Feed Me
January 25, 2008 5:59 PM   Subscribe

I'm living in a motel for another week and am tired of only having carry out food. What kind of yummy food can I make to feed myself? I have a microwave and a small fridge and access to a grocery store but would like to avoid buying too many supplies that I won't need in a week. Thanks!
posted by nalyd to Food & Drink (21 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Microwave potatoes, serve with a) butter and salt and black pepper or b) shreeded cheese, diced tomato, diced onion, ham slices, broccoli flowers.

Microwave directions:
Potatoes: wash, score them to let steam escape. maybe 4 minutes one side, then flip and microwave 3 more minutes or until done. (These times are for large potatoes.)
Broccoli: saran wrap. Something like 1-3 minutes. Depends how done you want it before it goes on the potato.
Potato with fixin's: mix on plate, microwave about 50 seconds. Not much longer or the cheese will get rubbery.

You may want to invest in a knife, fork, and plate, but I could totally eat this for a week straight.
posted by whatzit at 6:05 PM on January 25, 2008

A bag of pre-cut vegetables can be easily steamed in the microwave.
Chicken breasts can be microwaved pretty successfully too - as long as your not too picky about it.
Bagged salad with canned tuna or a microwaved chicken breast on top.
Canned beans or tuna or chicken, veggies, and some jarred sauce (curry? tomato? pesto?) all mixed together and microwaved.
You can make rice in the microwave! Buy some packets of flavored rice and eat with microwaved veggie and protein!

I think that jarred/canned sauces are the key here. Otherwise, to make anything taste decent, you'll have to buy garlic and herbs and stuff, which you'll never use up in a week.

Do you have access to a toaster oven? Maybe in the 'breakfast room' of the motel? Because then you could make all sorts of things that you need an oven.
posted by Kololo at 6:26 PM on January 25, 2008

If you have an Indian or health food store nearby you might find these. I eat the sachets of curry regularly, they're vegetarian, delicious and easy to heat in a microwave. The only downside is that your room will smell of curry all night.
posted by essexjan at 6:31 PM on January 25, 2008

Get some pre-cooked Purdue chicken (I like the Southwest variety), some tortillas and some cheese, and some broccoli or other mixed veggies from the grocery store salad bar and make quesadillas. Pre-heat the chicken a little on a plate, or the tortilla will be all rubbery by the time the cheese is melted and the chicken warm. Extra chicken goes in a salad the next day.
Get a jar of mild salsa and cook pre-cleaned chicken tenders in the salsa in the microwave, eat with your baked potato.

Those were staples when I lived in and out of hotel rooms as a shovel bum years back. Instant mashed potatoes and frozen meatballs worked too.
posted by gemmy at 6:31 PM on January 25, 2008

Canned chilli heated in microwave. Top with grated cheese, microwave extra 30 seconds until cheese is melted. Very good if especially if you buy a better quality canned chili. Good with saltines or oyster crackers.
posted by metahawk at 6:54 PM on January 25, 2008

When I'm in that situation, I think it's fresh/crunchy/green food that I miss most. Also food with less salt and fat than you typically find in restaurants/take-out/frozen meals.

My antidote is simply fresh celery and/or carrots, washed and cut by me by hand (not the little "finger" carrots you sometimes see pre-prepared). Simple, doesn't require cooking, but is a good accompaniment/antidote to overprocessed/overseasoned food, and can help your digestion (fiber! yay!).

So fresh and delicious! Doesn't require a huge investment of time. Prepare a bunch, cut into "sticks" so they're attractive to eat and so that you don't have to stretch your mouth/make your gums bleed to get a bite. Make a lot in advance, so that it's just as easy and handy as takeout, to encourage yourself to have some frequently.

Just as good is fresh cucumber. Get a peeler if you don't have one (the skins are difficult for some people to digest), and know that cucumber only keeps for a day or two, but it's so good! It's way better freshly cut by you than the somewhat sad slices one sometimes sees on salad bars.

