One thing I am struggling with is putting my "foodie" habits to the side during the semester. What I mean by this is that I am constantly making recipes that take way too long and have too many ingredients. I like a good culinary challenge. It's hard for me to make something that's just simple. Is that weird?
So this semester has already gotten insane. I've quickly realized that I just don't have time to cook all of the complicated things I'd like to. I am literally forcing myself to cook simpler, quicker, and cheaper meals. Next week, I will be trying a vegan/gluten-free meal plan from Happy Herbivore just to see how it works for me.
I decided to make a post about my "fail-safe" items that I always have in my pantry. Things that I can always rely on if dinner is just not going to happen tonight. Or I am too upset over a ridiculous French paper I have due to even stand in my kitchen. I know, you're thinking "Why don't you just go out?": this is cheaper, more than likely healthier if you buy the right products, and you can stay in your little humble cave/office! So here is my list of things that makes surviving college a *little* easier:
1. GF/V mac + cheeze: This is the ultimate comfort food for me, and sometimes I just don't feel like looking at a recipe. This brand is organic and you can pronounce all the ingredients, which is always a good sign! I've tried other brands of boxed GF/V mac + cheeze but this is my favorite. Bulk it up with beans or whatever vegetables you have on hand!
2. GF instant oatmeal: Getting up in the morning can be a real struggle, but I always have to eat before class. If I didn't, I would probably fail every class. This oatmeal has a TON of protein from different grains, and its super healthy. I add a spoonful of peanut butter and nuts to my oatmeal.
3. Peanut butter: Peanut butter might be the best portable, protein packed snack there is. Tote it around with a spoon, carrots, celery, or even apples. I use this on waffles, in oatmeal, just as a snack, or to make bugs in the bed. A PBJ sandwich even has enough protein to keep you full on a night of hard work!
4. Larabars: I don't eat these all the time because they aren't incredibly filling, but they do have a lot of protein and the only ingredients are fruits and nuts. I keep these on hand for when I'm staying on campus longer than usual. You can eat them on the way to class, heck, even in class if you want, and there's no mess! I like these better than Kind bars because they contain less sugar.
5. Amy's frozen dinners: Yes. I am telling you that I have frozen dinners on hand. Why? Because I have been eating products from this company for years now. I trust them and know their policies. Their ingredients are wholesome, sometimes organic, and even light in sodium sometimes! Amy's has great options for GF/V bowls, pizzas, burritos, etc. I keep these bowls on hand to have a wholesome meal when I can't make myself cook. My favorites are the brown rice vegetable bowl, stir fry vegetable bowl, black-eyed pea bowls, and non-dairy burritos.
6. Amy's soup: Same as above: these soups are great for a quick lunch or dinner, or especially when you're sick and can't make it to the store. I try to choose light in sodium options and those high in protein. My favorites are lentil vegetable, tuscan bean and rice, and the Indian lentil dal. Eat over rice or a baked potato for a super filling meal!
7. Pasta: Fun fact: pasta and breads were my favorite foods growing up. Who'd guess I was allergic to them this entire time? Pasta has become my ULTIMATE comfort food. And it's incredibly versatile. GF pasta especially has a lot of protein and nutrients, compared to regular pasta. This is not the only pasta I eat but it was $1.50 a bag at Harris Teeter. I usually keep 3-4 bags on hand just in case. Pair this with your favorite organic pasta sauce, vegan butter and salt, or just steamed vegetables!
8. Tasty Bite Indian meals: These Indian dinners are quick and delicious! Like I said about Amy's, I trust this company and have never gotten sick or found any odd ingredients in their products. They have a pretty wide variety from instant jasmine rice, chana dal, to bombay potatoes. Throw the instant rice and a main dish together for an instant meal!