Have a Plant: Fruits & Veggies for Better Health

Make a Plan, Feed the Fam

You spent hours planning, shopping and cooking a perfect holiday meal. All your guests are full and happy and as you sit back to bask in the glory and relax, you have a jarring thought – your out-of-town guests will be here for a few days and you need to feed them again! Before you panic or put the local pizza shop on speed dial, check out the ideas below. We’ll help you reduce your holiday stress by providing some meal ideas that are yummy and good for you and your guests.

Despite all your hard work on the holiday meal, your guests will still need something to eat for breakfast the next day. Make everyone happy (including you) by opting for something you can make-ahead that includes protein and veggies to fill them up, like these mini quiches. They aren’t just adorable! They can be made ahead of time, heated up as needed, and customized to your guests’ likes.

Crustless Mini Quiches

Ingredients

  • 12 oz. bag of your favorite frozen veggies (we like broccoli)
  • 1 can (12 oz.) evaporated skim milk
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 cups reduced-fat shredded mild or sharp Cheddar cheese
  • ½ cup red bell pepper, chopped

Steps

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Spray 12-cup muffin tin with cooking spray.
  2. Cook frozen veggies according to package directions. Place in colander to drain well.
  3. Whisk evaporated milk, eggs, flour, salt and black pepper in medium bowl until blended. Stir in cooked veggies, cheese and bell pepper. Spoon 1/3 cup of mixture into each muffin cup, filling almost to top. Stir mixture frequently to evenly distribute ingredients.
  4. Bake for 25 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean and tops are lightly browned. Cool for 15 minutes. Run knife or small, flat spatula around inside edges of muffin cups to carefully remove quiches.

Make less work for yourself and give your guests the opportunity to customize their meal by creating a bar – salad bar, taco bar, rice bowl bar, baked potato bar – you get the idea. All you do is lay out the ingredients and your guests can take it from there! And don’t be afraid to get creative – pomegranate arils, cooked rice, and pistachios on your salad, leftover turkey and cranberry sauce on your baked potato, or mango and sliced cucumbers on your rice bowl. Helpful tip – browned ground beef or turkey for tacos or Mexican rice bowls freezes well so make it ahead of time! Another helpful tip (we’re full of them today!) – use microwaveable rice packets to save even more time!

Speaking of freezing food, you may actually be able to enjoy your holidays and not spend them in the kitchen if you take the time to make some dishes ahead of the holidays. Dishes like soup, lasagna, and muffins freeze well and are a great way to add veggies to your meals. Add pre-cut veggies from your local grocery store to your soup, shredded carrots to apple muffins, and use butternut squash planks in place of lasagna noodles.

Butternut Squash Lasagna

Ingredients

  • 1 (21 oz) pkg pre-cut Butternut Squash Planks
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups ricotta cheese
  • 2 ½ tbsp chopped basil
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cups tomato sauce
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella
  • ¼ tsp oregano
  • ½ cup Parmesan
  • 1 tsp minced garlic

Steps

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Toss squash with 1 tsp of salt. Let drain in colander for 10–15 minutes. Dry planks with paper towels.
  3. Stir together ricotta, 2 tablespoons of basil, and ¼ cup of Parmesan in a separate bowl. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
  4. Heat a medium-sized pot with 2 Tbsp of olive oil. Add 1 tsp of minced garlic. Sauté until golden brown. Add tomato sauce to garlic. Add oregano and ¼ tsp of basil. Season with salt and pepper; heat to a simmer. Remove from heat and set aside.
  5. Drizzle 1 Tbsp of olive oil in an 8×8 baking pan. Spoon about ¼ cup sauce evenly over bottom of dish. Arrange 3 squash planks to cover bottom of dish. Spoon half of the ricotta mixture over the squash; spread evenly. Top ricotta with 1/3 of mozzarella; spread 1 cup of sauce over top. Repeat for 2 more layers, ending with sauce and a final sprinkling of cheese.
  6. Set the dish on a rimmed baking sheet; bake 45–50 minutes or until squash is fork-tender.
  7. Remove from the oven; let sit for 5–10 minutes before cutting into squares to serve. Or cool completely and then freeze.

One more easy way to feed your guests at any time of the day – snack meals! These are basically smaller meals made up of things you would normally use as a snack like hummus and veggies or cheese and crackers. All you have to do is create a spread of a variety of foods like fruits, veggies, crackers, dips, cheese, and deli meats and let your guests go crazy! There is very little prep and no cooking, but the meal is balanced and satisfying.

Save your sanity this holiday season by making a plan that will feed your guests and leave them wondering how you manage to do it all! And if you still need to order pizza, we won’t judge – just add some veggies to the pizza or a salad on the side!

Other Stories