If I didn't need food to live, I probably wouldn't eat
January 6, 2016 7:49 AM   Subscribe

I do not like to cook or prepare food. It's a character flaw, I realize, but for whatever reason I don't like to spend time on food. This leads to me eating out a lot, just because it's simple. I'm looking for foods that are healthy, filling, but also have the lowest prep time possible. Non-perishables would be a plus. I'm also fairly active, so high energy foods would be good as well. Am I asking too much, or are there foods that fit the bill?
posted by holmesian to Food & Drink (44 answers total) 100 users marked this as a favorite
 
This is going to sound like a joke answer, but it's not... Have you considered Soylent? It's a thing... an ostensibly nutritionally complete slurry that can replace food. How good of an idea this is continues to be debated. Whether or not it sounds disgusting and weird is a personal thing. But it ticks all of your boxes and is cheap.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:51 AM on January 6, 2016 [4 favorites]


I love to cook for fun, but not for sustenance. I was going to mention Soylent too, especially since taste didn't appear in your question.
posted by supercres at 7:53 AM on January 6, 2016


Oh yeah. Try soylent. When I have super busy/stressful weeks I eat that.
posted by Marinara at 7:53 AM on January 6, 2016


Not to threadsit, but does Soylent at least taste alright? Or is it more like forcing down cough medicine?
posted by holmesian at 7:56 AM on January 6, 2016


Yo, Trader Joe's vacuum-packed pre-cooked lentils are your friend. Toss something in with them for interest (salad dressing, croutons, whatever) and it's a meal in literally five or six seconds. They are also full of nutrients and keep you full forever. There are three packages in my fridge RIGHT THIS SECOND.
posted by julthumbscrew at 8:05 AM on January 6, 2016 [5 favorites]


It doesn't meet your non-perishable requirement, but have you ruled out crockpot cooking? Toss your (usually raw) ingredients into the crockpot, flip the on-switch, walk away, and in a couple hours/overnight you've got fresh hot food with minimum cooking fuss.

It's a huge thing now, so there are tons of free recipes (inc. ones for special/athletic diets online), for breakfast, lunches, and dinners. You could make tons of tasty lentil and/or meat dishes this way for high protein/calorie dense meals. Then freeze/reheat in the microwave.
posted by skye.dancer at 8:12 AM on January 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


Yeah, traders has a whole bunch of surprisingly good frozen and refrigerated meals/foods that are super easy to prepare, like 4 min. in the microwave.

Also, a rice cooker and a ton of rice or an Instant Pot (which is a pressure cooker/rice cooker/steamer/slow cooker) and a ton of rice and dried beans are pretty painless. The Instant Pot cooks rice in like 10 minutes, too.
posted by Huck500 at 8:17 AM on January 6, 2016


I hear you. I love food, and I like cooking when it's a leisure activity, but I don't much like cooking as a daily chore. It's like, dammit, I just made a dinner yesterday and I have to do this again??

Here are my ultra-lazy just-get-a-food-in-me bachelor-chow foods:
- Clif bars
- Siggi yogurt
- Whole wheat toast with peanut butter or cheese
- Plain oatmeal
- Cereal (Ezekiel 4:9 is good and dense)
- Canned beans (heat up some black beans in a pan with garlic powder and you've got a burrito filling!)
- Whatever looks good in the Trader Joe's frozen aisle (I particularly like the tamales and chicken chile verde burritos); I also like their Indian Fare line and their canned lentil soup
- Salad using bagged lettuce/spinach/broccoli slaw with lots of sunflower seeds and maybe some garbanzos
posted by Metroid Baby at 8:26 AM on January 6, 2016 [3 favorites]


Boil/nuke-in-bag Indian, like Tastybite, is pretty edible and not filled with weird substances.

But, how simple does this have to be? Anything can be a sandwich if you're brave enough...

You can buy bags of frozen pre-roasted veg -- nuke them and put them in bread with goat cheese. Eggs are very easy to microwave quickly and can go in bread with cheese, salsa, etc. Baked potatoes (topped with cook-in-bag frozen broccoli and pre-grated cheese? baked beans?) are simple. Hummus and sliced tomato is easy. You can get hummus in tubs that don't need refrigeration, and, as I discovered in a snowstorm, boxed dehydrated hummus is actually quite palatable if you rehydrate it with boiling water and add a lot of olive oil.

