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** Rock those leftovers, !

This month we'll be focusing on some strategies for making healthy week night dinners a little easier and quicker.

Strategy #1: always make leftovers.

Why? Because leftovers allow you to do all the shopping, prepping, cooking and cleaning only once, instead of every night.

Here's the idea:

If you're making any baked casserole meal like lasagna or meat loaf or enchiladas, make an extra tray or two and freeze them.

If you're grilling meat, double or triple what you need for one meal, either the same meat or something different, or use the same meat in a different marinade and plan to freeze what you won't use during the week.

If you're cooking pasta or rice or some other grain, double the amount.

If you're chopping veggies for one meal, chop enough extra to use for dinners for the next day or two and enough to toss into lunches for the week.

Then base your meals on the idea of a salad bar: put out all the leftover ingredients and let people assemble their own plates. The leftovers I've mentioned (other than the casseroles) are perfect fixings for hearty dinner salads, Buddha bowls, taco fillings, sandwich fillings and ingredients for stir fries.

I'll talk more about this strategy in the coming months because it's one I use A LOT but for now ease into the idea by making a little extra of just one or two ingredients. Say you're grilling or roasting some chicken breasts, steak or veggies for dinner. Double the amount, slice everything and add to lunch salads or make fajitas for the next night's dinner.

If you start thinking about how you can use each ingredient in more than one meal it will become very natural for you to make a little extra more often and start spending less time in the kitchen. Here's this week's CSA rundown, week #11:

Kale Green cabbage Heirloom tomatoes Cucumbers Rainbow carrots Red beets Yellow zucchini Cilantro Arugula: Newbie! This is the Chief taster's favorite and it's peppery taste is beyond delicious with some thinly sliced steak and garlic aioli in a salad or sandwich. Toss a little into any salad along with other mild greens to give it a try. Some batches are pretty mild while others will knock your socks off!

Hot peppers: Newbie! If you're a spicy food fan simply chop these up and toss into whatever you're making. If you have a little more time guarantee yourself a whole winter of wonderful spiciness by making homemade hot sauce. I make a dozen different flavors every year with whatever I have on hand. Here's a very loose explanation of the first four sauces I ever made.

Method: Puree all the solids and add the liquids to get the flavor and consistency you want. For one 8 ounce jar you'll want about 4-6 ounces of pepper puree, 1-3 tsp salt, 1-2 ounces vinegar, and 1-2 ounces water.

I roast most of the peppers over a wood fire and then peel them. This gives all the sauces a slightly smokey taste. You can roast in the oven or over a gas flame if you don't favor a smokey flavor.

As noted below, some sauces have ingredients cooked together and others have fresh, raw ingredients. Once each sauce is complete, heat the sauce to boiling then pour into sterilized canning jars, flip them upside down and allow to cool fully with no additional processing. The lids MUST seal to be safe for storage. If you're new to canning better follow these directions (http://foodloveinc.us13.list-manage.com/track/click?u=77cc26e06f414291d7c463df7&id=6141b71ed0&e=0ab9ec18fb) or, even easier, simply store in the fridge or freeze them, there's no need for the final heating.

Basic, tabasco style: roasted hot red peppers (i used cherry), white vinegar, salt, water

Basic with fresh garlic: roasted hot red peppers (i used red jalapenos), fresh garlic, cider or white vinegar, salt, water

Smoky & rich: roasted pablano peppers, onion and garlic and carrots (sauteed until soft and somewhat caramelized), cider vinegar, salt, cumin, water

Bright & fresh: roasted green jalepenos, fresh jalepenos, green apple (peeled and cored), fresh parsley, cilantro and oregano, fresh red onion, white vinegar, salt, water Thanks, FoodLover, for reading. Head on over to our blog (http://foodloveinc.us13.list-manage1.com/track/click?u=77cc26e06f414291d7c463df7&id=01d73f8de8&e=0ab9ec18fb) to join the conversation and please share (http://foodloveinc.us13.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=77cc26e06f414291d7c463df7&id=287020f542) with all the FoodLovers you know! Hi! I'm Tonianne, food evangelist and creator of FoodLove. That's me happy as can be, cooking for friends on a camping trip, and sharing wonderful conversation about – yup, you guessed it! – food. Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy the conversation, too. PHOTO CREDIT: D. SHEA

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