Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 20 mins
- 2 tsp. olive oil
- 2 shallots, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ tsp. smoked paprika
- ½ tsp. sweet paprika
- ½ tsp. brown sugar
- 1 can (14oz./400g) chopped tomatoes
- 1 can (14oz./400g) chickpeas, drained
- 4 slices bread, toasted
- handful parsley, to garnish
- ⅓ cup (60g) olives, halved, to garnish
Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat on a medium pan. Add shallots and cook for 2-3 minutes, then add garlic and cook for another 1-2 minutes.
Add all the spices to the pan and mix well. Next add in the chopped tomatoes and 2 tbsp. of water. Simmer on low-medium heat until the sauce has reduced, around 10 minutes.
Mix in the drained chickpeas, season with salt, sugar and black pepper and cook for another 5 minutes until warmed through.
Serve on the toasted bread with parsley and black olives.
For best results, prepare the vinaigrette the day before serving to give the flavors time to fully develop.
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: n/a
½ c. extra virgin olive oil
¼ c. champagne vinegar
1 t. Dijon mustard
3 T. honey, preferably local
4-5 large blackberries, rinsed
1 T. fresh basil, roughly chopped
Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
2 c. baby spinach
2 c. baby arugula
2 large ripe peaches, sliced
1 c. blackberries, washed and patted dry
½ c. walnuts, roughly chopped
4 oz. goat cheese, crumbled
Fresh basil sprigs, for garnish
- Add the olive oil, vinegar, Dijon mustard, honey, blackberries, and basil to a food processor container. Season with salt and black pepper, to taste, and process on high until thoroughly emulsified. Taste and add additional honey, salt, and/or black pepper, if desired. Transfer to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
- Add the spinach and arugula to a large bowl and toss to combine. Transfer to a serving platter and top with sliced peach, fresh blackberries, walnuts, and goat cheese.
- Garnish with sprigs of fresh basil and drizzle some of the blackberry-basil vinaigrette on top. Serve immediately with remaining vinaigrette on the side. Enjoy!
This hearty meatless dish borrows elements from traditional Cuban black bean recipes, such as the oregano, dried cumin, and bay leaves. However, it isn’t intended as a classic “authentic” interpretation.
Although not featured here, a tablespoon of tomato paste added prior to cooking would be a nice addition to the flavor profile of this recipe, especially if served as leftovers the next day.
Tip: Reserve the red portion of the pepper top for garnish
This recipe was tested at 30 minutes active cook time. Although the recipe works at that time, the beans were a little firm. Add an additional two minutes to the active cook time for less firm results.
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 32 minutes (+ time to come to pressure)
Natural release: 20 minutes natural release
1 c. dried black beans, rinsed and picked over
1 medium red pepper, seeded and cut into large pieces
½ medium white onion, cut into large pieces
½ T. dried oregano
½ T. dried cumin
1 t. garlic powder
Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
2 whole bay leaves
1½ c. chicken or vegetable broth
1 T. red wine vinegar
2 T. red pepper, diced
3 T. avocado, diced
2 T. fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
1 whole lime, cut into wedges (optional)
3 c. cooked white or yellow rice
- Add the beans, red pepper, onion, oregano, dried cumin, garlic powder, salt, black pepper, and bay leaves to Instant Pot®.
- Pour broth on top and add the lid. Set the pressure valve to “sealing” and select the “Manual” cooking option on the “High” setting. Set cook time to 32 minutes.
- When done cooking, allow the pressure to release naturally for 20 minutes, and then do a quick release of any remaining pressure.
- Turn the unit off and carefully remove lid. Transfer red pepper, onion, and ½ cup broth to a blender or food processor. Cover and blend until smooth.
- Pour pureed vegetable mixture back into the Instant Pot® and add red wine vinegar. Season with additional salt and black pepper, as desired, and stir to combine. Serve immediately over a bed of cooked rice, topped with chopped red pepper, avocado, and cilantro. Offer lime wedges, if desired. Enjoy!
Meal planning makes a big difference in the quality and freshness of your diet and can be a big factor in finding healthy choices at chow time. When creating the plan, the whole household can get involved, which is great for kids too. If you want to save time and money, eat nutritious food and cut down on the amount of waste going to the landfill, then meal planning is the key.
Meal planning is a great way to save time, as you’ll only be running off to the grocery store once or twice a week, instead of having to go regularly after work in a panic. Sitting down to do the planning will only take about a half hour, but you will make up that time by not frantically searching the fridge and cupboards trying to find something to eat. You are also saving time by not having to wait in line at the drive thru.
