Fast, healthy, on-the-go meal ideas and recipes?
January 25, 2006 5:47 PM   Subscribe

I'm a health-conscious college student who would like to spend less money eating out. The problem is I don't have much time, or resources (like a full scale kitchen), to prepare "real" meals. Ideally, I would like something that I could cook in bulk and then take with me to microwave at work for lunch, or at home for dinner. But I'll need some variety. Keep in mind, I prefer vegetarian dishes and maybe an occasional fish meal. Absolutely no red meat. :) Low in saturated fat, and easy on the budget. Any ideas are welcome.
posted by blueplasticfish to Food & Drink (13 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
I like making bean and rice burritos: canned black beans, rice, maybe some salsa. Add cooked chicken (fish would probably work) if you like, or leave it out. Wrap in plastic, microwave at work. If you have the time, throw these in the oven at 375 for 10 minutes or so to crisp up the tortillas.

I'm also a college student and my tastes sound very similar to yours: I don't eat much red meat and tend to prefer vegetarian meals. Obviously you can't eat bean burritos every day of your life -- you'll get pretty sick of them quickly -- but for a couple of times a week, you can't beat it.
posted by rossination at 5:55 PM on January 25, 2006

Two words — crock pot. Buy somme potatoes (if you have a place to peel them) baby carrots which are already chopped and ready to eat, a cheap roast, tomatoes, a can of beans, basically anything — throw it all in there in the morning and by the evening you'll have enough food for a few days.

Crock pot recipes are super easy, require little prep, you don't have to stand by while it cooks, and I'm sure there are plenty online if you do a search.
posted by Brittanie at 5:59 PM on January 25, 2006

If you have a crock pot, you could make some great veggie chili that would be wonderful reheated and provide a really yummy filling meal (and really nutritious!). I highly recommend crock pots for busy college students - or busy anyone.

If you do eat chicken ever, I also make a lot of chicken dishes in my crock pot - just cut up a boneless skinless chicken breast and put it over some cut up potatoes, carrots, onions, other veg, and a can of some sort of lowfat soup, and let it simmer all day long.
posted by tastybrains at 6:02 PM on January 25, 2006

It's all about the frozen bulk food aisle of your favorite big box membership-only warehouse store-arama. Frozen burritos? Check. Potstickers? Go nuts.
posted by JekPorkins at 6:04 PM on January 25, 2006

Best answer: When you say you don't have a full scale kitchen, what kind of resources do you have for when you're cooking in bulk? Do you have any access to a range or an oven? Pots and pans? A refrigerator?

If you've got a large pot, a stovetop, and a refrigerator, you can make as much vegetarian chili as you can carry with no problem. When I was in college I often made it by sauteeing an onion in the large pot with some olive oil, then adding 3 or 4 cans of beans (black, kidney, or whatever), 1 can of diced tomatoes, 1 diced potato, a half-cup of rice, and a tablespoon or so of chili powder, adjusting the liquid so there was enough to cook the rice by, and then covering and cooking for an hour or so on medium-low heat. The recipe's very flexible, and in particular you can throw in whatever kind of vegetables you want.

Hope that helps.
posted by jacobm at 6:05 PM on January 25, 2006

Indian food! Dal, in particular. Or a good dansak (chicken/veg in lentils). Can all be cooked in one pot and keeps perfectly. For starch you can use rice of more conveniently, flatbread.

A good Indian cookbook will give you lots of ideas.
posted by unSane at 6:29 PM on January 25, 2006

NB why peel potatoes? I've never peeled one in my life.
posted by unSane at 6:29 PM on January 25, 2006

Buy a hotplate and make stir fry. you can make it in large batches & refrigerate it. Make up some rice, maybe cook some beef strips or tofu, and you're set.
posted by devilsbrigade at 6:41 PM on January 25, 2006

Ok, I admit it, I didn't read your question. Axe the beef.
posted by devilsbrigade at 6:42 PM on January 25, 2006

I asked a similar question a couple of months ago - some of the answers may be helpful. And I'll be watching this thread with interest as well...
posted by poweredbybeard at 6:55 PM on January 25, 2006

Best answer: Check out this thread from three days ago...
posted by twiggy at 7:11 PM on January 25, 2006

I like this Ethiopian spicy tomato lentil stew. from The Post Punk Kitchen. If you have to buy all the spices, the first time you make it might be a little pricey, but the other ingredients are way cheap, and you could probably get away with using a pre-made curry instead of the spice blend in the recipe.
posted by Airhen at 7:39 PM on January 25, 2006

I second the dal. I am a vegetarian and constantly struggle with getting enough protein on my college budget. The cheapest solution I've found are lentils and rice. Just mix 1/4cup (250g) in the proper amount of water and boil. Add a tablespoon of sugar and a teaspoon of salt.

It is plain tasting, but once you've mastered this super-simple dish you can begin experimenting with other ingredients.
posted by vkxmai at 8:59 PM on January 25, 2006

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