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Best Week of Eating Out

We were asked months ago as to how we would go about meal prepping for a week of healthy eating while dining out. Since many of us do not think about planning a guests meal for an entire week rather only one evening, this was a new idea. But, we are always up for a challenge and know that for some creative thinking helps grow bottoms bottom lines and if this information can help fellow restaurant owners/ managers than it will be worth it.

Being the fall season and it being the truly a wonderful season it is, we know it is the perfect time for heart healthy eating. The produce is so beautiful and cozy, it makes us want to be in the kitchen and cook! There truly is nothing better than the smell of fresh squash, root vegetables and onions roasting away in the oven and we the guests coming into your establishments will think/feel the same.

We are especially lucky that these ingredients truly make for a perfect week of meals for all of those who hate to cook. Considering in recent studies showcasing that nearly three in ten adults (28%) think about what to cook for over an hour, only to end up ordering out. One fifth of adults work late leading them to choose alternative dinner options and sadly one fourth of adults between the ages of 18 - 34 admit they are unable to put a meal together with what is in their fridge and pantry.

These statistics not only make this blog valid but, shows us how important it truly is to produce high quality meals that could be consumed every single night of the week. Meal that allow guest to feel nourished and delighted without feeling as though they indulged too much.

Now onto the Fall week long plan!

Step 1: Start with seasonal produce

I started with the beautiful vegetables pictured at the top of the post – sweet potatoes, squash, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, apples, kale, onions, and leeks.

Step 2: Stock up on some basics

These are things I generally try to keep in my pantry:

– Grains like farro or quinoa, soba noodles, or whole grain pastas

– Proteins like chickpeas, eggs, or tofu (or any protein you like)

– Pantry basics like olive oil, sesame oil, vinegar, tahini, maple syrup, and tamari

– Extras like nuts, seeds, and dried cranberries

– And a few fresh basics: lemons (of course!), limes, garlic, and ginger

Step 3: Make a sauce to have on hand

I will commonly make a sauce once and use it over multiple meals throughout the week. I made a maple apple cider tahini sauce for the delicata squash grain salad, then I changed up the flavor by adding sesame oil and ginger for the next night’s soba bowl meal. The sauce can be made in advance and stored in the fridge for 4 to 5 days.

maple tahini sauce:
1/2 cup tahini
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoon maple syrup
6 tablespoons warm water, more as needed
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Step 4: Roast the vegetables

You can roast your vegetables all at once and store them in your fridge to have handy for salads and grain bowls throughout the week, or you can roast them as-needed for each recipe below. I prefer to roast as-needed for dinners and save the leftovers for easy toss-together lunches.

To roast: toss the vegetables with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast at 375° F until golden brown. The timing will depend on the vegetable. I also roast chickpeas while I’m at it – you should too.

Step 5: Make a grain to have on hand

This time I went with farro. I love this chewy, nutty grain for fall. I cook it like pasta in a pot of boiling water until it’s tender but still chewy and not mushy. Its cooking time varies greatly – sometimes it’s done in 20 minutes, sometimes 45. Just watch it and taste. Make a bunch and store the extra in the fridge.

Here are 3 Simple Meals to make!

1. Roasted Delicata Squash Salad

Thinly slice a small bunch of kale and massage it with a drizzle of olive oil, minced garlic, a squeeze of lemon and a pinch of salt. Toss in some farro and a healthy drizzle of the tahini sauce. Assemble salads with roasted chickpeas, roasted squash, roasted onions, chopped apples and dried cranberries. Season to taste.

2. Soba Bowls with Roasted Broccoli

Start with your leftover tahini sauce and add a drizzle of sesame oil and some minced ginger. Cook your soba noodles according to the package directions. Drain and rinse them to keep them from getting gloopy. Toss the noodles with a bit of sesame oil and a generous scoop of the tahini sauce. Top bowls with roasted broccoli, roasted sweet potato, tofu (optional: sesame seeds and avocado). Serve with the remaining tahini sauce and lime slices.

3. Farro Fried Rice

This is a great way to use up leftover farro from recipe #1. Heat oil in a medium skillet, add sliced leeks and a pinch of salt and sauté until soft. Add shredded Brussels sprouts and cook until soft and golden. Add minced garlic, ginger and rice vinegar and toss. Add the farro, a drizzle of tamari (or soy sauce). Cook until warmed through and season to taste. Serve with a fried egg, chopped green onions and sriracha on the side. (alternatively, you could mix a scrambled egg into your fried rice).

2016-10-19 00:00:00
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