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With the new year upon us (and halfway through the first month of it), I have found myself craving simplicity. After the hustle and bustle of holidays, getting back into the swing of a routine can be both difficult yet refreshing at the same time. I don’t know about you, but I consumed way too many holiday sweets and indulged in too many sugary treats over the past month and a half of my life. This has had me craving real and wholesome foods that I know and love to enjoy.
I know so many people who have resolved to make 2012 the year they start eating healthier. However, adopting a healthy lifestyle can be so very overwhelming for any person. There are so many claims, so many “diets”, and so many confusing information out on the market these days. When I feel myself veering off track, I always find myself going back to the basics – fruits, veggies, whole grains, and vegetarian protein is where it’s at people!
I know for me, when I first adopted a healthier lifestyle, knowing what to eat and how to prepare it was the hardest part. I started slow and kept most of my eats simple (yet oh so delicious). When I was bombarded with 20 different obscure ingredients, I more or less gave up and went back to a frozen dinner instead.
My goal with this “back to basics” series is to give those who are taking the plunge into a relatively “clean” lifestyle a guide on how to prepare foods in a simplistic way that doesn’t take much time, is cost effective, and tastes delicious.
First up on the list? Vegetables!
There is not a day that goes by that I don’t eat them — and there is one way I love to prepare them the most. Yes boiling, steaming, or sautÃ©ing vegetables are good, but roasting vegetables is hands down my favorite way to prepare veggies. The texture of roasted vegetables is superior to any other preparation method and the flavors are spot on.
Regardless of the vegetables I roast, I always prepare them the same way and adjust the cooking time depending on the vegetable I am using. Vegetables like potato or squash take longer to cook (around 30-40 minutes) while vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, peppers, and onions take a shorter amount of time to cook (20-30 minutes). Always check your vegetables to avoid burning.
Back to Basics: Roasting Vegetables
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Wash vegetables, pat to dry, and cut based on your own preferences. For vegetables like potatoes, I will sometimes slice them, otherwise cubes work as well. For other vegetables like broccoli, brussels sprouts, or carrots, cutting them into large bite sized pieces work best.
- Spray a cooking sheet or glass pan with cooking spray and make a single layer of vegetables in the pan. Using 1-2 tbsp. of olive oil, toss the vegetables in the oil and add your spices according to your own tastes. I love using pepper, garlic, basil, oregano, and crushed red pepper.
- Depending on the vegetable, cook until vegetables begin to brown (see cook time guide above). Flip halfway through cooking.
The great thing about roasted vegetables is they keep well for a few days in the fridge. Whenever you see vegetables in your fridge begin to go south, you can make a huge batch of vegetables to avoid wasting food! Not only that, but roasted vegetables go with anything — in soups, on grains, as a side dish, in casseroles, on pasta — the ideas are endless!