keep your grocery shopping trips to a minimum in order to stay home and avoid the stores as much as possible. If you’re doing the same, then I want to give you a big shout out and say “thanks!”.

 

Next, I want to help with some healthy meal ideas that involve foods that last longer on our shelves so that you don’t run out of produce and need to go to the store every few days.  The 10+ recipes in this post involve a lot of pules and legumes (beans, lentils, etc) because they are both cheap and last for a long time on the shelf.  The other ingredients in these recipes will focus on healthy foods that are frozen or canned.

 

My goal is to give you the ideas and a shopping list that can help you to avoid the grocery stores for a longer period of time, thus reducing your risk of coming into contact with any contagions. 

 

A lot of the foods that have long shelf lives can be foreign to some of us.  We’re all familiar with rice and pasta, but what about things like dried (or canned) beans and lentils? Quinoa? Couscous? Barley? Maybe you don’t even know what these foods are, and that is also okay.

 

My goal with this post is to share some recipes with you and also give you ideas about what ingredients you can substitute.  At the bottom of this post I’ll also include a grocery list you can print and use for your next grocery excursion – all with the goal of helping you prepare healthy meals with ingredients that will last in your fridge or cupboard. With the help of this list my hope is that your next trip to the store doesn’t need to happen for another two, three or even four weeks. 

 

In my next blog post I’m going to talk more about how to choose certain dried and canned goods and how to prepare them.  I’ll also talk about tips for buying frozen items.  There are a surprising number of ways we can make choices and take certain actions to greatly reduce the cost of our groceries and extend their shelf life – all of which I’ll include in my follow-up post to this one. 

Lentil Salad with Greens, Apples & Almonds

adapted from cookspiration.com

Lentil Salad with Greens, Apples & Almonds

(adapted from cookspiration.com)

Ingredients

Salad

  • ½ cup cooked brown or green lentils
  • ½ cup cooked barley or couscous, rice or quinoa
  • 1 clove of garlic crushed
  • 2-3 cups of chopped kale kale will often last in your fridge for longer than fresh lettuce OR ½ package of chopped, frozen spinach (just make sure to let it thaw then squeeze the extra water out)
  • 1 apple diced
  • ¼ cup finely chopped onion
  • ¼ cup slivered almonds
  • ½ cup feta cheese optional

Dressing

  • ¼ cup oil
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp regular white vinegar or rice vinegar or white wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp mustard
  • 1 tsp honey
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. In a bowl, combine all of the salad ingredients (except the almonds)
  2. In a separate bowl prepare the dressing by whisking together canola oil, lemon juice, vinegar, mustard, honey, salt and pepper. Pour over the salad and toss to combine. Top with almonds just before serving.

 

Hearty Manitoba Vegetable Soup

adapted from cookspiration.com

Hearty Manitoba Vegetable Soup

(modified from Dietitians of Canada)

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 2.5 cups frozen vegetable medley diced carrots, pea, corn, zucchini or similar mixture
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 3 potatoes peeled and diced
  • ½ can of diced or whole tomatoes
  • 3 bay leaves
  • ½ tsp dried rosemary
  • ½ tsp dried thyme
  • 4 cups vegetable broth you can always buy bouillon cubes instead of broth in cartons or cans to save shelf space
  • 1 can red kidney beans
  • 1 package of frozen chopped spinach
  • 1 small can of pure pumpkin puree
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp mustard
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 1 cup cooked small pasta rice or barley (optional, choose whole wheat or brown rice if you can)

Instructions

  1. In a large soup pot, heat oil over medium heat and cook vegetables and garlic for about 8 minutes or until softened.
  2. Stir in potatoes, tomatoes, bay leaves, rosemary and thyme. Add broth and beans; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
  3. Stir in spinach, pumpkin puree, Worcestershire, mustard and pepper; simmer about 10 minutes.
  4. Stir in pasta, if using and heat through.

 

Baked Potato Medley

adapted from cookspiration.com

Baked Potato Medley

(adapted from cookspiration.com)

Ingredients

  • 1 regular potato or small sweet potato
  • 1 tbsp plain yogurt or sour cream if you don’t have either of these you could always use a ½ tsp of butter or margarine
  • ¼ cup beans or lentils or ground chicken, beef or turkey
  • 2 tbsp thawed from frozen diced vegetables or corn
  • 2 tbsp shredded cheese

Instructions

  1. Bake potato in microwave for about 4 minutes and 30 seconds or until tender (time will vary).
  2. Cut potato in half and scoop out inside leaving about ½ inch (2.5 cm) border around inside. Mash the scooped out potato with yogurt. Stir in beans, carrots and cheese until well combined.
  3. Put filling back into potato halves before eating.

Recipe Notes

This recipe is one that the kids can help with or even make on their own, and they can be made the night before and warmed up the next day.