Cook large meals and make a specific plan for leftovers. This stops leftovers from going in the garbage or rotting. It also gives you a break from having to cook every day. Cooking your proteins in large batches can be a timesaver; for example, fry a lot of ground beef for tacos one night and then save the extra for spaghetti the next evening.
Everybody knows the feeling of guilt after discovering a bag of rotten vegetables in the crisper. It’s common to get excited about cooking vegetables while in the produce section of the grocery store since the veggies all look so colorful and delicious. But if you are not meal planning, so many of those veggies will be forgotten. It’s not just the vegetables we waste, sometimes it is expensive cuts of meat that get freezer burned or dairy products that went sour. When using a meal planner, it’s easier to keep track of expiration dates. Meal planning cuts down on the food bill because it’s a lot less likely that food will go to waste. You buy only what you will need. Fewer purchases will get shoved to the back of the fridge or freezer and left to go bad.
Every health and fitness expert will agree that meal planning will improve the overall wellness of any household. Sitting down to plan out meals affords you the time to examine what you will be eating. It is much more likely that you will eat at home, which cuts down drastically on the number of calories you consume. Knowing that you have a house full of food will make you a lot less likely to hit the drive thru on the way home. Taking a list to the grocery store reduces impulse purchases. Meal planning gives you the chance to examine the amounts of real, whole foods you are eating instead of relying on pre-packaged foods.
Decision fatigue is a state of mind you fall into at the end of a long day. You have been fighting to do the right thing and make healthy choices all day long. Your willpower has been drained. When decision fatigue sets in it’s more likely that you will reach for any food available. Having healthy ingredients in the house ahead of time makes it more likely that you will choose those nutritious foods, even when exhausted.
Gathering all the members of the household together to meal plan gives everybody their say, making it much more likely everybody will pitch in to do some cooking, and hopefully the dishes too.
Getting input from children on what they would like for meals is an excellent practice. It gives children some power over what they see on the table and gives you the opportunity to discuss nutrition with them. This ability to choose teaches them an awareness of what they are consuming that will last a lifetime. This especially helps with kids who are picky about their food.
You will also have a better variety of foods when you meal plan. With the calendar in front of you, you will see when you have repeats and decide to spice things up with some new recipes. You can also plan to buy produce that is available seasonally, which will increase the taste and freshness of your food.
Meal planning for lunches will cut down on the cost of eating out at lunch. Homemade “brown bag” lunches tend to have way fewer calories than restaurant lunches. Brown bag lunches are much better for kids than eating school food, particularly in North American schools.
Meal planning only takes about a half hour each week to do, but the benefits to your physical health, finances, time and general quality of life are more than worth it. It is a good thing to do if you are single or a whole family. It’s an important tool for teaching children about nutrition and cooking. There are many helpful meal planning apps and websites available to help you get started today.
This delicious and easy soup recipe can be adapted countless ways to incorporate whatever fresh vegetables and herbs you have available. Be sure to add a splash of fresh lime juice right before serving to brighten the flavors!
Prep time: 15 minutes
Active cook time: 7-8 minutes (+ time to come to pressure)
Natural release: 10 minutes
1 T. extra virgin olive oil
4 large stalks celery, chopped
4 large carrots, sliced
1 medium red onion, chopped
1 t. garlic powder
1 t. chili powder
Sea salt & black pepper, to taste
6 vegetable broth, preferably organic
1 lb. red potatoes, quartered
2 whole bay leaves
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, chopped
2 c. baby kale, roughly chopped
2 T. fresh lime juice
- Add olive oil to Instant Pot® and select the “Sauté” function. Add garlic, celery, carrots, red onion, garlic powder, and chili powder. Season with salt and black pepper, to taste, and stir to combine.
- Sauté, stirring occasionally, until fragrant and vegetables start to turn golden brown, approximately 4-5 minutes. Add broth and stir to combine, scrapping any brown bits off the bottom of the pot in the process. Turn the unit off.
- Add potatoes, bay leaves, and chopped tomatoes to the pot. Add lid and lock into place. Switch the vent to “Sealing” and set the “Manual” setting to 3 minutes.
- When cook time is complete, allow pressure to release naturally for 10 minutes, then manually release any remaining pressure.
- Remove lid and discard the bay leaves. Stir in baby kale and lime juice, and season with additional salt and black pepper, if desired. Stir to combine and serve immediately. Enjoy!