'Salad' can just be a head of lettuce chopped up with a nice dressing. Salad bars in nicer supermarkets are quite good -- not sure if that counts as 'eating out' -- when I am at my favourite supermarket salad bar, I get a box of odd whatnot from the salad bar, a sack of pita bread, and spend the next 2-3 days eating pitas stuffed with the salad bar odds and ends; it works out to be quite cheap for what was more or less takeaway.

And nearly everything freezes better than most people think it freezes, so if you're buying pizza, buy an XL and shove leftovers in the freezer until your next pizza moment; it's more cost-effective than buying two smaller ones.
posted by kmennie at 8:28 AM on January 6, 2016 [4 favorites]


My favorite dish is rice and beans.

The basic recipe: make rice in your small rice cooker and then open a can of whatever beans and serve. Butter the rice if you like (of course you do).

Since it's so ridiculously trivial, and since rice cookers are the greatest invention since the sandwich grill, it leaves you with some time to calmly and patiently prepare some extra addition to the dish. For example you could add some microwave popcorn, or some salad type stuff like tomatoes or some sausage or cheese or really anything.

If you've avoided cooking, it's not impossible that your kitchen is either lacking crucial things or full of useless junk. I suggest getting rid of almost everything except an adequate skillet, an adequate chef's knife (very important; any basic IKEA chef's knife will work, just not an old poorly-treated dull one), a cutting board, a small amount of bowls, and the aforementioned small rice cooker. This ensures that when you need to the dishes, there is a limited amount of things to wash. It also creates some "creative restriction."

Also, since stress and anxiety are the killers of cooking joy, embrace the practice of "mise en place," which is French for getting all your stuff ready before you start. Start the rice first, then chop whatever you want chopped (gathering junk on paper towels so you can clean easier), rinse your beans, wash up as much as possible, then sautée your extra stuff or whatever, serve, eat, clean up again.

The rice cooker is a great liberation because it boils and keeps warm your basic carbohydrate, so unless you are making some advanced combination of side dishes, cooking becomes utterly simple.

With this basic simple routine in place, you can start to experiment at your own pace, which is fun. For example, you might buy a little piece of salmon fillet, and try sautéeing it with butter and some kind of curry paste. Whoa! Drizzle some lime over it and you've made something ridiculously delicious with pretty much no effort.
posted by mbrock at 8:38 AM on January 6, 2016 [4 favorites]


nobeagle kibble: 1 can chick peas, 1 can lentils, 1 can black beans. Rinse and drain all cans. 1 block frozen spinach, 1 lbs frozen mixed vegetables. thaw frozen stuff in microwave (or leave in the fridge for 2-3 days before mixing). Drain spinach/veggies. 1 jar salsa (or pasta sauce). Mix everything together in giant bowl or pot. Spoon into serving containers and refridgerate. You'll get 5-6 servings, and depending on your salsa/pasta sauce, vegan friendly.

Quick options;

frozen cooked chicken strips. Thaw and add to mix.

Cook up brown rice in rice cooker (1 c rice, 2.5c water), add to mix.

Scramble 6-12 eggs. Add to mix.
posted by nobeagle at 8:42 AM on January 6, 2016 [5 favorites]


Eggs and beans:

What cooks cook when they don't want to cook
posted by dpx.mfx at 8:44 AM on January 6, 2016 [6 favorites]


Since you liked the crock pot suggestion. Here is a quick and easy recipe that will take only 20-30 minutes of activity to make on the weekend which will easily feed you most of the week.

Equipment:
Crock Pot
Baking Tray/Roasting Pan with lid or aluminum foil

Ingredients:
1 pkg. Chicken Breast
1 jar Salsa or can Veg/Chicken broth
3 large Sweet Potatoes
Butter/Olive Oil/lard
Salt, pepper, etc.
1 pkg. Broccoli, frozen or a couple heads fresh

Morning: Put chicken into crock. Add the jar of salsa or a couple cups of broth. Turn crock to LOW and cook for 6 to 8 hours.

