Summer Lentil Salad

Trader Joe’s does it again with their steamed, ready-to-eat lentils. This definitely isn’t a new product, I’m just late to the game and bummed I’ve been missing out on such deliciousness this whole time. This lentil salad is great as a meal, a side, a snack or on top of a salad. It has a summery feel to it because it’s a cold salad and because of the lime flavor, BUT thanks to climate change who can even keep track of what season we’re in?? The best part about this recipe….it takes about 5 minutes to make!

Cold Lentil Salad

Cold Lentil Salad

Easy Cold Lentil Salad

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Ingredients:

  • Trader Joe’s steamed lentils (1 box)

  • 1/2-1/3 cup chopped scallions (depending on how big of a scallion fan you are)

  • 1/3 cup diced tomatoes

  • 1/3 cup chopped cucumber

  • juice from 1 lime

  • salt / pepper / garlic to taste

Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well (unless you’re trying to go for aesthetics for blogs and or social media then mix everything but the cucumbers together and then carefully place chopped cuc’s in a pile in the middle).

  2. Serve cold.

Roasted Tomato Soup

So I can’t take credit for this recipe because my client actually made this soup for me. She sent me the recipe to replicate but it’s so darn good that I asked if she’d be cool if I shared it with you guys. She’s the best so here you have it!

Dairy-free Roasted Tomato Soup

Dairy-free Roasted Tomato Soup

Ingredients:

Part 1

  • 7-8 vine tomatoes, quartered

  • 1 c cherry tomatoes

  • 1 c cremini mushrooms, sliced

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

  • 1.5 T balsamic vinegar

  • 8 cloves garlic

  • 10 sprigs thyme

  • 1/2 t salt

  • 1/4 t black pepper

  • 1/8 t cumin

Part 2:

  • 2.5 T grass-fed Kerrygold butter (can use EVOO if you are vegan)

  • 1 mirepoix container from Trader Joes (or 1/2 C each: chopped onions, celery and carrots)

  • 10 sprigs thyme

  • 1, 6 oz can tomato paste

  • 1 c chicken or vegetable broth (vegetable if vegan)

  • 1/4 t Trader Joe’s Everyday Seasoning OR 21 Salute Seasoning (optional)

  • 1 handful fresh basil’

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 370 degrees and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil

  2. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients from part 1 and mix thoroughly

  3. Transfer to baking sheet and roast in oven for 30 minutes

  4. When the tomato mixture has about 10 minutes remaining, brown the butter in a large pot over medium heat

  5. Add the mirepoix and thyme and stir frequently

  6. When the timer goes off for the tomato mixture, remove from oven. Spoon ~1/3 c of the juices into the pot with the mirepoix

  7. Place tray of tomatoes back into the oven and roast for another 30 minutes

  8. Add can of tomato paste to pot, stir and continue to cook (stirring frequently) until mixture turns into what looks like a pile of mush

  9. When the tomatoes have finished roasting, remove from oven, remove sprigs of thyme (from the tomato mixture and from the mirepoix) and add to pot

  10. Add broth, and everyday seasoning, stir and allow to simmer for 10 minutes

  11. Add basil, simmer for another 5 minutes

  12. Turn off flame

  13. Use a high power blender or immersion blender to puree and emulsify the soup

  14. Serve hot, preferably with a side of grilled cheese

Tips For Easy Meal Prep

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If you have social media, especially Instagram, you've at least heard the term "meal prep" or "meal prepping." Basically it just means prepping your meals ahead of time. This can help you stay on track with your nutrition goals, and save time and money in the long run. Sounds simple enough right? The first time you try preparing a weeks worth of food you may find it wasn't as easy as you thought it might be. Or perhaps you didn't anticipate spending 8 hours cooking rice, chopping veggies, roasting a chicken and sauteing kale. Here are some tips to follow to make your meal prep fun and easy!

1) Identify Your Goal

Are you trying to save money? Increase your vegetable intake? Feel more energized through out the day? Go gluten free? Put on size? Before you can do anything else, you have to figure out your why. What are you trying to achieve here? From there you can figure out what your meal prep is going to look like. 

2) Pick A Day (s):

I like to prepare my meals on a Sunday so that they are fresh for the week. Everyone's schedules are different. Find what day works well for you. Decide whether you're going to do one large prep or break it up into 2-3 different days. People that have limited fridge/freezer space might need to break their meal prepping up into two days.  If you plan to do one large meal prep, you are going to need to freeze the later half of the week.

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3) Have A Game Plan/Make A Shopping List:

What is your plan for the week? Do you have certain recipes you know you want to try out? Do you plan on prepping one time on Sunday or twice a week? Do you know what ingredients you have vs. what ingredients you need? Make a list of what meals you plan to cook and write down a grocery list before you head to the store.

4) Be Prepared:

Did anyone else think of Scar and the Hyenas??? No? Just me? Okay cool….Most people will likely have your basic kitchen items; knives, pots/pans, cutting board etc. But if you're new to packing lunch or preparing multiple meals, you may need to pick up some things. Do you have all of the following?

                1) Enough Tupperware/containers, various sizes
                2) Ziplock baggies
                3) Measuring cups / food scale (if applicable)
                4) Aluminum foil
                5) Cooking spray
                6) Cutting boards
                7) Knives
                8) Pots, pans
                9) Can opener
               10) Vegetable peeler
               11) A cooler or lunch box

5) Multitask / Time Savers:

A big complaint I hear is that meal prepping takes too much time.  Yes it might take some time while your preparing, but during the week you'll be able to grab and go. The more often you meal prep, the better and faster you get. Multitask safely. For example you can hard boil eggs on the stove while you bake chicken or roast vegetables in the oven.  Try some of these tricks to save time. 
        Time-savers:
             1) Chopped onions
             2) Spiralized zucchini
             3) Pre-cut butternut squash / sweet potato
             4) Frozen cut veggies
             5) Individual pouches of nuts (Trader Joe's Just a Handful)
             6) Hard boiled eggs (although I much prefer cooking my own)
             7) Rotisserie chicken 

6) Clean As You Go:

If you have a tiny Manhattan kitchen, you don't have much of a choice but to clean as you go. Even if you have more than 2 ft of counter space, don't leave a massive mess for yourself. Load your dishwasher or clean different bowls/utensils as you finish using them. 

7) Have A System:

Labeling containers can be a great way to keep track of which containers are which. If you use similar ingredients in different meals, it can be hard to tell what's what.  If you prepared food for an entire week, I would highly recommend freezing half of your meals. If you don't, you'll likely be eating mush by Friday. Organize your fridge and freezer so you can easily see where everything is. 

8) Pack Your Meals:

Pack your meals in a lunch bag or cooler the night before. Pull what you plan to eat for breakfast to the front of the fridge. This is supposed to save you time in the long run. You don't want to be rummaging through the depths of your refrigerator at 6:15 in the morning now do you?

9) Pat Yourself On The Back:

Give yourself some credit. You took time out of your busy schedule to make time for your health and well being.