 

Curried Vegetable Lentil Stew

adapted from cookspiration.com

Curried Vegetable Lentil Stew

(modified from cookspiration.com)

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1 tbsp dried cilantro
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala spice mix see note below to make your own
  • 2 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 2 ½ cups broth from a can, carton or using boulion cubes
  • 2 potatoes regular or 1 large sweet potato
  • ½ package of chopped frozen spinach thawed and drained
  • ¾ cup frozen green beans chopped into 1 inch pieces
  • 2 cups cooked lentils or 1 can of lentils

Instructions

  1. In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Cook onion, garlic, cilantro, ginger, curry paste and garam masala for about 3 minutes or until softened. Stir in flour until absorbed. Slowly pour in broth, stirring until combined.
  2. Add potatoes, pepper, beans and lentils and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook, stirring often, for about 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender

Recipe Notes

In a airtight jar or container, combine the following:
• 1 tablespoon ground cumin
• 1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
• 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cardamom
• 1 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper
• 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
• 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

And remember, we’re all in a tough situation right now. If you don’t have some of these spices, just don’t worry about it – most times a recipe will still turn out just fine if you don’t follow it exactly.

 

Garlicky Lentil Ragu

adapted from cookspiration.com

Garlicky Lentil Ragu

(adapted from cookspiration.com)

Ingredients

  • ½ cup green, brown or French lentils cooked (or canned)
  • 5 tbsp oil
  • 1 small onion finely diced
  • 1 celery stalk finely diced
  • 1 carrot finely diced (fresh or frozen)
  • 3-5 gloves of garlic crushed (use more if you really like garlic)
  • 1 can whole tomatoes (19oz)
  • ½ tbsp dried thyme
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese optional

Instructions

  1. In a large, heavy skillet, heat the canola oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion, celery, and carrot and cook for 6-7 minutes, until soft. Add the garlic and cook for another minute or two.
  2. Add the cooked lentils, tomatoes with their juices and the thyme and cook, stirring often, until the mixture thickens and becomes more uniform. Season with salt and pepper and serve with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.

 

Herbed Barley Bean “Rissotto”

adapted from cookspiration.com

Herbed Barley Bean “Risotto”

(adapted from cookspiration.com)

Ingredients

  • 2 cups vegetable or chicken broth from can, carton or prepared from boullion
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 tsp oil
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 3 stalks of celery chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tsp italian herb blend or thyme or rosemary
  • 1 tbsp dried parsley
  • 1 cup cooked barley
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 1 ½ cup cooked or canned romano or kidney beans
  • 1 ½ cup frozen green beans thawed
  • 2 tbsp white or red wine vinegar or 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp grated parmesan optional

Instructions

  1. In a saucepan combine the broth and half of the milk. Heat over medium heat on the stove-top, for about 5 minutes or until steaming. Cover and keep hot.
  2. In a large, deep pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion, celery, garlic, dried herbs, salt and pepper, and sauté for about 5 minutes or until onions are softened. Add barley and flour; stir to coat well.
  3. Stir in hot broth mixture. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 25 minutes or until barley is almost tender. Add a little more of the milk if necessary to keep barley moist
  4. Meanwhile, heat remaining milk until steaming.
  5. Stir kidney or Romano beans, green beans and remaining hot milk into barley. Cover and simmer, stirring often, for 10 to 15 minutes or until barley is tender and green beans are tender-crisp. Adjust the heat as necessary to keep the pot at a steady simmer without boiling.
  6. Remove from heat and let stand for 5 to 10 minutes to thicken slightly. Drizzle in vinegar, stirring to combine.
  7. Serve sprinkled with parmesan if you choose

 

Indian Spiced Cauliflower, Potatoes and Chickpeas

adapted from cookspiration.com

 

Indian-Spiced Cauliflower, Potatoes and Chickpeas

(adapted from cookspiration.com)

Ingredients

  • 2 cups cooked chickpeas or approx. 1 can of canned chickpeas
  • 1 pound peeled potatoes cut into ½ inch cubes (you could substitute sweet potato or a winter-variety squash)
  • 4 cups frozen cauliflower florets
  • ¼ cup oil
  • Salt to taste
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 small onions chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 ½ tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • ¼ tsp turmeric

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 475°F (240°C)
  2. Place two baking sheets in preheated oven for 5 minutes to heat.
  3. In a large bowl, toss together chickpeas, potatoes, cauliflower, 2 tbsp oil, cumin and salt
  4. Remove baking sheets from oven. Divide mixture evenly among baking sheets and spread out in a single layer. Roast, stirring occasionally, for 25 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
  5. Meanwhile, in a skillet, heat the remaining oil over medium heat. Sauté garlic, onion and ginger for 5 to 6 minutes or until onion is soft and starting to turn golden. Stir in ground cumin, coriander, turmeric and cayenne (optional). Add 1⁄4 cup (60 mL) water, scraping up all the bits from the bottom of the pan.
  6. Remove the pans from the oven and stir in roasted vegetables. Cover and boil, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until flavors are combined and most of the water is absorbed.

