Love them or hate them, they need to be a part of our diets. When I was a kid I absolutely hated them. I remember one incredibly traumatic night, I wasn't allowed to leave the table until I had eaten all of my cauliflower. I was allowed to eat them with ketchup or mustard or whatever I wanted with them, but I had to eat them. I nearly cried. It wasn't so much that I didn't like the taste - it was the smell and their texture that absolutely gagged me! They were over-steamed and over-cooked and just disgusting and flavorless. No offense to the wonderful lady who made dinner that night (my aunt) but, I have learned a thing or two about making not only edible, but absolutely delicious, steal the spotlight, veggies. I can cook up veggies so delightfully, I don't need anything else to accommodate them for a complete meal.
I follow a few rules of thumb when creating a meal.
1. Taste the rainbow! And I don't mean Skittles, but they had the right idea. The thing about veggies is that they are color-coded to help identify the types of nutrients found within. There isn't one magic vegetable, sorry. It's all about variety to achieve a balanced diet and optimum health. And of course, to keep things lively! No one wants to eat broccoli for the rest of their lives. I sure don't! If you don't give a rats butt about nutrients and are only looking to lose weight - veggies are your best bet. They pack a lot of punch as far as being very filling yet low on calories.
The red we see in tomatoes comes from lycopene, a cancer fighting agent - it fights free-radicals. Yellow is the color of Lutein and Quercitin, which help with inflammation and keep the eyes (the retina) strong. Orange signifies carotenes, which are converted to Vitamin A, and on and on. Just keep it light and bright, and you can't go wrong.
Variety is the spice of life, baby.
2. Keep it Light. Stay away from butter and olive oil if you can. Yes, EVOO is good for you, but if you're watching your caloric intake, that's a few extra hundred calories you could have saved! I use Pam spray, water, light chicken broth or some other much lower calorie liquid to keep things from "sticking." If you're using a non-stick pan, a quick spray of Pam and a low-level heat (nothing higher than medium) you should be good to go, just keep the veggies moving with a wooden spoon or spatula.
I use the above ingredients through the course of this 5 minute meal.
Choose your veggies. Chop them up. This isn't Julia Childs kitchen, just get them into largish bite-sized edible chunks and call it good. I like hearty bites of veggies. I also added sweet onion and garlic (not shown) to the mix. I cut the onions lengthwise and use hefty sized chunks of garlic.
This is my liquid. Once I have pre-heated the pan to medium heat (spray Pam on before it gets hot), I toss in my veggies. I throw a lid on there to let it steam for a few minutes. I like my veggies al-dente. That means they still have a little crunch and a lot of flavor, and even a few "grill" spots from the pan. About half-way through cooking, a capful or two of old Newman's went in.
As you can tell, this isn't a serious affair. We're still such newlywed's, I only have one sauté pan and one pan with a lid. Which of course you can see, doesn't even fit. Just set it right on top, who cares? I throw some fresh cracked pepper in there and some sea salt, and call it good.
When the veggies are soft yet still have some crunch and when the onions are translucent, they're done. 5 minutes or so. So the pretty grilled bits on the carrots? They're so yummy with the caramelized balsamic!
I throw them on a plate, and enjoy, just as is. :) If you aren't a freak like me, then eat them with some grilled chicken breast or grilled tilapia breast, that you can make nearly the same way.
Bon a petite!
(I am not a dietician, I'm just a girl looking out for her health the best way she can.)