You come home late from work, you are hungry, and you reach out for a menu from your local take-out. You order your meal, have a shower, and change into your casual clothes. You’re starving, so you snack on crisps while you wait for the delivery. You may even have a quick toast to satisfy the first hunger. Forty minutes after your phone call, the delivery arrives. You sit and eat. Afterwards you feel a little tired, and sluggish, so you just doze off on the sofa, watching re-runs of “Friends”. You promise yourself that tomorrow you will shop on your way home. You know the drill; tomorrow is going to be exactly the same, except you may just stop at the shop to buy a ready meal. Sounds familiar?
I’m here to show you that with a little planning, and preparation you can have a home cooked meal everyday (without slaving in the kitchen for hours!).
It is all down well-stocked pantry with a variety of healthy foods that will help you stay on track and will make cooking dinner a breeze. Getting in the habit of cooking simple meals, such as steamed veggies with beans and grains, will save you time, energy, and money.
What to store in your pantry? Read here if you missed it.
Below you can find some basics templates, ideas you can use to start cooking with what’s in your pantry. These are not exact recipes, I want to teach you to follow your instinct, start with a base and experiment, use what you have available, and have fun with it.
1. Lentils, grains and vegetables: Cooked lentils, served with rice and any vegetables you have available
2. Frozen vegetables, coconut milk, and rice noodles: Take whatever frozen vegetables you have (mix of different types works best), add onion, garlic, ginger, chilli, 1-2 cans of coconut milk, 1 cup of water, and cook until vegetables are tender. Use more milk and/or water if you want soup, use less liquid if you want it to be more like curry. Season with soy sauce or salt, serve over rice noodles or rice
3. Bean and broccoli salad: Cooked broccoli, 2 cans of beans, mixed together with some oil, crushed garlic, lemon juice, and salt
4. Roasted root vegetables: Use whatever vegetables you have, peel (if needed), chop, and mix with oil, salt, pepper, smoked paprika. Roast until tender, it should take about 30-45 minutes in 200C, depending on your oven and vegetables used. Try roasting whole, peeled garlic cloves. They are super sweet!
5. One pot tomato soup with brown rice: 1 cup of rice, 2 can of tomatoes, 2 cup of water. Cook the rice in the tomatoes and water, season with salt, pepper, a little bit of cayenne pepper. Add chopped garlic, onions, and carrots, if you have any going. You can add some tomato pure for extra flavour.
Tips & tricks:
1. Cook your grain in vegetable stock for added flavour, unless you are planning to have it for breakfast
2. Always cook in bulk so that you have leftovers for dinner or lunch the following day
3. Get yourself some glass lunch boxes for storing leftovers
4. Freeze your leftovers in the glass lunch boxes so you can just grab on your way to work for an easy, healthy lunch or defrost for dinner. It beats the take out every time!
5. Do some prep work and cooking when you have time. For me it is usually Sunday afternoon. I put the radio on, and cook, and prep most of the meals for the week
Hope this post has been helpful. I am curious to hear what tricks you use when cooking? What would you like to learn to cook? What questions do you have? Leave your questions and suggestions in the comments and I’ll be happy to answer.