 

Nutty and Fruity Quinoa Salad with Maple Vinaigrette

adapted from cookspiration.com

Nutty and Fruity Quinoa Salad with Maple Vinaigrette

(adapted from cookspiration.com)

Ingredients

Salad

  • 1 cup of cooked quinoa
  • ½ cup slivered almonds
  • ½ cup chopped apple
  • ½ cup chopped dried apricots
  • ¼ cup unsalted sunflower seeds
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries
  • ¼ cup raisins
  • 1 tbsp dried mint

Dressing

  • 2 tbsp maple syrup or honey
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup honey mustard
  • 2 tbsp oil

Instructions

  1. Place cooked quinoa to a large bowl. Add almonds, apple, apricots, sunflower seeds, cranberries, raisins and mint; toss to combine.
  2. To make the vinaigrette: combine maple syrup (or honey), vinegar, mustard, oil and 2 tbsp (30 mL) water in a jar, seal and shake until well blended.
  3. Pour in vinaigrette and toss gently to coat.
  4. Note: the dressing can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 week, shaking well before use.

 

Beet and Barley Salad

adapted from cookspiration.com

Beet and Barley Salad

(modified from cookspiration.com)

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup barley dry
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 cans sliced beets drained and chopped
  • 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp dried mint
  • ½ cup carrot shredded
  • ¼ cup finely diced onion
  • 1 cup cucumber diced (optional)
  • 1 cup feta cheese (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Combine barley and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for about 30 minutes or until barley is tender. Drain and rinse with cold water; drain well.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine beets with vinegar, mint, salt and pepper. Stir in cucumber, carrots, onion and cooked barley. Add feta cheese to serve (optional).

 

Quick Quinoa & Veggie Casserole 

adapted from cookspiration.com

Quick Quinoa & Veggie Casserole

(adapted from cookspiration.com)

Ingredients

  • 2 tsp oil
  • 1/3 cup diced onion
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • ½ package frozen spinach thawed and drained
  • 2 tsp Italian seasoning mix
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 cup quinoa rinsed
  • 2 cup frozen broccoli
  • ¾ cup thinly sliced carrot
  • 1 ¾ cups vegetable or chicken broth canned, carton or made from boullion
  • 1 cup frozen or canned corn kernels
  • ¾ cup shredded cheese

Instructions

  1. In a large nonstick skillet heat oil over medium heat and cook onion, garlic, carrot and Italian seasoning and parsley for 5 minutes or until starting to soften. Stir in quinoa, broccoli and vegetable broth. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to low and cover and cook for about 15 minutes or until quinoa is tender. Stir in corn and spinach and cook for 5 minutes.
  2. Spoon mixture into small casserole dish and sprinkle with cheese. Bake in preheated 200°C (400°F) oven for about 10 minutes or until cheese is melted.

 

Spinach, Artichoke and Sun-Dried Tomato Family-Size Frittata

 

Spinach, Artichoke and Sun-Dried Tomato Family-Sized Frittata

(modified from cookspiration.com)

Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp oil
  • 1 onion minced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 package of frozen spinach thawed and drained
  • 12 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 can artichoke hearts drained and chopped
  • ½ cup sun dried tomatoes packed in oil (oil drained) OR roasted red peppers packed in oil and drained

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).
  2. Heat a cast iron pan over medium-high heat and add oil. Add onion and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and sauté for an additional minute. Add spinach and mix well.
  3. Turn off heat and evenly spread mixture out in the pan.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, salt and pepper. Add artichoke hearts and tomatoes and stir until just combined. Pour mixture to pan.
  5. Transfer to oven and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until eggs are just cooked through.

Final Thoughts

 

I’ve included this PDF grocery list based on the recipes above.  All you need to do is print it out and fill in the blanks for how much you except to need based on how many meals you’re expecting to make.   If that sounds complicated, I promise – it isn’t!

Try using these four of steps to figure out how much of each ingredient you’ll need:

  1. Choose the first recipe you know you want to make and using a scrap piece of paper write down the ingredients and how much of each one
  2. Choose the next recipe and write a plus sign (+) beside any repeated ingredients with the amount the recipe calls for
  3. Continue to do this will all the recipes you’ll be making, writing as many plus signs as necessary, and adding new ingredients to the list as they pop up
  4. Finally, add up all the numbers (how many cups, tbsp, mL, cans, etc) and then use the printable PDF and fill it in with the totals to bring to the store as your shopping list

 

 

For the most part, just do your best and accept the rest.  If you want to focus on anything, focus on staying hydrated (plenty of water and herbal teas) as well as whatever food choices you are making, try to be considerate of keeping up your daily fiber intake to help maintain regular bowel movements and gut health. 

 

Another suggestion that will be really helpful during this pandemic is making sure to set aside time for some movement in your day.  There are many mental and physical benefits to exercise and getting your heart elevated – and it is more important now more than ever.   I realize many people aren’t able to get outside for a walk, but there are plenty of at home videos you can find on YouTube or other online sources, and if you can’t find any videos you like, please feel free to reach out to me and I’ll try to help. 

 

Lastly, don’t forget to check out this next post about how to reduce the amount of money you’re spending on groceries plus how to make them last longer so that you can stay home and stay safe.

 
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