How to Make Cooking on Week Nights Manageable

January 17, 2014

Fresh Veggies- Fresh Eating

Last week I received a really nice email from a reader and she had several great questions on how she could make cooking on weeknights more manageable, so I thought I would pass my thoughts onto you all as well...

Q: I work in San Francisco every day and have no time to cook during the week.  I was thinking I could cook some sattvic dishes on the weekend, freeze them in portions then heat them each morning and put them in a thermos.   What do you think of that plan?  I know microwaving kills the prana and that's the only way I could think of avoiding it… and I am transitioning to being vegetarian so need to learn protein alternates. 
A: Unfortunately, as you said, freezing and microwaving are not ideal. I occasionally microwave leftovers, but if you have time to heat your food in the morning and put into a thermos, that really is the best idea. Although ayurvedically it's ideal to eat fresh cooked food for all meals, I generally make extra dinner the night before so that there's enough to pack for my husband and I's lunch the next day. I personally eat leftovers that are one day old, but usually not more.  And depending on the leftover, I'll spruce it up with a few fresh things so that it has some stronger freshness. If you're open to taking advantage of weekends to make eating smoother throughout the week then you're one step ahead of the game! My suggestion is that over the weekends you take time to decide on things you want to eat during the week, cut your veggies, make sauces and dressings, etc, but leave the actually cooking of veggies and grains to during the week. Once your prep is done, cooking most grains and veggies only takes about 20 minutes which I think is faster than picking up dinner outside. Also, if you invest in an electric crockpot, you can throw things in the pot for soup (veggies, lentils, a handful of rice, spices, etc) or kitchari (rice and lentils) in the morning before you leave, set the timer for 6-8 hours later, and when you get home, voila, you'll be greeted by your dinner (and hopefully have enough for lunch the next day):). Sauces and dressings come in handy for days, when want to eat something other than soup. I generally make quinoa and basmati pilaf which takes 20 minutes to cook and takes care of my protein since quinoa is such a super food. That leaves cooking veggies and if veggies are already chopped, depending on what you're cooking, they  should take only 10-20 minutes to cook as well. Also, cooking your veggies in a tasty dressing or topping with a delicious sauce makes them that much more awesome and provides some variety. Sometimes I also make wraps/ quesadillas that are pretty fast as well…using things like hummus, black beans or pinto beans as a spread and then topping with lots of veggies. I'm in the midst of FINALLY starting my first cookbook, where I hope to go into more detail on how to make daily vegetarian cooking easier and more fun on weeknights…so stay tuned, I'm definitely excited about this project!
Q: Could you suggest 2 or 3 recipes to start with?  I am Pitta Vata so I am looking for some soupy stuff.
A: Here are a few recipe suggestions: Cauliflower Arugula Soup Cannellini Bean and Kale Vegan Bisque Kale, Fennel and Hummus Wrap Kitchari and Goddess Greens

I hope this was helpful, can't wait to get my book out there! Would love to hear what others do to make cooking on weeknights more manageable. Leave a comment on my blog (here's a link to this post!

Happy day, xo, Kajal

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