Maybe you didn’t know this, but I save all my exciting, complicated recipes to cook on the weekend when I have time.
Though I joke on Twitter about living a life of leisure and being a housewife, I’m really not actually that way. It’s true, I don’t work full-time anymore. And I’m only in school part-time right now. I don’t have kids to chase around or drive to various extracurriculars. I should have all the time in the world to do fantastic recipes every day.
Except I also live in the real world. In addition to school I have appointments, chores, side jobs, errands to run, and I do help care for some aspects of our plumbing and heating business. Even though I know I don’t lead as busy of a life as most of you out there do, I don’t have free time to cook and craft new recipes every single day.
(That’s why it’s been a bit boring over here for new recipes the past week. Finals and everything. I haven’t even touched the massive pile of clean laundry piling up in the spare bedroom waiting to be folded. At least it’s clean, though. There’s that.)
When a reader contacted me to ask for some of my recommendations for recipes that are easy to prepare for a busy, working mother who is also finishing a degree, I dug through my Recipe Archives and shared some of the easiest and tastiest recipes I could find.
I thought I’d share them with you too.
When I was working full-time and taking night classes I found the best way to stay organized and make sure I wasn’t doing too much in the kitchen was with menu planning. I would make a menu of five different meal options and make enough for leftovers for lunches the next day. Even now that I’m just in school and no longer working full-time I rely on menu planning to make sure we get the nutrition we need as well as keep our grocery budget down.
I make my own granola which Levi has for breakfast nearly every morning. We use certified gluten-free oats from Only Oats. You can find my basic recipe here and switch out your preferences for nuts, seeds, and dried fruit.
I am currently working on a bunch of new breakfast options as I realize (for me, anyway) that breakfast is one of the hardest meals in a day for a gluten-free vegan.
For lunches, we usually have leftovers from the night before. This makes it very easy as I portion out the leftovers into lunch containers as I’m tidying up after dinner. It’s ready for us to grab on our way out the door the next morning.
This leaves the bulk of planning and cooking for supper/dinner time. I stick to simple things during the week as much as possible. The complicated recipes (though most are pretty straight-forward) you see on this site were likely prepared on the weekend.
We eat a lot of ethnic foods. Indian and Thai curries find their way on our weekly menu at least once or twice a week. Those are simple to throw together and since you can basically put any vegetable in them it’s a great way to use up anything that might be on its last legs. Just turn on the rice cooker when you get home and while your rice is cooking you can get your veggies simmering away in a flavorful curry sauce.
- Thai Red Curry with Tofu – The same process is used if you use a green or yellow Thai curry paste.
- Lentil Cauliflower Madras Curry – You can buy a madras curry powder or paste instead of making your own.
- Massaman Vegetable Curry (Thai)
Of course, as simple as a curry is, a stir-fry is even easier.
The occasional taco night can be relatively easy to do on a weeknight. If you don’t have time to make your own refried beans, you can likely find a suitable brand of canned refried beans at your supermarket. Then all that’s left for you to do is throw some rice in the rice cooker with a couple extra ingredients and saute your peppers and onions. Easy!
I think pasta is a great gluten-free weeknight option. There are some unique things you can do to make it fun and different too.
- Pasta with Fresh Tomato Sauce – This recipe uses fresh tomatoes for the sauce and is ready by the time your pasta has finished cooking.
- Vegan Creamy Mushroom Pasta – Don’t be intimidated by using cashew cream It’s easy to make and you could soak your cashews in the morning before you leave for your day and blend it up when you get home.
- Pasta Rustica – This is a great recipe for when your fridge is getting a bit bare and it’s time to go get fresh produce since most of the ingredients are from the pantry.
- Creamy Sundried Tomato, Artichoke & Baby Spinach Penne – This has become very popular with my blog readers. It uses cashew cream too, but pretty much everything else is from a jar except for the pre-washed baby spinach.
A lot of times, especially in summer when it’s hot and nobody really has an appetite we eat an abundance of salads. I like to add quinoa to salads to give the extra boost of protein and a bit of healthy carbs. They end up becoming very filling salads that last for quite a few days in the fridge so you can get some lunches out of it too.
- Quinoa, Red Pepper & Pine Nut Salad
- Greek Quinoa Salad
- Southwest Quinoa – This is a side dish recipe but it tastes great as a salad too.
- Curried Quinoa with Almonds and Pineapple – I omit the tofu part of the recipe and just make the curried quinoa, add pineapple chunks and whole blanched almonds.
Oh and let’s not forget the slow cooker which can be a huge time-saver. I’m only starting to get back into using the slow cooker again.
I try really hard to make my recipes accessible to the everyday home cook by using ingredients that are relatively easy to find and with steps that aren’t too involved. I like to think that every single one of my recipes are suitable for a busy weeknight, but I know that’s not the case. I hope this brief collection of recipes helps narrow it down a bit more.
I’m the one on the far left. Pfft. As if.