Side Dish Shortcuts

It’s National Family Meals Month and it feels as though we are still trying to find our footing with the school year starting and creating an easy flow routine. Anyone else? Well, if you’re with us on this (even if you’re not) we want to help you simplify your side dishes. The entree or main protein can sometimes be easy if you’ve prepped it ahead of time leaving us sometimes scrambling for a side dish so we’ve got you covered with a few quick and simple alternatives.

  • Freezer section “Steam In Bag” options
    • We love the freezer section to use intentionally or unintentionally. It’s great to pull from in a pinch but we can’t get enough of the “steam in bag” options. Why you might ask? Well, simply because it eliminates turning on another stovetop burner and putting a task on our plate to pay attention to. Pro tip: if you do intentionally plan on using a frozen option, try thawing them in the refrigerator the night before you use them for best results.
  • Produce section options
    • It’s really easy to get caught up in the hustle of following your grocery list and not looking around at the fun new products on the shelf. For example, if you haven’t leisurely strolled through the produce area lately, we have a few quick and convenient items to suggest
      • Butternut squash rotini “fries”
      • Steam in bag green beans, brussels sprouts
      • Anything resealable, or recyclable are our favorites like Pete’s Lettuce and O Organics salad blends
  • Canned Aisle
    • When certain vegetables aren’t in season, the canned aisle comes in to save our budget! Look at the price per ounce to see how the savings can add up. With the texture being very different from it’s fresh counterpart, plan accordingly. These are also an easy way for the whole family to have the same thing with little effort from baby led feeding to make into a puree to eating it as is for the adults.
  • Produce “Fresh Cut” Program 
    • If you are new to cooking (or a seasoned at-home chef) but not sure where to start this is a fantastic tool for quick options that are ready to be cooked as is or with a few modifications like chopping or dicing into different sizes as well as adding spices and additional flavor components.
  • Roast it up
    • Throw on the oven to 400-425 degrees Fahrenheit for anythwhere between 25-45 minutes and give a quick dice or dump (if you’re using “Fresh Cut”) on a pan to any veggie with a couple tablespoons of olive oil and a little salt and pepper. Our favorites are cauliflower, broccoli, zucchini, asparagus, carrots, onionts, bell peppers, butternut squash, potatoes, acorn squash, and the list could go on for days.
  • Herbs and flavor boosters
    • We love amping up dishes with big flavors by using fresh herbs, and garlic and thankfully there are a few time savers in this category. You can find these products in jars or tubes and they are a great tool to use in a pinch. They also can save you a few dollars since their shelf life is a little longer than their traditional counterparts.