5 Tips for the Gal Who Doesn’t Know WTF She’s Doing in the Kitchen

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.

Happy cooking!

What’s in my Pantry?

GroceryEssentials

A co-worker asked me a while back to send her some healthy things that I like to keep in my apartment, so I was inspired to create a more comprehensive list than the ones I scribble out on in a notebook when I’m meal planning. Here’s what’s in my fridge/pantry:

  • Unsweetened vanilla almond milk — I use this as coffee “creamer”, in smoothies, oatmeal, etc.
  • Oikos vanilla Greek yogurt
  • Chobani plain greek yogurt — for dressings, baking, as a sour cream replacement, etc.
  • Strawberries, blueberries, kiwi — something I’m trying to do each week is fill up a big tupperware with fresh cut fruit so that it’s easily accessible. And it looks pretty!
  • Dole frozen mango — prob my fave fruit. Has to be frozen!
  • Kale/spinach/spring mix — for jar salads, to put in omelettes… I’ll also freeze some kale or spinach for green smoothies.
  • Bananas — I’ve been really into protein pancakes lately so these have become a staple. Also good to add in smoothies or make clean banana nut bread when they’re ripe!
  • Kodiak Powercakes pancake/waffle mix — tastes amazing & packed with whole grains
  • Almonds/walnuts
  • Chia/hemp seeds — I’ve been really into nuts & seeds lately. They add a great crunch to salads, oatmeal, smoothies & these are superfoods!
  • 100% cacao powder
  • Cacao nibs + Dark chocolate chips — for when I just need some REAL chocolate
  • PB2/natural peanut butter
  • Justin’s vanilla almond butter — new obsession!
  • All natural maple syrup
  • Frozen chicken breasts
  • Fresh salmon (occasionally)
  • Frozen shrimp
  • Lean ground turkey
  • Quinoa pasta — this is a new thing for me but LOVE it, tastes just like real whole grain pasta!!
  • Regular quinoa
  • Eggs/egg whites
  • Avocados — put a little bit of lime juice and sea salt on it and OMG it’s sooo good for an afternoon pick me up; also try sunflower seeds and honey on them!
  • Kind/Luna/Quest/Larabars
  • Agave/honey
  • Occasional healthy frozen meals like Amy’s or Kashi pizza & EVOL bowls — I’ve learned now to check the INGREDIENTS rather than the calories!
  • Zucchini/squash — fave veggies
  • Hummus
  • Whole wheat pitas or Ezekiel bread
  • Annie’s organic Papaya Poppyseed or Green Goddess salad dressings, if I don’t make my own
  • Unsweetened applesauce + whole wheat flour + baking powder for baking
  • Coconut/sesame/olive oil
  • Bare coconut chips when I can find them — sooo good!
  • Snap pea crisps if I’m craving something salty

What’s your fave healthy meal or snack?!