With less time to cook than ever after deciding to introduce homeschooling one of our children to the mix, I have to say that meal preparation is less pleasurable. I can be a decidedly moody cook at the best of times, but I genuinely love putting a meal together when I have time. When I don’t have time, it’s an instant burden; it can even drive me to despair. It’s not a pretty sight when this happens.
The recipe featured here is a no-brainer that I fully expect other time-crunched cooks have intuitively put together before, but it makes it no less pleasing. It’s a very flavourful and healthy meal that is so appealing when in a tailspin because it really, truly just about makes itself.
In the dead of winter, where we now find ourselves, in this part of the world (Eastern Ontario) fresh vegetables are few and far between, especially if you prefer to eat organic, local produce. My root cellar is full of squash, and our coldhouse has some young turnips and greens doing their best to grow slowly in very cold temperatures, but basically I’m at the mercy of what I can find at the supermarket. This is where frozen veggies come in. Far better to get the nutrients preserved in flash frozen vegetables from my own country, than to pick up a sorry, nutrient starved head of broccoli that’s been on the road for far too long from parts unknown.
Two bags of frozen veg inspired this recklessly thrown together meal: one of cauliflower, the other of broccoli. Roasting vegetables is so wonderfully low-effort, but when you make frozen, pre-chopped vegetables your base, low-effort suddenly becomes no-effort.
The method: toss contents of a bag of cauliflower and a bag of broccoli into a roasting pan. Mix together with a generous amount of crushed garlic, red pepper flakes, olive oil, a splash of lemon juice, salt and pepper. Roast for approximately 20 minutes while cooking pasta. Optionally grate cheese (I had Asiago to hand, but Parmesan, Cheddar or a range of other cheese would also work well) to sprinkle on top. I did opt for a cheese topping as a way of building protein into the meal, and flashed it back into the still hot oven for a few minutes to allow it to melt.
1 bag frozen cauliflower
1 bag frozen broccoli
2-3 tbs olive oil
Splash lemon juice
Zest of 1 lemon (optional, but amps up the lemony flavour)
3-4 cloves crushed garlic
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (adjust to taste)
salt and pepper to taste
The result: almost no effort, deeply delicious and pretty darn good for you
If a meal likes this helps to save anyone else’s sanity, it will make taking the time to post this worthwhile. If anyone else has their own five-minute meal to share, please do!