We all try to eat more vegetables. But how easy has it been for you to eat them at home? For me, not so much. I realized it takes a little work to get them ready to grab on the go or when searching for a light snack. If veggies aren't easily available, I find myself leaning towards not so healthy options.
However, I'm proud to say that I haven't bought as much junk food over the past couple of years. And also I try to limit our processed foods to items such as canned beans, tomatoes, condiments and a few others. But for the most part, we eat freshly prepared meals daily. The meals I try to make consist of a protein with a fresh or frozen vegetable side or maybe just a vegetarian meal once or twice a week.
Anyway, I've been more diligent about purchasing more produce during my weekly grocery shopping. The issue I came across was that I didn't have (make) time to cut up or prep any for snacking or lunch. I decided to just pick a day to cut and portion out veggies for the week. I guess normal people would probably do all the work the day they actually buy the groceries. Meh. I'll try but grocery day is usually the day I plan to accomplish a million other things on my to do list.
I recently discovered Sprouts and how many awesome deals they have. Now I mainly get my produce there. Wednesdays are awesome because you can get last week's ad prices AND the new week ad prices. That's great to know so I can compare veggie prices and get everything in one trip.
It seriously only took me about a half hour to get everything washed, cut, portioned, packed. AND I also thought it would be a good idea to make quick lunches such as Caprese salad and pickled cucumber salad while I was at it. I feel pretty good about myself right now. Let's see if I can continue this each week.
4 oz mozzarella, balls or cubed
1 medium tomato, sliced
Fresh basil leaves (*I had 4 little leaves. You can use more to your liking but that's all my little in-home herb garden had at the moment)
Kosher salt and pepper, to taste
Extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
Balsamic reduction (1/2 c balsamic vinegar boiled in small saucepan until reduced to half. Takes about 10 minutes.)
While balsamic vinegar is reducing, prep mozzarella and tomatoes and place in a small bowl. Thinly slice basil and add to salad. Add a small pinch of salt and pepper and drizzle a little olive oil. Taste and add more seasonings as desired. If serving right away, drizzle a little balsamic reduction on top. I would keep reduction in small container separate from salad if serving for lunch or snack the next day.
*Balsamic reduction will make more than you need for this one dish. It takes just a small drizzle to add flavor. It keeps forever so store it in a tightly covered container to use later. Drizzle on steaks, salads, brie and more.
PICKLED CUCUMBER SALAD
1 large cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced then halved
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tsp sugar
salt and pepper, to taste
red pepper flakes, to taste
Whisk rice vinegar, sugar and a pinch of salt and pepper. Taste and add more seasonings to your liking. Add red pepper flakes for a kick.