Meal Plan: Carrots, Kale and Spices

Meal Plan: Carrots, Kale and Spices
March 4, 2016 holoholo

Our goal this year at Holoholo is to help you enjoy family mealtime and make the most of your time and your groceries. So to that end, we’ll be posting a set of meal planning ideas each month, based on a few Holoholo recipe favorites, with links to other yummy recipes we’ve found online. Each plan is meant to cover several days of a single week, although you could also consider making some of these in bigger batches and freezing portions to whip out during a busy week later in the month. Batching and preparing elements of multiple dishes in a single go helps make the most of your meal plan for the week.

Don’t feel you need to stick to a five- or seven-day plan; preparing in advance for just three or four days of the week will keep you from scrambling to figure out what to eat on a given night while giving you space for spontaneous plans, or take-out on those days when cooking just isn’t in the cards. (Another reason we like batched grain salads: You’ve got something that’s homemade, with lots of veggies, to supplement a take-out night.)

This month’s meal plan is based on making good use of the carrots and spices from Chef Emily’s Red Quinoa and Roasted Carrot Salad and the kale from Andrea Bertoli’s Kale Slaw. We like how the Indian-influenced spice mix in Chef Emily’s salad can also be repurposed for Henrietta Inman’s Roasted Root Vegetable Tarts and to season a roasted chicken.

Start with:

Red Quinoa and Roasted Carrot Salad

Red Quinoa and Roasted Carrot Salad

Make an extra big batch of Chef Emily’s spice mix from the Quinoa and Carrot Salad, and use it throughout the week. You can roast all your root vegetables, for this dish as well as Day Three’s Roasted Root Vegetable Tarts, at the same time, while you work on other plan-ahead prep for the week. (Save a carrot or two, unroasted, for end-of-week soup!) Add some chopped kale to the mixed greens to make the most of that big, leafy bunch! This is a dish that can hold up to refrigerating and eating later. Grilled fish, steak or tofu would taste quite nice with it.

Day Two:

A simple roast chicken is a beautiful dinner entrée that goes well with just about any side. And there are so many ways to do it, from Thomas Keller’s minimalist approach to the more nuanced flavors of Mark Bittman’s recipe calling for cumin, honey and orange. We like the idea of swapping out the plain cumin for an equal measure of Chef Emily’s spice mix, since you’ve presumably decided to make an extra-large batch this week!

The only catch to a roast chicken is that although prep time is quite short, it does take about an hour to cook, so plan accordingly. Set aside about a cup of mixed dark and white meat (freeze or refrigerate) to use in soup later in the week. Serve with any of the sides on this meal plan, or take a tip from the New York Times and place the chicken directly on your choice of greens (Hey, how about that kale we’re using this week?!); the heat of the chicken will wilt them slightly, and its juices provide a base for an instant dressing. (Read more about the technique here.)

Kale Slaw with Sesame Honey Vinaigrette by Andrea Bertoli

Kale Slaw with Sesame Honey Vinaigrette by Andrea Bertoli

Day Three:

We like that these Roasted Root Vegetable Tarts (from Clean Cakes by British chef Henrietta Inman) can be made ahead of time—go ahead and make these on the same day you make the Quinoa and Carrot Salad to take care of all your roasted vegetable work in one go, especially since you’ve already got the oven going. Andrea Bertoli’s Kale Slaw makes a nice zingy complement to the Vegetable Tarts. The tarts’ sesame crust also has a nice resonance with the Kale Slaw dressing. You could even dress your slaw up with some extra sesame seeds. Inman’s recipe isn’t strict about what herbs you can toss in with the roasted veg, so feel free to use any and all of the herbs needed for the rest of this week’s dishes: parsley, dill, thyme.

Day Four:

Kale’s pretty hearty and hardy, but toward the end of the week, even this sturdy green can start to look a little tired. That’s when it’s time for a soup! Soups are great for making use of leftover veggies and proteins hanging out in your fridge — all those odds and ends from preparing the rest of the week’s meals. This Cooking Light soup calls for kale, chickpeas (garbanzo beans), carrots, onions, a little thyme and shredded chicken.