Evening: Preheat oven to 425F-ish. Wash potatoes. Chop into large pieces. Scatter them around the baking tray/roasting pan and add butter/oil/lard and salt/pepper. Stir. Cover. Cook for 45mins-ish (stirring in the middle is optional).

While potatoes are cooking, remove chicken from crock to large bowl. Use two forks to shred it. Put back in crock for at least 15 mins. to soak up all those juices. Add the broccoli when you return the chicken, or, if you like the broccoli more well done, add it to the potatoes halfway through their cooking.

You can then eat this all week, or, it also freezes well.
posted by zyxwvut at 8:49 AM on January 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


As much as I adore my Instant Pot, I think it's still asking a lot for someone who truly does not want to spend any time preparing food.

My process for the lowest-effort and still cheaper than frozen meals with less salt and fat is this:

Invest in a cheap rice cooker and a set of FitPacker (the most resilient, least space-wasting, best-stacking food containers I could find) containers.

- Make a pot of rice (or quinoa or barley or freekah or whatever, you can make pretty much anything in a rice cooker). Distribute into containers ~ 1/2 cup cooked rice each.
- Open a can of beans and add a couple of soup spoons of beans to each container
- Open a bag of frozen veg (California mix or stir-fry mix or just broccoli or whatever floats your boat) and deposit 1-2 handfuls in each container
- Add protein (frozen meatballs, frozen cooked chicken strips, or expand your repertoire to include sauteeing a couple pounds ground meat or bulk-roasting boneless chicken white or dark meat)
- Sauce from jar or bottle or packets (like these or these or similar at your grocery store, or just pasta sauce.)

Close them up, put a couple in the fridge and a couple in the freezer. To serve, microwave a couple of minutes (longer for frozen), stopping to stir once or twice, until heated through.
posted by Lyn Never at 8:53 AM on January 6, 2016 [3 favorites]


I live like this sometimes. I don't think it's a character flaw at all. I mean, who is it hurting? You're probably a natural grazer, in some ways, that's a healthier lifestyle than eating three big meals a day.

You can live perfectly healthily off the following:

-almonds
-clementines
-deli meat (roast turkey, roast beef - so delicious and I eat it in handfuls by the bag)
-deli cheese (again, I eat it straight instead of turning it into a sandwich)
- apples, oranges, bananas.
-berries
-A fancy salami + stinky cheese + maybe a little bread and olive oil = delicious
-packets of dried seaweed (yum!)
-beef jerky
-Greek yogurt
-celery
-baby carrots
-the Persian cucumbers they have at the TJ's - yum!
-beef jerky

This stuff is perishable, but on the order of a week, not a couple of days. It's very filling and leans low carb. If you are good at paying attention and only eating when you're hungry, I bet you could supplement this with a couple of recipes above at dinner a few times a week, and feel good, happy, high-energy, and never really think about food again. The key, though, is to let these foods substitute for big cooked (or takeout) meals - you have to get out of the habit of thinking, "Oh, it's lunchtime, I'd better eat a sandwich."

Oh, and fwiw, I talked to a friend who got pretty into Soylent for a while, and he told me that basically it contains the same ingredients as those protein-shakes/Carnation Instant Breakfasts, but Carnation Instant Breakfast is a lot cheaper and more easily available, so I'd start there if the idea appeals to you.
posted by pretentious illiterate at 8:58 AM on January 6, 2016 [13 favorites]


Do you care about unmonitored cooking time? If it doesn't bother you, consider roasted vegetables.

Somthing like fresh cauliflower or broccoli, drizzled with oil, takes 0 prep time and about 30 minutes cooking time at a medium-high heat in the oven. You can make more than 1 meal's worth, and it will keep for a few days.

