Today was one of those days where there just wasn’t any pockets of time to stop and catch a breather. Everything was on the get go from the time we got out of bed. But I like such days. I much prefer them to those days where I am counting the minutes to 6:30pm when my husband will walk through our front door and rescue me from my kids. The adrenaline keeps me going, but it is not the case for my kids. As we arrived home late in the afternoon, I only had an hour to prepare dinner before my son suffered from a hunger induced melt down.
Dinner tonight was a simple vegetarian meal that took minimal effort. Roasted zucchini and tomatoes with basil oil, served with a side of quinoa (which I didn’t take a picture of). Here was what I did: I halved three small zucchinis lengthwise, cut up three roma tomatoes into wedges, sliced up several cloves of garlic, and placed them all in a small roasting dish. I seasoned them with salt, pepper and liberally seasoned with olive oil before sliding the dish into a 400 degree oven to roast for 45 minutes.
During that time, I steamed a pot of quinoa, whizzed up a simple basil oil in my mini food processor (big bunch of basil leaves + 1/3 cup olive oil + pinch of salt), set the dinner table and entertained my kids. So far, so good. When the vegetables have had their time in the oven, I poured the basil oil over them and returned the roasting dish to the oven for another 15 minutes.
Then here was the best part: when the 15 minutes were up, I removed the tenderly roasted zucchinis and tomatoes to another plate (as pictured above), and tossed the fluffy quinoa in the delicious basil oil that was left at the bottom of the roasting dish. That gave the quinoa such incredible flavour that I declared it to be the best quinoa I ever made. This technique will work with any starch – small cut pastas, rice and bulgur come to mind. I think steamed potatoes will be fantastic coated with this basil oil too.
I am so glad our manic day closed with a delicious home cooked dinner. Ordering take out would have been the easier, and more sensible, thing to do in such circumstances. But I much prefer this. The cooking process helped wind me down. And my kids used that familiar time for quiet play. Most importantly, sitting down to a home cooked meal with the family, no matter how simply cooked, is a constant in my children’s lives and I will not take it away from them if I can help it.