By Jenn (TinyChoices.com) | December 14, 2011
I haven’t always been the best at cooking my own meals; having been a lifelong New Yorker, I grew accustomed to being able to grab food on the go– a slice of pizza, a burrito, a bagel sandwich, were all foods found acceptable to eat while walking down the street. Many evenings found me munching while travelling from one engagement to the next, food purchased strategically along my journey: 2 more blocks to the subway, that’s enough time to down my slice before I get there…
I now find myself in a place which only has a few “to-go” type restaurants, which I do employ frequently in my meal rotation– but thing get dull after a short time if I eat there too frequently, and the real restaurants nearby get too pricey to eat in every day.
So after years of cooking infrequently & reluctantly (as proof, see: Crockpot Cookin’, Rice Cooker Meals, and the useful Tiny Choices Meal List), I am now cooking much more frequently– and while there’s a learning curve, I love it! It’s not always easy: there are many, many times I look forlornly in my fridge while wondering how long another handful of almonds will sate my belly. But then, since there are no other options, I get myself out of my house and down to the nearest store to load up on veggies and tofu and whatever other basics I need to prepare a quick meal.
We’re not talking high cuisine here, though I do really enjoy working with more involved recipes for a holiday or special meal with friends. Most of the time I’ll whip up some kind of veggie stir-fry kind of thing, with the vegetables I’ve got which aren’t wilted, whichever seasonings catch my eye first (could be spicy! could be soy-saucy!), and mix it with both various cooked beans and brown rice (both of which I cook up in large quantities and store in the freezer for these quick meals, smart, right?)
One day recently I found myself staring, yet again, into the fridge, with a friend on the way for dinner, and it occured to me: veggie soup! Nothing’s easier than a nice big pot of soup, so: I sauteed some onion, chopped all kinds of veggies, tossed in handfuls of cooked beans and brown rice, lots of water and some veggie stock, and brought it to a simmer. I then put a few cupfuls into the blender and whirred it around, then poured it back into the stockpot, which thickened things up nicely. A quick run to the corner bakery for a couple of hard rolls, and I was ready for company– not to mention all the leftover soup for my fridge and freezer!
From desperation to delicacy, and all for about $2 or $3. So I’ll just keep reminding myself: if I can just remember to be even the littlest bit prepared, I too can manage this Responsible Food thing!
How about you: what are some of your quick go-to meals these days?
[Image by Witneyinchicago via Creative Commons]
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