By Brenna Gordon O’Dea
We are back for another Waste Not Wednesday and we promise it will be as delicious as the last! Today we are taking you from A to Z, through just a few of the MANY delicious ways to liven up those lackluster veggies. We are talking about one of the easiest, tastiest ways to take dinner from bland to beautiful, and the perfect way to use up that final bunch of broccoli or cupful of carrots. Preparing your food in parchment paper is where it’s at. This method was brand new to me just a few months ago, but let me tell you, I have never whipped up chicken so quickly and calmly. Not to mention the results were super flavorful, and, yes, I gotta that word that so many people hate…MOIST. So read on if you want to discover the most delicious ways to make your next meal full of flavor and totally free of food waste!
You roast it, you sautée it, maybe you even grill it, but you are getting BORED of this veg fast, and feeling uninspired in the kitchen. Get out of that veggie-roasting-rut with this fun and flavorful “Asparagus and Chicken en Papillote” from Leslie Beck, RD. This has got to be one of the simplest solutions for a summer dinner that we have seen in quite a while. This recipe also calls for carrots for some extra vitamin A action. When it comes to veggies, the more, the more, the more the merrier! Get ready for some juicy chicken and just-as-juicy asparagus. Plus, you can sub in your own protein pick if chicken ain’t yo thang. Preparing veggies in parchment is also a great way to get your little ones EXCITED about eating their greens! Invite them to help you fold up the paper properly, almost like an art project. Once they prep that lil’ pouch, tiny hands are just the right size for stuffing these savory stockings. You can even make the cooking process sound magical (because it really kind of is). Tell them all about this super special paper that transforms boring old veggies into something delightful and delicious for dinner!
Okay, I’ll admit it, I have a love-hate relationship with the zukes. I have gone weeks eating it every single day, tossed in a pan with some EVOO and turmeric, roasted and toasted until perfection…I have also gone weeks without taking a single bite of the stuff, never craving it, never even giving it a second thought or glance in the grocery store. But parchment paper cooking just might make me give it another shot. This lil’ bundle of joy is filled with fresh cod, tomatoes, and you guessed it, zucchini. TAKE NOTE, the total time to take this bad boy from start to finish, from table to tummy, is 17 minutes. Yep, less than 20 minutes to have a delightful dinner right at the tips of your fingers and tongues. Of course, if you really can’t get down with this summer squash, feel free to choose something else that makes your mouth water…as long as it’s GREEN. Even some simple spinach, kale, or collards will work nicely in this parchment packet creation. And I mean, you don’t even have to stick with the cod. Any other fish of similar taste and texture will do the trick. Tilapia and halibut are always good options, and for all you fish-free friends out there…try tofu on for size!
All the rest
So, your fridge is still full of veggies that are on their last legs. You are feeling, well, to put it bluntly, L.A.Z.Y. The Sunday scaries are creeping up on you and you want to use up all the rest of that produce before you restock for the new week tomorrow. But the last thing you feel like doing is tending to a hot pan over a hot stove on a hot summer day. GUESS WHAT. Pull out that parchment paper, baby! Spice it up, wrap it up, cook it up. Dinner will be on the table before you even have time to panic. If you don’t believe us…take it from this dude, Mario Batali, and his Summer Vegetables in Cartoccio (a paper bag). You can basically swap in anything and everything from your fridge for this super simple recipe to work wonders. Why waste that last handful of green beans and lone corn on the cob? They may not be able to stand on their own for your dinnertime veg, but tossed together as a pair in some parchment, we think they’ll manage just fine.