My little sister recently moved into her own place and started her first big girl job (ohh, it brings ya back, doesn’t it?) and she recently asked me about some recipe ideas and tips for cooking at home. So, naturally, my first inclination was to go off on a tangent preparing a whole word doc for her on my fave #BusyGirl tricks for cooking at home, complete with tips, staple items and such, and I thought – why not put this into a blog post? I know I’m not the only one who struggles with cooking for one – and cooking good, healthy meals on a budget, too.
Here are a few tips I’ve found that work for me!
1.Try batch cooking.
Hear me out – some meals are just better cooked fresh. (Soggy salad? No thanks.) But others, think a big pasta dish for example, make for awesome leftovers. Plus, you can make a big batch of something for fairly cheap and it’ll prob feed you for at least a few days. I recently made this amazing Turkey Black Bean Quinoa Bake and literally had lunch and dinner for five days. Just heat up and voila!
2.Always have your staple items on hand.
Almond butter, oats, black beans, chickpeas, chia seeds & Amy’s organic soups are a few that come to mind when I think of some of the staple items I’ve always got on hand. Your staple items are anything you cook with frequently that will last a really long time, that way you can always have these things in your pantry and whip something up if you’re lacking in groceries. These Black Bean Burgers I made for Danny & I recently were sooo good, and I already had my cans of black beans so I only had to buy like three ingredients.
3.Freeze your produce.
Every week, I grab a bushel (bundle? handful? IDK) of bananas, chop them up into fours and place in a big gallon-sized freezer bag for smoothies that week. Little tip: If you’re not adding nanas to your smoothie, that’s probably why the texture is icy and weird – do it. Living alone, my produce goes bad pretty quickly so I’ll also freeze my spinach or kale for smoothies, and even tried raspberries a couple of weeks back and used the frozen raspberries for mimosas – I mean, it was pretty perfect.
4.Pinterest is your BFF.
As you can see, there’s a theme in this post of a lot of my recipe inspo coming from Pinterest. If you’re in a rut, get to pinning – you’ll feel like a culinary creative genius in no time, promise.
5.When in doubt, it’s okay to go pre-made.
I usually try to stay away from the pre-made aisle of the grocery store, but I will say I’ve gotten some pretty good bake-at-home chicken dishes or salads from the Publix deli when I’m in a real crunch. Other than that, one of my big tips is to buy a rotisserie chicken, cut it up and put it in a tupperware for the week to be used on top of salads, served with veggies or in a wrap.