I used to spend a lot of time preparing elaborate plant based meals for my family. I would wake up very early in the morning, bright eyed and bushy tailed, and head straight for the kitchen. I was so excited by this new way of eating that nothing could stop me from experimenting and it was all so very, very intoxicating.
Then I would get home from work and get right back into my Vegan cooking. It seemed I was tireless, and this went on for many years.
People used to ask me two things:
(1) How do you do it all?
(2) Can you tell me some ideas for oil-free Vegan meals that are easy and fast?
Question number one is another story for another day. Question number two? I had no answers at all.
Enter Jeff Novick. His Fast Food videos introduced me to the idea that plant based meals can be extremely quick and easy. Things began to slowly change for me after that--I would make some elaborate and time consuming meals, and some fast and easy ones.
Then came Chef AJ's YouTube video Easy Meals to Make You Thin. Take the time to watch it if you haven't yet. It's brilliant, and it's free. Does anyone else think that Chef AJ should start charging for her services? I mean--she gives most of what she does away for free! That's crazy!
Anyway, AJ's video on easy meals became another nail in my coffin of elaborate cooking. But it wasn't only that. In a matter of six months, it seemed like my whole life, system for managing being a working mother and schedule had changed. My oldest daughter entered high school. Other serious complications that I can't go into publicly changed my life forever.
But here I am, still a wife and mother of three that needs to prepare food for her family, three meals a day, seven days a week. And then it happened. The vast majority of what we were eating became very fast and easy, because it HAD to.
No more recipes. Just ideas for meals that I could pull together in mere minutes. And this is one of those things that happened magically on the fly. And we loved it, so natch, I want to share it with all of you!
2 20 ounce bags of frozen shredded hash brown potatoes
2 bags frozen peppers and onions (Trader Joes has 14 ounce bags frozen Fire Roasted Peppers and Onions) or fresh sliced peppers and onions
3 Tbsp salt free seasoning
2 cans of fat free refried beans
1 bag of frozen corn
1 jar of your favorite salsa
optional: fresh cilantro, avocado
Prepare your hash browns in a dry pan. I like to get the pan really hot before I put the potatoes in. You can season the hash browns with a little garlic and onion powder if you'd like. Leave them in the hot pan until they are nice and crispy on the bottom and then flip them. Continue cooking until potatoes are cooked through and you have a lot of crispiness going on, even a char.
In a smaller dry skillet that has been heated, throw in your frozen peppers and onions. Season them with your favorite salt free seasoning (I used a lot). Let them cook until they are hot. If you don't have access to frozen fajita mix and you have the patience to cut up peppers and onions, good for you! Your dinner will taste even better!
Transfer the refried beans into a small pot and warm slowly. These tend to burn on the bottom if you get too aggressive with the heat!
Place frozen corn into a microwave safe bowl and heat on high for 5-6 minutes.
Once everything is cooked and warm, layer it up! Start with a base of hash browned potatoes, some refried beans, the fajita mix, corn, salsa and then optional cilantro and/or avocado.
Voila! Dinner in no time!