Who wants to cook between Thanksgiving and Christmas?  I'm thinking no one.  We've finished all our TG leftovers and some of us overloaded on potato latkes (guilty).  And some of you are probably gearing up to make big Christmas and/or New Years feast.  So I thought this was a good time to share my favorite quick, EZ and healthy recipes.  Or, as I like to call them, throw together meals.  The only downside is that because they are convenient they come in plastic containers.  I try to be anti-plastic since plastic is forever and an environmental killer.  So these fall under the 20% of the 80/20 rule for being good. 

First up is Mirepoix.  Have you heard of this sauce?  I absolutely love it!  Which makes it so weird that I had completely forgotten about it for years.  You see, once upon a time, in another life, I was married to a big Italian family.  When the aunts found out that I used marinara sauce from a jar, well, it was the equivalent of an international incident.  They literally showed up on our doorstep, ingredients in hand, to teach me how to make sauce.  One of those sauces was Mirepoix.  It had disappeared from my memory until I was watching Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy.  If you are a fan of food and travel, especially Italy, watch this show.  Well, Stanley went to visit his parents, and his mother was making Mirepoix!  I nearly jumped through the TV.

Now, Mirepoix involves some prep, cutting onions, celery and carrots, not that that's a bad thing, but if you don't have time, it's nice to know that the foodies at Traders Joe's have done all the work for us. 

You can find the Mirepoix mix in the produce section.    

  • Dump the contents of the container in a pan and sauté in olive oil. It smells amazing.
  • Cook until the carrots get soft, about 10 minutes.
  • Add a can of chopped tomatoes (regular or fire roasted) and a can of tomato sauce.  Only use the canned ones because they are not spiced like the jar sauce.  You don't want any other spices competing with the Mirepoix flavors.
  • Then add in coconut sugar.  I love this sugar, it's a healthy alternative, and tastes great.  I use about a 1/2 cup.  This sauce is supposed to be a little sweet, I like it a lot sweet, so keep tasting to get your desired sweetness.  
  • Stir and cook about 10 more minutes and that's it!
  • And while that's cooking you can boil some water for the pasta.  I use TJ's gluten free brown rice quinoa spaghetti or brown rice penne, topped with some Parmesan and basil.  
  • I've also been known to eat this sauce sans pasta, it's that good!
Shout out to Stanley Tucci's Mom!

From Italian to Asian with Asian Style Vegetable Stir Fry.  Another container from Trader Joe's, healthy veggies ready to cook.  You can pour this over rice, quinoa or have it plain.  I like to add chicken, but it's also a great meatless meal.

  •  Stir fry veggies in a wok or frying pan with olive oil.
  •  Add some sesame oil to taste.  Once you put the sesame oil in, the veggies immediately take on an Asian flavor.  
  • Optional - I add a little bit of Gochujang which is a fermented chili paste.  I got it online.  You can also find it if you have an Asian market near you.  It's hot, so how much you use depends on your taste buds.  Fermented foods are good for your gut, so although this dish is good without it too, this gives it an added health kick.
  • The veggies cook quickly, about 10 minutes.
  • When the veggies are done I like to add chicken, raw cashews and toasted sesame dressing.  So good!
Meatless burgers.  What could be easier than a (plant based) burger and salad?  Impossible Burgers are so close to tasting like the real thing they even fooled my husband, (before he was sick).  He's from the midwest, where they eat meat with a side of meat!   So if he liked them, just saying, it's a good testimonial.   This small package makes 4 burgers.  I'd literally cut the square twice and we'd have square burgers.  Yes, I'm that lazy, or just a rebel.  Now they have them in ready made patties.  A little more expensive but I think it's worth it, you know, so we can have round burgers, haha.  Gluten free rolls and an arugula and sprouted green salad.  Another dinner served in 10 minutes!

Happy Eating!