Back to school means so long to spontaneous plans. So long to “maybe” starting to think about dinner as the day winds down. So long to having just “a bit more” freedom in my day-to-day schedule.
Nope — I’m now bound to school pick-ups, tutor drop-offs and strict dinner times. Which means, that come Sunday night I need to have a plan of action in place for weeknight meals. In a perfect world, this would also include healthy snacks (that everyone will eat), and even lunch for me (no more grabbing a granola bar — or worse — come late afternoon).
Parenting for over 22 years has taught me a few tricks that are essential for stress-free, enjoyable meals throughout the school year. One is having a “meal plan” — knowing what I’m making for dinner each night (and having most, if not all, of the ingredients on-hand) has been a lifesaver. And a key part of this plan is having a pantry stocked with plenty of dried and canned foods that can be used in a variety of recipes.
My hands-down favorite canned food is garbanzos — a.k.a., chickpeas. Simply put, we LOVE chickpeas! They are delicious on their own and so versatile too.
How versatile, you ask?
Here are seven (yes, seven!) recipes – from snacks to sides and even dessert!
1 Can of Chickpeas, 7 Ways! 1 of 10
Click through for 7 ways to use a can of chickpeas, every day of the week.
Give Them a Rinse! 2 of 10
Cooking with chickpeas couldn't be easier — they are pretty much ready to use right out of the can! The first thing you'll want to do is rinse them under cold water, and drain.
Dry Thoroughly 3 of 10
Next, lay the chickpeas in a single layer on some paper towels — you want them as dry as possible prior to using (especially if roasting or sautÃ©ing).
Hummus 4 of 10
Hummus is a staple in our house — everyone loves it (even my picky toddler!), and I love how healthy and filling it is. We enjoy it with homemade pita chips, cut up veggies, and even as a sandwich spread. Hummus is super easy to make (you simply whirl it all up in your food processor), and keeps for up to a week in the fridge.
To make: Rinse and drain a 15-ounce can of chickpeas. In a food processor, blend the chickpeas for one minute, scraping down the sides. Add 1/2 c. tahini, 2 T. lemon juice, 2 small cloves chopped garlic and 3/4 t. salt blend till pureed. With the machine running, drizzle in up to 4 T. water - one tablespoon at a time - till the mixture is light and smooth. Taste and add more salt and/or lemon juice if needed. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Drizzle with a little olive oil and sprinkle with paprika.
Recipe courtesy of Smitten Kitchen
Roasted Chickpeas 5 of 10
I love serving delicious nibbles with drinks before a dinner party. These roasted chickpeas are a favorite — a quick toss with some olive oil and spices and they cook up crispy and delicious in the oven.
Pre-heat oven to 450. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, gently toss a 15-ounce can of chickpeas (that have been rinsed, drained and patted dry), 2 T. extra virgin olive oil, 1/2 t. kosher salt, a pinch of black pepper and 1/2 t. oregano. Spread in a single layer on your prepared baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or till browned and crisp. Let cool before serving.
Chickpea, Feta and Cherry Tomato Salad 6 of 10
I am always looking for a quick and easy lunch — this salad is my "go-to" several times a week. It's filling and delicious, and keeps me going straight till dinner — a lifesaver, as there are days when I don't stop once school lets out!
Rinse and drain a 15-ounce can of chickpeas - transfer to a large bowl. Combine with 1 c. halved cherry tomatoes, 1/2 c. diced feta and 1 t. dried oregano. Drizzle with 1 t. fresh lemon juice and 2 t. extra virgin olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
Recipe courtesy of Martha Stewart
Sauteed Chickpeas With Chorizo and Spinach 7 of 10
You'll want a loaf of crusty bread to accompany this delicious, mildly spicy dish. Make it all in your saute pan and run it under the broiler just prior to serving. This makes a lovely side dish or even a light dinner all on its own. Even better? It can be served hot or at room temperature — perfect for those weeknights when everyone seems to be eating at a different time!
Get the recipe here
Chicken and Garbanzo Stew 8 of 10
Dark, cold winter days cry out for comfort food. And this hearty stew fits the bill beautifully. This one-pot meal can be made in advance, and re-heated prior to serving. I count on this dish on days when I don't get home till after 5pm and everyone's starving!
In a large pot over medium-high heat brown 2 cut-up chickens in 2 T. olive oil and 1 T. butter — work in batches, transferring chicken as it browns to a large bowl.
Reduce heat to low and add 2 small minced onions, 2 minced garlic cloves, 1 1/2 T. cumin, 1/2 t. ginger and a pinch red pepper flakes.
Cook for 5 minutes, till onions are softened.
Return chicken to pot and add 4 c. chicken broth and 3 cans chickpeas (rinsed and drained).
Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer.
Cover and simmer for 45 minutes.
Serve, sprinkled with 1 c. chopped fresh cilantro and salt and pepper to taste.
Roasted Chickpeas and Sweet Potatoes 9 of 10
I love when I can toss some ingredients in a bowl, stick the whole thing in the oven and let it cook away while I prepare the rest of dinner. Roasted chickpeas and sweet potatoes are a delicious side dish to any cold-weather meal, and the flavors are mild enough to please even the most finicky eater!
In a large bowl combine 2 cans chickpeas (rinsed, drained and thoroughly dried), 3 sweet potatoes (peeled and cut into 1" dice), 1 diced onion and 1 chopped garlic clove.
Toss with 2 T. melted butter, 1 T. olive oil, 1 t. each cinnamon and nutmeg, 2 T. honey and the zest and juice of 1 lime.
Spread on a rimmed baking sheet and sprinkle with 2 T. fresh thyme leaves and salt and pepper.
Bake in a pre-heated 450 degree oven for 35-40 minutes, stirring halfway through.
Sprinkle with 1 T. additional fresh thyme leaves before serving.
Recipe adapted from Sprouted Kitchen
Chickpea and Apricot Cake 10 of 10
I told you there would be dessert! I wondered if chickpeas could be used in baked goods and — whoa! — they sure can! This chickpea cake — made with dried apricots and coconut — looked so tasty that I thought I'd give it a try. Turns out the chickpeas create a moist, dense, not-too-sweet cake, perfect with a cup of tea!
Get the recipe at Donuts, Dresses and Dirt