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A week-long life-saver: Sunday night roasted veggies with easy balsamic dressing

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Want a Sunday activity that will save you gobs of time on your lunches and dinners the rest of the week?

Roast a couple of pans of veggies.

You can serve the finished product over brown rice or quinoa for a hearty dinner. Spoon them over salad greens for lunch. Stuff them in a pita pocket for a hand-held meal. Or simply eat them with a fork while standing in your kitchen minutes before going to bed.

It takes a bit of time and prep work to do this (two hours, with about 45 minutes of that time hands-on), but it's totally worth it for the added veggie goodness you'll have for DAYS.

The way this works in our house is that I roast probably 10 to 12 pounds of root veggies at a time. A squash, a few sweet potatoes, parsnips, carrots, an onion, beets and Swiss chard.

All that fits nicely into three 2-quart lasagna dishes that can sit flush side-by-side in the oven while you do other Sunday night activities, like folding laundry and writing your blog (wink, wink).

I roast them in a balsamic vinaigrette I threw together one night while playing. It's become a major favorite because, really, I'm not sure there's any better accompaniment to any roasted veggie than fruity, tart, lovely balsamic.

This past Sunday, we had friends over for dinner. They brought that beautiful salad you see pictured above, which we served our roasted veggies on top of some plain quinoa. It was Sunday night dining at its finest: Good conversation, the kids playing (nicely!) with each other, Trade Joe's cheapo chocolate red wine and mounds of veggies and protein-heavy quinoa.

A fabulous end to the week? I think so.

A fabulous start to the week? Yes, that too.

Even with four adults munching on the veggies I prepared, we still had enough servings to get us through Wednesday and possibly Thursday with little problem. Sunday night "planning" FTW!

Roasted Veggies in Balsamic Dressing

3 large beets, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch pieces

2 medium to large yams, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces

1 medium squash (I used an unpeeled kabocha, but you could swap a peeled butternut), or more yams, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

2 parsnips or turnips, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces

2-3 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces

1 red or sweet yellow onion, cut into 1/2 moons

1 bunch rainbow chard (optional), sliced into 1-inch ribbons, bottoms of stems removed

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

Juice of 3 lemons, or about 3 tablespoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons minced garlic

Pinch sea salt

Pinch black pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray three 2-quart or two 3-quart Pyrex lasagna pans with olive oil. Set aside.

Place all veggies except for chard in a large mixing bowl. Set aside.

In a small Pyrex glass measuring cup or a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, balsamic, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper. Pour the mixture over the veggies and stir to coat. Portion the veggies across the lasagna pans, spreading the mixture of veggies as flat as possible. Put the pans in the oven. Set your timer for one hour, 15 minutes. Stir your veggies every 15 minutes.

If using chard, place it in the empty bowl you used when coating the other veggies and spoon the leftover dressing over your chard. If not a lot of your dressing is left in the bowl, cover with balsamic and let it marinate while the heartier veggies cook.

After an hour has elapsed, pull out your pans and layer the chard on top to cook down for the final 15 minutes. Make sure to stir once with the chard before pulling your veggies out of the oven.

Serve warm or cold over salad greens, quinoa or alone. Top with more balsamic if you love your vinegar like me. Serves eight to 10. Enjoy!

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