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Easy weekday meals for a family can be made by adding protein to just one of our 4-minute meals.

Easy Weekday Meal Ideas from Chef Tina Bourbeau

I have three requirements when I make dinner for myself at the end of a busy day (already spent in the kitchen!). 1) Preparations must be fast 2) It should be pretty healthy 3) Ingredients must be great.

It’s the last requirement which really allows me to keep things simple. If you have great ingredients, less is more. And I don’t like leftovers but also hate wasting food, so rarely do I over-produce, which allows me to keep portions manageable.

Normally I’ll make a salad or some mixed grain and greens and then top up with a cooked protein – which I cook à la minute. So where most of the components are a quick mix, a chop or a stir, the only real cooking is a simple hunk of protein. From my recently launched line of vegetarian meals, I frequently use their components within them in broader and newly combined ways, particularly the grains. Let me explain….

Last night for example, I had some left over mixed grains from the Vegetarian Macro Veggies and Grains 4-Minute meal. I had some Japanese plum-flavored natto, a small and lovely skirt steak and some radish-leaf kimchee from Koreatown. I mixed up the natto, grain mix and kimchee, added a drop of soy sauce and sesame oil. I pan-seared my steak to rare in sesame and olive oils and then piled the sticky natto concoction atop my sizzling steak as soon as it came out of the pan. Spicy, salty, sticky, nutty, vegetal and delicious!

Ok, so you don’t have natto and kimchee in your fridge? How about hummus? I start with one Vegetarian Falafel & Mediterranean Mezze 4-Minute meal which I cook according to directions then allow to come to room temp with the plastic seal peeled off. I always have some hummus around (Sabra Supremely Spicy!); I sear a couple of our delicious lamb loin chops. I whip up some tzatziki (strained yogurt, lemon zest, black pepper, skinless and seedless cucumber brunoise, sea salt, dill and/or mint if I have, and olive oil); I steam some spinach with lemon, garlic and sea salt. I’ll have either some pita chips or some Mary’s Gone Crackers (love that texture with hummus and yogurt) to scoop with. The addition of these few extras allows me to transform one 4-Minute meal into a feast. I plate the whole thing family-style and serve with the hummus, tzatziki, more olive oil and lemon wedges on the side. Yum.

What are your favorite 4-minute meals? Let us know on the FreshDirect Facebook page or via Twitter (@FreshDirect).

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