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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Getting the Maximum Mileage out of Your Veggies

I don't know about you,but I get bored with the same things all the time. So I try to be as creative as possible with whatever veggies I have on hand for the week in order to save money and not bore everyone to death!

Using the same veggies, you can serve:
- a veggie tray
- grilled veggies in foil using salad dressing for a marinade
- a tossed salad or dinner salad
- a salad comprised of cut-up veggies tossed in Italian, ranch, etc. dressing (no greens)
- stir fried veggies - add some meat and it's a meal
- steamed veggies.

At the beginning of the week I usually buy a veggie tray from Sam's. With such picky eaters as our foster girls, it's nice just to put the tray on the table and let everyone choose what they want. The price is so reasonable ($10), and I don't have to do the chopping!

Depending on which girls are here, I'll take veggies they like and place them in foil and drizzle Italian dressing over them. Fold up the foil into a packet and grill about 15 minutes on medium. Broccoli cooked this way was a big hit. This week while we've been off, I combined asparagus and mushrooms. Squashes, peppers, and onions are great candidates for grilling, too.

Small potatoes can be wrapped in foil and grilled for about half an hour. When my husband turns on the grill to sear the meat on high, he puts the potatoes in at the same time and then turns down the heat for the rest of the cooking time. We have also made foil packets with thinly sliced potatoes. You can just add butter and salt and pepper or mix dry onion soup with oil (the recipe is on the box). They take abut half an hour, too.

This week my veggies were carrots, cucumbers, asparagus, grape tomatoes and mushrooms. These can all be used in a tossed salad. Or made into a dinner salad if you add your choice of meat, cheese, nuts, beans, or seeds. I enjoy adding fruit, too - apple, grapes, pears, dried cranberries, mandarin oranges, or berries. When the girls are here, I set the ingredients out and let everyone make their own salads according to their tastes.

One day this week I chopped cucumbers, asparagus, grape tomatoes, mushrooms, a tad of onions and tossed them with Asiago cheese salad dressing. The dressing's strong flavor was a great compliment to the mild taste of the veggies.

Stir fry is a great option when you have small amounts left of several veggies. I start with some of my Teriyaki marinade as a cooking sauce. Next I add the veggies that need to cook longer
(carrots, onions, green beans, cabbage) followed by those that need to cook less (mushrooms, peppers, brocccoli, snow peas). If I'm going to make it a meal, I add cooked meat with the second batch of veggies. Serve a plate of fruit and dinner is done!

Steamed veggies are always a stand-by. My favorite seasoning for fresh green beans is garlic salt and butter. Same with cabbage. Really brings out the flavors.

After you've tried all these variations and you still have some fresh or cooked leftover veggies that no one wants, put them in the freezer for soups in the winter. Do the same with bits of meats, rice or beans, and you have a free meal one night!

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Similar topics:

Quadruple Batch of Teriyaki Marinade
Who Invented Meatloaf Anyway?
Grill Your Entire Meal