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09 Oct Saving Time With Char: Dinner Time! Plus a Recipe for Sweet Potato Ole

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Saving Time with Char

This is from the “Charchives.”  No matter where I am and what I am doing, people always ask me, “Where do you find the time to prepare and cook plant-strong meals?”  The reality is that between the freezer section and leftovers, dinner is never a difficult meal to pull off.

I also wanted to say that having the right containers will make this meal work for you in the long run.  I am slowly moving away from plastic and headed towards using glass containers.  They are better in the microwave, and just make the food look more appealing.

Read on.  Tell me how you make time to prepare good food for you and your family.  Look for a fun recipe at the end of the blog.

Remember that the most helpful tool for being plant-strong is being PLANt-strong.

Dinner Time

I am tying up loose ends so that the new week is off to a good start.  Dinner is on my mind.  I am thinking of a “multi-task” dinner, which means that while a load of clothes is in the dryer, I’ll get dinner ready.  Not sure why I feel as though I am in a hurry, but I am hoping for an end-of- the-day trip to the gym, and truth be told, I am working on a season of “MADMEN” on Netflix.  I need TV time, okay?

Here are the specs for this delicious dinner.  Let me say that it helps to be a “batch” cooker, because I can easily pull things from the freezer for back-up.

Antipasto:  A mélange of cucumbers, grape tomatoes, steamed kale, two tablespoons of hummus, and a few black olives, which were rinsed in warm water.  Arrange everything  on a bread plate, and make one for each person having dinner.  Quick, easy, delicious.

Note:  When kale comes into my house, I strip it, give it a massage and either sauté or steam it as soon as I get home.  It is easier to store a container of cooked kale than it is to store a fresh bunch of kale.  Keep it in an air-tight container, and use it for various meals, etc.  .

Main Course:  The rice cooker is busy making enough rice for the week.  The steam basket in the rice cooker is getting some broccoli ready for dinner.  When everything is done, I get a bowl and stuff it with rice, kale and veggies.  A healthy sprinkle of nutritional yeast with some hot sauce, and dinner is a hit!

Note:  Making rice for the week (or as long as it lasts) is a great time saver.  You can use cold rice as a salad topper, sprinkle it on your fruit, or, have it ready as a side or main dish.

Dessert:  Grab a ten ounce bag of frozen mango.  Throw it in the Vitamix® (or a food processor, or a standard blender) and  add about  an 1/8 of a cup of almond milk (unsweetened), and make some mango sorbetto.  It is the best dessert.  Creamy and dreamy.

Note:  If you want perfect “scoops” of the mango sorbetto,  remove it from the blender, and place it in a food container.  Put the container in the freezer for about 30 minutes…when you remove it, you can then use an ice cream scoop and make perfect scoops of this delicious dessert.  Your friends will be impressed.  Garnish with some sprigs of mint or diced, fresh mango.

The reality is that I spent ten minutes making dinner.  It took me more than twice that to eat everything.  My point, always, is that, preparing plant-strong meals doesn’t have to be a huge undertaking that ends up being a distraction and deterrent to your health goals.  It should be fun to do, and fun to eat.

You might need some scaffolding in place, and that is mostly steaming and prepping rice and veggies for the week.  Keep the fun in what you do, and you will always have time for yourself!


Sweet Potato Ole

One medium sweet potato or yam

½ cup of salsa (low sodium is your best bet)

¾ cup black beans (cooked)

¼ sliced avocado

Cook the yam in the microwave.  When finished, let cool for five minutes.  Cut in half.  Cover with beans and salsa.  Top with avocado slices.  Maybe, for color and flavor, add some corn (frozen works great).

NOTE:  Want to really save time?  Cook a batch of sweet potatoes all at once and keep on hand for future meals and snacks.  Let the sweet potato be the focal point of your dinner.

Buen Provecho!

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Char Nolan for Engine 2
Char Nolan

Char Nolan is a blog contributor and Engine 2 Extra Coach. She's been plant-strong for almost five years. From Philadelphia, she works in the plant-based whole foods arena, and is also the "vegan features writer," for the "Town Dish." She's lost a great deal of weight from being plant-strong, practices yoga, and is always dabbling in her kitchen to create new, plant-strong recipes. Armed with a degree in public health, Char also holds a certificate in plant-based nutrition from e-Cornell.

  • Leah
    Posted at 02:23h, 09 October

    Great sounding recipes. Thanks Char!

  • Lynnette
    Posted at 05:32h, 09 October


  • Sandy
    Posted at 13:06h, 09 October

    I can’t believe you endorse microwaves!

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