My go-to if I need something quick is this over a bowl of rice. Any sauce, like plain soy or sesame oil, with a spoon of chili paste, and it's done. This is quite literally less than 2 minutes of actual work, 100% vegetables, and no sugar or processed foods.
posted by cotterpin at 9:07 AM on January 6, 2016 [2 favorites]


Soylent tastes fine. To me it tastes like a slightly sweet, thinner glass of milk. I've never heard anyone call it objectionable, it's just plain.
posted by telegraph at 9:09 AM on January 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


Soylent tastes fine to me. But it uses isomaltulose, which can cause some serious intestinal distress if it's all you eat.
posted by answergrape at 9:24 AM on January 6, 2016


Best sandwich ever... Tabbouleh, cream cheese and tomato on really good bread of your choice. Buy premade tabbouleh at the grocery store and this is the quickest, easiest, most delicious meal ever.
posted by WalkerWestridge at 9:30 AM on January 6, 2016 [3 favorites]


Another alternative: hire someone to cook for you. You probably already have a friend or neighbor that, like me, makes a big pot or two of hearty food on Sunday - stew, lasagna, chili, Indian, (checks profile) hot dish, whatever - for whom it would be pretty trivial to make an extra person's portion. Ask around, post on Craigslist or Nextdoor... you'll find someone with compatible tastes. Start with, say, three dinners per week, and scale up if it's working for you.

I'd probably ask a friend for $5-7 per meal for the kind of food I cook.

As the cook, I think I'd quite like this - it would give me the volume I needed to cook more than one dish per week, encourage me to do so more consistently, and give me some extra incentive to experiment.
posted by McBearclaw at 10:00 AM on January 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


Soylent is not nearly as innovative as they'd like you to believe (the thread about it on the blue covers that pretty well).

There is a product called "Jevity" which is what they put through feeding tubes in hospitals. It's designed by dietitians to be medically complete. It doesn't taste like much it's usually not touching taste buds on it's way to the stomach.

The company that makes that stuff also makes "Ensure" shakes which are basically Jevity with some flavoring. They don't taste great but they taste okay and you can down a bottle in less than 10 seconds. According to my dietitian mother-in-law you can totally live on just ensure shakes and people with certain medical conditions do just that.

I feel about like you do but about lunch and breakfast so for a while I skipped breakfast and had a shake for lunch. I also like to keep them on hand if I'm sick and don't have an appetite. Ensure comes in a couple of different varieties and flavors and if you're still eating "normal" food, you don't have to worry as much about nutrition in the shake. There are some other companies that make similar products that have quite as many vitamins and minerals but they can come in powdered form and/or they're a lot cheaper. The key things to look for are the proportions of fat, protein, and carbs and how much dietary fiber is in it. The more of your food is coming from those shakes, the more important it is that it have more fiber or you're not going to like what happens to your bowel movements.

If I'm cooking for myself, I spend as little time on dinner as I can. But I'm usually cooking for someone else too and I actually enjoy cooking for others, just not myself. So that's another data point for "not a character flaw".
posted by VTX at 10:15 AM on January 6, 2016 [6 favorites]


Soylent tastes just fine, but the aftertaste is not so pleasant and it lingers.
posted by greta simone at 10:33 AM on January 6, 2016


Also wanted to emphasize crock pot cooking. Lots of "open cans, chop veggies/meat, dump in."

And yes, Tasty Bite is great!
posted by radioamy at 10:33 AM on January 6, 2016


I feel the same way about eating and cooking but because I'm the sole parent for 3 kids I had to learn to get around it.

* Trader Joe's is your friend for microwaveable foods and bagged salads and things like stuffed grape leaves, olives, marinated peppers and other things you can literally throw onto a salad.
* I like to also get lots of single serve yogurt, granola, nuts and dried fruits to make yogurt sundaes.
* Costco or another wholesale club can also be great for Amy's or otherwise healthier frozen dinners.
posted by yes I said yes I will Yes at 10:46 AM on January 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


I have been impressed with the level to which Safeway has upped their store-brand frozen food game of late.
posted by prize bull octorok at 10:49 AM on January 6, 2016


Think "picnic". A couple good hard sausages, a couple kinds of good cheese, a bag of really good rolls or some really good bread, fruit. For each meal: pick a hunk of one of the sausages, a hunk of one of the cheeses, a roll or a hunk of bread, and a piece of fruit. Done.

Maybe once in a while you can pick a random vegetable, chop it up if it needs chopping, dump it into a bowl with just enough water to cover it over, boil it and then turn the heat down and simmer until the vegetable is soft; then throw it all into a blender. You now have "[vegetable] soup". Leave that in the fridge and have a cupful with your picnic now and then. Or spike it with milk of you want it to be "cream of [vegetable]" soup.

