It’s an unusual sighting but every once in a while you will see me flirting with more than the idea of cooking, I will actually be in the kitchen – cooking! Behind it usually lies some really good motivation and this time it was making sure all our fresh food didn’t go to waste before we left on vacation.
Like everyone, when it comes to taking time off you’re always prepping double-time for everything you’re going to miss. So when Chef has long days so do I which made for an interesting couple of weeks around here. (And obviously I looked like this cooking just before we left…)
Many of you don’t know this yet but I recently took over the grocery shopping for our family. Before this, our grocery outings were me following Chef around, kind of like a sous chef, offering my suggestions and picking items that he would inevitably put back and pick-up a better, fresher one or me getting a lesson on how to pick the right…. whatever. He loved grocery shopping.
Now that C is around, grocery shopping became more about speed than smelling the fresh fruit, so we switched roles. Chef can stay home and spend some quality time with C and I incorporated it into my weekly solace plan. Deciding to embrace the process, and the cold sections, brrr, has (surprisingly) been a good change for us.
Since the “the change-up” my perspective on grocery shopping and food waste has evolved. If you’re a healthy eater the grocery store should be your best friend, both from a health and budget perspective. I don’t care how clean they say the food is, it’s still restaurant food, and if you have tried eating out lately then you know, even at the best of times it’s close to 1/3 or more of your grocery bill for the week. Which doesn’t make any financial sense.
So why do we eat out? For many reasons but mainly for convenience and diversity. It’s usually when you don’t feel like cooking and/or you looked in your fridge and thought “Ugh, I don’t want that again”. It’s the inevitable ‘food rut’.
A ‘food rut’ is where we buy the same food, every week and make the same meals. It’s been tried, but switching the day of the week you have that meal on won’t get you out of it. We all get in food ruts – EVEN CHEF – so now with the grocery change-up in our house our fridge is seeing a different kind of variety. I buy things I haven’t heard of, tried or cooked before (I know, not hard) however, it’s making for some exciting times around here for me as I am the one making most of the food for our little one during the week.
Food waste (at least in our household) stems from eating out or when Chef brings something home for dinner that is obviously too good to turn down. From here leftovers are put aside for another day and so is the fresh veg. By the end of the week there can be so many leftovers that it strides into the next or just has to be binned.
Normally, if I am not baking then I’m mixing a post-day drink for the both of us, but this time I am happy to report the concoction I created was actually Chef approved. I am still in shock it turned out as well as it did.
Of course if it’s Chef approved I am going to share the… I mean MY recipe! It’s not often I can say that, as you know. The one thing to know before you start prepping for your vegetable medley is that it’s… simple. Trust me.
The only caveat is that you had to have gone grocery shopping – no empty fridges! All you have to do is open your fridge door and pull out all your veg…. all of them. Don’t hesitate or think what it will taste like, just do it. It will feel weird at first, putting foods together you wouldn’t normally but that is how you’re going to get out of that food rut and make sure you’re not wasting your moola.
In this particular medley I literally had to use everything. Going away for 10 days is a long time and the last thing you want is a stinky fridge when you get back.
If you are in the middle of the week, I suggest using 1/2 or 1/4 of each item so that you still have food left for the rest of the week.
In MY medley: sweet potato, Japanese yam, squash, turnip, eggplant, radish, onion and cherry tomatoes.
Dice everything up into cubes (except the cherry tomatoes, I left them whole), throw into a baking dish with olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic powder and onion powder. Note: my rule of thumb for measuring is I don’t have one (don’t ask how I bake sometimes…) essentially you would like for everything to have a nice coating on it.
Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour 30 minutes, on the middle rack. I gave it a good stir about halfway through, otherwise just leave it. (Remember this baking time is based on 1 whole veg of each kind – you may have to reduce cooking time based on the amount. As long as it is tender and cooked through you are good to go!)
My favourite part of this dish… the radish. So sweet and tender, it was a total surprise! And C loved every bite of it, however, I think she has a slight distaste for turnip like her mother, nonetheless it was the best turnip I’ve had yet. As long as you mix up your veg while grocery shopping, this dish will taste different every time. Also experiment with your favourite spices too.
Have fun Medley-ing!