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Monday, August 29, 2011

Simple Summer Suppers, Part 10 of 10 (Make-ahead Meatless Magic for a Monster Monday: Menu as Movie)

Here's why I love cooking dinner in advance: because when you have a tough day, dinner is waiting for you. Stick with me, kids -- more revolutionary insights await you!

Today was a tough day. As I have yet to develop cloning technology, I am still finding it difficult to be in two places at once in the mornings. Various & sundry other factors need not be mentioned here, but let it be known that in the middle of it, I remembered we had a late meeting with our financial planner.

Yikes! Enough to send you to the drive-thru, right?


Not when you took advantage of a nap-time Saturday to make ahead a delicious & wholesome meal. One that didn't even require reheating!

As with so many of my posts, this is more concept than recipe, and another "go-to" at that.

The Concept
Grain, veggies, nuts, beans, feta

Tonight's Star:


(Confession: I'd never cooked with barley before & only eaten it in beef barley soup. Spoiler: delicious! The hubben prefers to my usual - bulgar wheat & my back-up - quinoa.)

Today's below-the-title stars

Green onion

Supporting cast (who do not get pics during the opening credits)

Baby spinach (right out of the bag)
Black olives (small can of sliced, drained)
Chick peas (1 can, drained & rinsed)
Reduced-fat Feta cheese, crumbled (1 small container)
1/2 cup walnuts (broken up a bit & toasted lightly)
1/4 lite Caesar dressing (Publix brand)

The plot:

Follow directions to cook the barley. (1 dry cup makes 3 cooked.)
Meanwhile, toast the walnuts.
Add the spinach while barley still hot, so that it wilts slightly.
Add everything else.
Top with the dressing.
Stir it all together.
Store in trusty Gladware. 

The review:
So far, we're going on 2 nights. 2 meals so far, and I'd say we have another 2 easily. Drawback: not a great meal for a toddler. The chewy deliciousness of the barley was a hit with the adults but no easy task for one just getting her molars! (Luckily, there was still leftover pesto pasta for her!)

The morals:
We will certainly incorporate barley in future recipes. Although the cook time is a bit long on the front-end, it's simple & doesn't require your undivided attention.  I love to offer a variety of foods to the family, so adding new items to the repertoire is always exciting.

Take advantage of little breaks when you can. It just might spare you a headache or a tummy ache later in the week! (Or very early in the week.)

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