The key thing with this method is that you make sure you're getting good quality whatevers (skip the Velveeta and Wonderbread if you're gonna do this, you want the fancy-ass brie and the baguette you get from the snooty baker). I am a big believer in the "make sure the food you buy is really good quality and then just let it be what it is" approach when it comes to simplifying cooking. The best carrot soup I ever had in my life was just last week in Paris, at a bistro that used nothing more than just the carrots and water and maybe some onion and salt. They just had really really good carrots. And so when I tried recreating it this week I did exactly the same thing - and yep, just carrots and water and maybe a little onion and salt.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:55 AM on January 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


It's a character flaw, I realize,

It's not any such thing. (Though I'd concede that it's a character flaw to believe that all people must share a particular specific interest else there's something wrong with them. ;) )

Maybe check out Morning Star frozen foods. You just heat them and eat them. The thing I like about them is that they make pretty successful vegetable versions of normally-meat-scraps things like corndogs, chicken pink-goo nuggets, etc, so you're eating easy/comfort food, but it's not quite as junky.
posted by anonymisc at 10:58 AM on January 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


Crockpots and rice cookers and salads with dressing always seem like a good idea to me but the likelihood of my actually doing any of it is pretty much zero. Accepting that fact and ignoring the weird pressure to eat "well" and enjoy every meal has made my life way easier. During the workweek food is fuel; it doesn't have to be great, just tolerable, filling, easy, fairly healthy, and relatively cheap. I subsist on:

Avocados with a little salt, halved and eaten with a spoon

Think Thin & Balance bars, high protein, & L'arabar cashew/date bars

Bananas

Ak-Mak crackers

Individual portions of cheese, baby belle (?) or whatever

Peanut butter sandwiches

Loose arugula or spinach with a little salt. I eat handfuls straight from the produce bag, savage.

Canned sardines (can be mixed with arugula & avocado if feeling fancy. Decent brands crucial)

Salami

Almonds

Blueberries/other berries when affordable

Hard-boiled eggs

Fuji apples

Greek yogurt

Etc.

I eat some combination of those things throughout the day and usually eat a larger meal out at night. And I enjoy cooking on weekends & holidays even more when I'm not stressing about food other times.

(Frozen stuff is great but relies on refrigeration and microwaves, and even when those are available I prefer stuff that doesn't melt in my backpack. )
posted by generalist at 11:34 AM on January 6, 2016 [3 favorites]


I like cooking, but don't often have the time. A quick meal I rely on a lot is to mix some brown rice (get the microwavable frozen packets at Trader Joe's) with some crumbled feta cheese (I like the kind that comes with Mediterranean herbs, also from Trader Joe's) and whatever additional easy protein is in the pantry: canned tuna, smoked salmon, garbanzo beans, black beans, lentils, etc. If you feel like it, you can add in some chopped tomato, cucumber, and/or avocado as well. A squeeze of lemon juice and a little seasoning and you're good to go.

Similarly, I'll boil some pasta (penne or rotini works best for this), drain it, and then mix in a spoonful or two of olive tapenade (again, Trader Joe's is your friend here), some flaked tuna, and some feta cheese, with a glug of olive oil and some salt and pepper.

A good summer salad is just chopped avocado + chopped tomato, with a little olive oil and lemon juice or balsamic vinegar. Eat it with some good bread on the side.
posted by the return of the thin white sock at 12:42 PM on January 6, 2016


I lived on super simple food for a few years before my current marriage to a great cook. Couple of things:

