Home cooking takes time, but not as much time as some people would have you believe. It is convenient eating out. No groceries to buy, no preparations, no cooking, no clean up. But what you get in return for convenience is usually more calories, saturated fat, sugar, sodium and refined wheat flour than your body or waistline need.
Today, being President’s Day in the United States, I decided to take advantage of postponed trash collection due to government workers having the day off and make a few side dishes I can eat throughout the week. (Note: I rarely place food scrapes in the disposal conserving water and preventing clogged pipes.)
I made roasted bell peppers, steamed asparagus and broccoli with wild rice medley. Total time from start to finish including hand washing and drying was 1 hour and 20 minutes. That is almost one and half hours I wasn’t spending sitting at my computer.
Total cost including electricity, gas and water is about $6.50. The vegetables were on sale and rice was purchased from a bulk items bin cutting the total cost by more than half. But even at full price, the number of meals produced from these three simple vegetables side dishes will be far less than several restaurant meals and much healthier. In fact, aside from the steamed asparagus, most restaurants do not serve roasted peppers or broccoli and rice. Some serve barely cooked broccoli with rice, but the extra cooking time for broccoli and rice brings out the natural sweetness of broccoli.
Here the steps I took to make these three side dishes:
1. Rinse peppers and place in oven set to broil.
2. Boil water for rice and rinse rice.
3. Trim asparagus and steam.
4. Trim broccoli and rinse.
5. Cook rice. (wild rice took 40 minutes)
6. Add trimmed broccoli to asparagus steaming water and added water. Cook broccoli until very tender.
7. Turn peppers to char all sides.
8. Removed peppers, cover to steam and let cool.
9. Dice onion and garlic for broccoli.
10. Drain broccoli, rinse pan and use same pan to cook onion and garlic.
11. Added broccoli to onion and chopped into bite size pieces.
12. Drained and added rice to broccoli.
13. Cleaned and prepared roasted peppers.
14. Washed and dried pans, etc.