30 days of beautiful: YUM

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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:

Quinoa-spinach burgers

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 —

Ingredients:

-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!)
-greek yogurt
-salt and pepper
-sandwich bread / bun 
-toppings: whatever is around – I like avocado, feta cheese, and sprinkle of balsamic vinegar

  1. Boil 1 cup quinoa with 2 cups water until water is all gone (10 min).
  2. While it’s cooking, defrost a bowl of spinach (at least a cup).
  3. Drain spinach, mix with enough Greek yogurt to be a little creamy/tasty (little or as much as you want, really)
  4. Put in salt and pepper to taste (more pepper is better, in my opinion), mix up.
  5. 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.
  6. Put leftover quinoa in a tupperware in your fridge and save for other recipes/meals.
  7. Pick up quinoa/spinach mix (yes, with your bare hands, you baby!) and pack into patties.
  8. Pour some oil into a frying pan and fry a generous-sized patty until golden on both sides.
  9. 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.
  10. 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?

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