I can cook. I really can. I can bake too, but when I get busy, the first thing I stop doing is cooking and baking. I get super lazy when it comes to food and I just want: cheap, quick, nutritious, delicious. I buy organic and healthy and am a fiend about avoiding preservatives, high fructose corn syrup, pesticides, hormones, and the rest of cancer-causing evil out there, so even when I get lazy, my fridge and cupboard does not contain unhealthy. That’s not the problem.
The problem is that this year, I got to be so busy that I couldn’t even make a week’s supply of hummus in advance. Whereas, last year, I was making elaborate stirfry’s, chilis, and other dishes regularly. I was expanding my confidence in cooking and loving every minute of it (I even learned how to make chocolate!). This year, that wasn’t the case, but if I think about it, I may not have done elaborate but I did do creative: what’s in the cupboard and how can I make it taste good without more than 5 ingredients or having to go to the store? and, oh, I’ve got 15 minutes.
There are a lot of awesome food blogs out there. Some favorites include my friends’ Alyson’s blog and Tricia’s blog, along with a vegan blogger in New York City. This blog has never been and never been a food blog and I will never be awesome enough to be a food blogger, but if you are a grad student with a hankering to know some creative and EASY ways to make a fast and healthy meal, I have a few recipes up my sleeve. They are NOT glamorous or fancy. They were created out of sheer necessity and whatever I had on hand. I’ll share a couple during my 30 days of beautiful. Here’s the first:
Spinach is a staple in my diet. I make sure to pump iron (not literally) into my diet in as many foods as possible, and spinach is one of them. This “recipe” / meal happened this year because I had been pairing every meal with a big bowl of spinach and was getting bored —
-frozen spinach (keeps forever, never goes bad. grad student, stock your freezer)
–quinoa (doesn’t go bad and goes with everything– for a quick quinoa salad, mix it with fresh kale, olive oil, lemon juice, pepper, dried cranberries, and pistachio pieces; there you go, bonus meal!)
-salt and pepper
-sandwich bread / bun
-toppings: whatever is around – I like avocado, feta cheese, and sprinkle of balsamic vinegar
- Boil 1 cup quinoa with 2 cups water until water is all gone (10 min).
- While it’s cooking, defrost a bowl of spinach (at least a cup).
- Drain spinach, mix with enough Greek yogurt to be a little creamy/tasty (little or as much as you want, really)
- Put in salt and pepper to taste (more pepper is better, in my opinion), mix up.
- When quinoa is done, mix quinoa into spinach. Do not mix all of the quinoa in. Mix so it’s about half quinoa, half spinach, and it all sticks together.
- Put leftover quinoa in a tupperware in your fridge and save for other recipes/meals.
- Pick up quinoa/spinach mix (yes, with your bare hands, you baby!) and pack into patties.
- Pour some oil into a frying pan and fry a generous-sized patty until golden on both sides.
- Put the patty on your bread and top with whatever you have around – avocado, feta, sprinkle of balsamic vinegar, a few leaves of fresh spinach if you have, and chow.
- If there’s leftover quinoa/spinach mix that you don’t want to make into patties, eat the rest of it on its own as a side for your burger or save for another time (lunch tomorrow?).
EASY. Delicious. Who said being a grad student means all you can eat is ramen?