Personally, I am more of a sweets girl than a vegetable fiend, but every once in a while I get this silly notion that I am going to eat healthier. Especially around the first of the year, I get on this kick that “I am going to look like a super model by summer” and start working out more, along with every other person who wrote this on their New Years Resolution, and I will do this by eating more fruits and vegetables.
Fruits aren’t usually a problem for me, but unless I am forcing myself to drink my V8 with more meals than breakfast, I am not getting my daily required servings of vegetables. I’d grab a roll, a piece of chocolate cake, a cookie, or a milkshake first. Who wants a vegetable when you can have a decadent piece of chocolate? It has antioxidants, right? Better yet, if it’s chocolate ice cream, it also has calcium. Yeah, well, I have finally given into the battle won by my waistline, when the world according to Tiffany (chocolate ice cream is healthy) was creeping my scale to new heights and my dreams of looking like Cindy Crawford or Niki Taylor by summer were dreams of 6 months too late.
It was time for operation veggies. In an effort to getting myself back on track, I found a very simple way of cooking vegetables that was low in calorie, very simple to do, and I actually like them! They taste great!
All you need are:
Vegetables of choice (I chose some yellow and orange carrots, broccoli, snap peas, and green beans)
Cooking spray (I like to use the store brand, butter flavored cooking spray. It has zero calories.)
Baking sheet (I used two of them because I had a lot of vegetables I wanted to bake, but how many you need, really depends on how many vegetables you want.)
Seasoning (I don’t normally add anything because I like the vegetables baked with the butter flavored cooking spray, but you may prefer to add some salt, pepper, maybe some rosemary, fresh basil, garlic…)
Parmesan Cheese (Sometimes I like to sprinkle a couple of teaspoons on top when I make a bowl of baked vegetables. It adds some nice flavor.)
First, you set the oven to 400 degrees. Second, you clean and prepare your vegetables in slices or dices of your choosing. I tend to cut the florets from the broccoli, leave the beans and snap peas whole, and peel and slice carrots into 1 inch chunks. In the picture below, you will see that I used the small bags of baby carrots this time. In that case, I did not need to peel or cut up the carrots. However, it did take longer because I didn’t. I would recommend cutting them up a little bit more so they cook quicker.
Third (optional step), place the vegetables in a bowl and toss them with the spices of your choosing. You may want to add a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil to every 2 cups of vegetables to help blend and adhere the dry spices to your vegetables. Fourth, you lay out your vegetables on your greased baking sheets, I just spray the pans with cooking spray, then lightly spray the tops of the vegetables with cooking spray as well (you can skip spraying with cooking spray on top if you added the extra virgin olive oil in step three). Fifth, when the oven is ready, place the baking sheets in the oven for 20 minutes. At the 10 minute mark, you may want to mix the vegetables around on the pan a little bit, then put them back in the oven for the remaining 10 minutes.
Make sure the vegetables are a single layer on the baking sheets to ensure even cooking.
Frozen vegetables take less time to bake than fresh vegetables. Some fresh vegetables, such as carrots, take closer to 30 minutes to bake.
The smaller the vegetable and the thinner the vegetable, the quicker the vegetable will cook.
When I make my vegetables this way, I tend to make a ton of them because they make a great snack for later as well. If I was to add Parmesan cheese, I would add it to the vegetables just before eating and after they have been baked. I hope you enjoy this quick and healthy recipe. Bon Appetit!