- keep a lot of healthy snack foods around - nuts, baby carrots, etc. If you tend to snack while watching TV or playing on the computer, grab these and not Doritos. You can eat a whole bag of baby carrots without causing yourself a health issue.
- I (still) eat a Clif bar every day for breakfast. Well, weekdays. Seems to be plenty to last till lunch and they taste good to me with coffee.
- if bread's not a problem, grab French bread on the way home from work and just add hummus as a spread (better for you than mayo and solves the dry sandwich issues, then a couple of cheese slices and mixed greens from a pre-washed container. Filling and pretty good for ya.
- giant pots of stuff you can store in the fridge, as others said. Those bags of 15 kinds of beans with the flavor packet are pretty tasty and all you have to do is boil water and then not wander off while they cook.
- Crock-pots can cook stuff all day while you are away and have plenty of "for dummies" recipes. Plus things like meat stews come up crazy tender and flavorful.
- drink something you like with the stews/beans (for me it's fancy lemon soda or a beer) to break up the monotony, or pick up different fresh bread each time. Even easier are frozen French rolls (Pillsbury?). Just toss 1 or 2 on a pan in the oven for a few minutes and reheat the stew.

That's all I got ... I feel your pain. I got very sick of eating at even nice restaurants and feeling too full, or like I needed to go to the gym to make up for it.

Also eat this stuff in front of Netflix and you will forget how boring it is to eat the same 3 things over and over :-) Plus you'll really appreciate when you do go out.
posted by freecellwizard at 12:52 PM on January 6, 2016 [2 favorites]


I went to a nutrionist yesterday, with this exact problem. She said two things:

a) that you shouldnt feel guility about not loving to cook. This was incredibly helpful.
b) that often grocery stores have dieticians on staff who can guide you to options.

(also she said hummus and yogurt)
posted by PinkMoose at 3:53 PM on January 6, 2016


Trader Joe's green juice or Evolution green juice (the low cal, veggie ones). I drink these 1-3 times per week but not other kinds of juice. I am in my 6th year of maintaining a 60 lb weight loss and I get great numbers at my checkups every year.
posted by TheClonusHorror at 4:46 PM on January 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


I lived off of Jif peanut butter as maybe 1/3rd of my calories for a long, long time. Bananas. Mixed nuts. Hummus + chips. Jerky. Yogurt, maybe on top of granola.

Lately, blueberry crisp Clif bars are my go-to. If I wanted to feel better about that, I could just make quick oatmeal, but Clif bars are $1, and a trivially easy light breakfast.

But overall; Trader Joes is basically the grocery store focused on healthyish stuff for 20-somethings with very little time or care for cooking. They also have the $1 Clif bars.
posted by talldean at 4:56 PM on January 6, 2016


Snack a lot as suggested above but do it with fancy cups and dishes and pretty things. Eat nachos and salsa, but put it the nachos on a platter and put the salsa in a little bowl in the middle, and cut up a lime, with a glass of iced water, so you feel like it's a Real Meal, and you're Worth Taking Care Of. It means washing up a tiny bit, but the effort pays off in the food tasting much better and you feeling happier.
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 7:05 PM on January 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


Do you have a local Asian grocery store, or Asian delis? Go there and look for the freshly prepared food items, or take a note of anything in the bulk aisle that you could rehydrate with water and some dressing. Most home Asian food is designed to be ready to be sauced and sliced for eating, and you could never get tired with all the different flavors that are available. For example, you could buy Vietnamese french bread, buy some cha lua, cucumbers, carrot and daikon pickles, and some maggi sauce and mayo, and put it all together. Bam. That's all in the store. Sometimes I just buy take-out food, and split it into portions with rice and blanched veggies, to make portioned healthy rice bowls.

It's much more common than you think, it's just unfortunate that Western culture and grocery stores are so fixated on making everyone do prepared home foods, all the time. (I blame the 1950s and the cult propaganda of government-sponsored, nuclear families.) It is not like that for most of the rest of the world, in other urbanized settings.
posted by yueliang at 7:43 PM on January 6, 2016


I love to cook, but have been avoiding the kitchen due to housemate issues, so for me:

Yogurt mixed with a (dry) pouch of instant oatmeal is pretty easy for breakfast.

Instant noodle soups (Nongshim or MaMa or Thai Kitchen) can be prepared with an electric kettle at home or the hot-water thingy at work.

I buy premade salads from the prepared-foods section of my local supermarket. I pay a little more than I would to buy all the gredes and fix 'em myself, but the saving in prep time (and in dealing with rotten veggies when I go off-schedule) is worth it.

