Even in my small and unequipped student kitchen, there are things that I always have. So here is a list of things I try to always have to cook the basic stuff and always have something quick to cook if I am lazy!
I recently discovered how simple it was to cook quinoa. It is also very tasty and a nice substitute if you want to eat starchy food, without eating only pasta and rice. You can buy it very easily from the supermarket even though it is a little bit more expensive than pasta or rice.
Quinoa has a lot of nice properties: full of dietary fibre, phosphorus, magnesium and iron, it is gluten-free and easy to digest. It also a complete protein which makes it very suitable for vegetarians, because it can be used either as a side dish or as a main dish, in a salad.
How to prepare it:
It should usually be rinsed or soaked before use to remove its bitter coating, so check packet instructions. Bring two cups of water to the boil to one cup of grain, cover, simmer and cook for approximately 15 minutes or until the germ separates from the seed. The cooked germ should have a slight bite to it (al dente) and are translucents.
Be careful, when cooked, its grains quadruple in size.
My recipe with vegetable:
I like to add vegatables directly in the pot with the quinoa (my single pan policy…), like carrots, courgettes, peppers. You peeled them and add them: they will cook with the steam (the healthiest way to cook vegetables). The timing to add them depends on how cooked you want them. Carrots for exemple are quite long to cook so add them at the beginning. Peppers should be added later if you want them a little crunchy.
You can eat that as a single dish or with salmon or chicken (that you can cook in the oven for a completely fat-free meal).
And this can also be eaten cold, so think of quinoa for your lunchbox!
Here is a nice tip to optimize your meal preparation: use the oven.
In fact, I often use the oven to cook chicken fillet or salmon or other kind of fish. The most common way is to do it in a pan but the oven offers many advantages:
– it is fast
– no need to stay behind the hob during the cooking
– if you only have one pan, you can use it for something else at the same time (or if you are sharing the kitchen with other residents and space on the hob is limited…)
– no need for fat (so healthy!)
– washing is easier to do (extremely strong argument!)
– chicken doesn’t get dry or burnt; it is also a good way to cook it to then use it in a salad or in a wrap
For chicken, just put the chicken fillet in an oven dish. You can season with lemon juice or mustard or spices according to your taste. Put it in the oven at 160° for 10-15 minutes (it must be all white inside, no pink remaining)
I also tried once to stuff chicken with feta cheese and wrap it in spinach leaves and that was quite good!
For salmon, same. For the cooking, I personally prefer when it is not too cooked. If you cook it too much, it gets dry, but then it depends how you like it.
Sick of sandwiches and sushis? Make your own lunch and bring it to uni/work.
There are a lot of reasons why it is a good idea:
– It is cheaper
– It is healthier
– You eat what you like
– All your classmates are gonna be jealous!
How can you do this?
Very simple. A lot of recipes I post can be prepared in advance and eaten cold. Just bring them to Uni in a box. If you have a microwave, it is always better warm. I’ll also post specific lunchbox recipes.
What you can do is also cook a large quantity of a dish in the evening so that you can have it for lunch the next day!