When I think of simple and nourishing, I have in mind foods that I can whip together quickly for my hard-working family. During the warmer months of the year, we devote our weekends to property work. Everyone is outside the whole weekend, clearing brush, picking up sticks, and trying to get our property ready to produce food. (This is taking us longer than we expected.)
They're all tired, hungry and eager for something simple and satisfying. I'm often tired, too. Although, I'm usually in the house suffering from seasonal allergies -Oregon is the grass seed capital of the world, you know – and I'm working on projects. This is my own kind of hard work that makes me appreciate simple weekend meals.
So here's what I do. For this sample menu, I have in mind baked burritos and other variations involving the same meal components. You can apply this to any meal that lends itself to having flexible meal components. (See my style of Flexible Meal Planning for more detail.)
I cook up a bunch of food on Friday, all meal components. This could involve shredded free-range, local chickens in the crockpot, grass-fed ground beef, a pot of brown basmati or jasmine rice, a pot of pinto beans or black beans, and a double batch of sprouted spelt tortillas. I usually stick to very basic seasonings on the meat and beans – cumin, onion, garlic, sea salt and pepper. I always mash beans slightly to make them saucy. The rice I will refry in red palm oil and season it up similarly.
I'll also prep any add-ons such as dicing onions, de-stemming and washing cilantro, slicing olives, or shredding raw goat cheddar.
I store all of these components (except the tortillas) in the fabulous glass storage dishes from Anchor Hocking. (I know, I sound like a broken record, but they're awesome… they're not plastic and they will last a lifetime.)
Then throughout the weekend, the meals are simply a matter of combining the components. Here are the ways I make baked burritos, immediate burritos, egg burritos, rice bowls and a simple salad to go along with the lunches and dinners.
For baked burritos:
- Slightly warm the tortillas over medium heat in a cast-iron skillet, one by one.
- Fill each tortilla with beans, rice, and/or prepared meat.
- Top with cheese and other garnishes.
- Roll up and place in 9 x 13 baking pan with the roll side down (so they don’t unroll) and being careful not to spill contents. Repeat until pan is full.
- Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes.
- To beat the heat, bake this outside in a portable roaster oven!
For immediate burritos:
- Warm all meal components on the stove-top. Assemble, adding garnishes, and serve!
For egg burritos/quesadillas:
- Fry or scramble your free-range, local eggs as desired. (See how I fry eggs in red palm oil.)
- Place tortilla in cast-iron skillet over medium heat and fill half with eggs, cheese, diced onions, and/or other fillings you desire.
- When tortilla is soft enough, fold the unfilled half over the filled half. Turn over to heat the tortilla and melt the cheese.
- Serve and enjoy!
- As a side note – the eggs pictured are local duck eggs, our first time enjoying them!
For rice bowls:
- Warm rice, beans, and meat.
- Fill bowls with warmed meal components.
- Add toppings as desired – onions, olives, cilantro, sour cream, cheese, etc.
The only other thing I do for each lunch and dinner is prepare a fresh salad. You can whip up a simple salad in no time, especially if you've already done the work of washing and storing all your week's veggies. A simple dressing of fresh lemon juice/raw apple cider vinegar/good balsamic vinegar, along with extra virgin olive oil, and salt, pepper, garlic, and dill is all that's needed for a fresh salad to go along with that quickly assembled meal.
So, with a little prep on Friday, the meals are done for Friday night through Sunday evening. We don't mind having the same meal twice or even three meals in a row, because real foods taste good every time!
I'd love to hear from you what you do for meals on busy weekends – or not so busy weekends! During the summer, we don't need to be busy to be too hot and too tired to cook. What kind of meal planning do you do to make things simple and nourishing at the same time?
This post is my contribution to the Simple and Nourishing Carnival.
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