Tasty Bite brand premade pouches of microwaveable yummy are all pretty good and as low-prep as it comes.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 9:40 PM on January 6, 2016


+1 for Soylent. Been using it about 6 months for 50% of my daily calorie intake.
posted by Sonic_Molson at 3:55 AM on January 7, 2016


If you're ok with raw eggs a pretty standard "I've had a crap day and couldn't be bothered to put any sort of effort into cooking and there's really nothing in my fridge" meal for me is hot rice from a rice cooker + raw egg + scallions (can be bought dehydrated and precut at japanese supermarkets) + soy sauce.

If you're squicky about raw eggs or don't have access to reasonably fresh ones, just cook the egg sunnyside up.
posted by raw sugar at 3:58 PM on January 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


Re. Avocados with a little salt, halved and eaten with a spoon -- fill the well left by the seed with salad dressing or salsa!
posted by kmennie at 8:22 PM on January 7, 2016


Eggs! Learn how to make an omelette and you'll never starve. Throw whatever you like inside and have toast or a salad (can be just bagged lettuce with dressing) on the side.

Other things that work for easy/healthy meals/snacks:

Crackers and cheese or hummus, maybe with some sliced veggies.

Apple and string cheese (this is my go-to snack but it's sometimes breakfast)

Sautee some chopped onions (buy them pre-diced). Add garlic (or garlic powder) and some chili or taco seasonings) and a can of black beans. Serve with rice (Trader Joes sells cooked, frozen rice). If you want more protein, add some pre-cooked chicken sausage. For more veggie, add a chopped bell pepper.
posted by lunasol at 5:17 AM on January 8, 2016


I've found that if I buy pre-peeled (but not minced...NEVER minced) garlic and containers of chopped carrots/celery/onions/any vegetables, I can actually cook this unbelievably yummy quinoa bake. Then I feel disproportionately proud of myself because I cooked a THING.

You can customize the veggies and spices to make it Italian (mozzarella, oregano and basil), Greek (feta, lemon and oregano), Moroccan (Ras El Hanout), Japanese (soy, miso), etc.

Crispy Quinoa Bake

Ingredients

1 cup quinoa, uncooked

anywhere between 4 and 10 cups of whatever precut veggies float your boat but corn is super good and a can of diced chilies is also swell

some olive oil

like a cup of stock

a few cans of whatever beans you like

diced tomatoes if you're into that

seasoning like cumin, oregano, chili powder, salt, pepper

a few cups of cheese if you want it

Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Spray a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray UNLESS you have some type of Dutch oven/pan that goes on the range and in the oven safely, then use that.

The worst part of this recipe comes first. You wanna rinse that quinoa then dump it in a decent-sized skillet or in the Dutch oven, let it get a little toasty-smelling.

Next, toss in some olive oil and chuck in all the vegetables. stir it up, let everything mush down a bit.

Throw (or keep) everything in one pot, throw in the rinsed beans and cheese and diced tomatoes and stock and taste the seasonings.

Toss it in the oven, throw on more cheese for the last 5 minutes if you want. Reheats really well.

As a fellow non-cook I've found this to be best recipe for effort/reward ratio. This is really, really good food.
posted by yes I said yes I will Yes at 4:43 AM on January 9, 2016


Also with Trader Joe's if you're going into a store always check the frozen aisle for sales. Their brand frozen enchiladas are very often .99¢ each.

Cooking: Stab the package and make a 1" air hole, then put in microwave for 4 minutes to heat and you're done.
posted by zarq at 12:01 PM on January 13, 2016


Most people are familiar with TV dinners, aka the frozen boxed dinners, but these days you can get a lot of entrees (stew, pasta, etc) in a bag that just needs to be heated on the stove or in the microwave.

In the refrigerated section I can also find a tray that has meat, mini potatoes, carrots, and half an onion that's ready to be thrown in the crock pot.

For adding flavor to plain rice or instant mashed potatoes, etc, look for furikake at the Asian market. It comes in lots of flavors. It's sort of like the Japanese version of Mrs. Dash.
posted by IndigoRain at 5:40 PM on January 13, 2016 [1 favorite]


Quinoa salads are very nutritious and healthy, and preparation time is a few minutes. You interested in a grain quinoa.
posted by marcin-13 at 2:24 AM on January 14, 2016


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