If you do try this idea, make sure you have a suitable container to store the cut veggies in.
posted by amtho at 7:03 PM on January 25, 2008

Scrambled eggs in microwave. You could add pre-cooked ham,sliced vegetables, cheese, and picante sauce. Bacon can be cooked in the microwave. If you purchase the ham and bacon you could use the left overs in a sandwich or make ham salad. To make ham salad dice up ham and mix with a little bit of mayo and mustard and if you like jalapeƱos. Two things you could do with vegetables: Carrots, Potatoes, and Onions. Cut into medium chunks add 1/2 stick of butter and place in bowl covered with saran wrap. Microwave 8-10 minutes until soft.Add salt and pepper/ Be careful of steam. This could be used a side or with the leftovers you could add broth and pre-cooked chicken to make a soup. Hot dogs or sausage.
posted by Snoogylips at 7:15 PM on January 25, 2008

Depending on where you are, you can get pretty healthy prepared meals, although I'd prefer most of the aforementioned posts. I just started trying Kashi's meals here in New England and the ingredients and balanced nutrition and taste are all pretty good.

I enjoy Stouffer's Lean Cuisine over Healthy Choice due to more ~wholesome, simple ingredients. They make a quite healthy and tasty Chicken and Veggies w/pasta meal (I tend to add garlic/onion powder to taste as well as a crudload of pepper) It might not taste quite as good as 'carry outs' but is super fast and easy and healthier.

If you can find any of the Thai or Taj Gourmet (red/black/gold packaging), try the different versions of Pad Thai (carbs) or the Chicken Tikka Masala, even the Saag Paneer is good.

In fact, I should have mentioned those first.

I eat a prepared meal a few times a week, not that I'm proud of it.
posted by prodevel at 8:00 PM on January 25, 2008

Loaf of bread, barbecued chicken, bag of mixed salad leaves, dressing. You'll need a plate and knife and fork, but you get to have chicken salad or chicken sandwiches. Substitute lunch meats for the chicken if you like. Get a tomato and a sharp knife and your salad gets better.

Cereal and milk (bowl & spoon required).

How about frozen dinners (there's a really nice healthy & tasty range where I live) that you just pop in the microwave for 5-8 minutes. Requires fork only.

Rice and steamed veges (maybe with some of that chicken). It's possible to buy rice pouches that cook in 90 seconds. Steam some vegetables in the microwave (maybe precut carrot, broccoli, bok choy) and serve on rice. Requires bowl, fork and maybe a little left over chili sauce from one of your take-outs.

Canned soup? Maybe dolled up with some fresh veges not used up from above.

Pasta is fairly easy to cook in the microwave - about 10 minutes for spirals etc. Have some stir through pasta sauce and parmesan cheese to go on top.
posted by b33j at 8:10 PM on January 25, 2008

As per prodevel, jarred curry (I like Patak's) can work in a microwave.

Cut up some chicken, or whatever, season (soy sauce/salt, white pepper, cummin if you can get it where you are - if you can, do this before leaving work, leave it in the fridge, and take it out when you come back home), throw in microwave and get it about 80% cooked. Chop up some onions, potatoes, big carrots, celery, and throw them in a microwave-safe bowl. Cover with a minimal of water and maybe a little salt. Microwave until the water starts boiling. Stop the microwave, drain the vegetables (in cold water). Mix meat & vegetables & curry paste (some pastes need you to add more water, others, not - may say on the lable). Return to microwave for another minute or two on high.

Serve with rice (Uncle Benz?!) or toast/bread.

It's not haut cuisine, but it's economical and a far cry than Kraft Macaroni & Cheese.
posted by porpoise at 8:45 PM on January 25, 2008

Chili (topped with shredded cheddar cheese), and rice make a wonderful meal.

Dump 1 cup rice with 2 cups water (or chicken broth)into bowl--cover and nuke for 10 minutes on high. Pour canned chili on top, nuke another 3 minutes. Sprinkle cheddar cheese on top--and even add a dollop of sour cream. Yum!!
posted by pushing paper and bottoming chairs at 8:46 PM on January 25, 2008

Nearly all grocery stores carry rotisserie chicken in different flavors. That, with some Near East boxed rice/couscous (they're all good), a veg, and you've got dinner for at least two days. On days I don't feel like cooking, I'll shread the meat with my hands and make tacos; some pre-made salsa, or pico, chesse, whatever works for you. Most of the chickens I've seen come in a plastic container, which makes it handy to store leftovers. Reheats well, but also good cold. If there's Costco anywhere near, they make the best...cheap too!
posted by JABof72 at 10:06 PM on January 25, 2008

Man, that's rough. Are you willing to mince and chop stuff?

Tzatziki: dice up a cucumber, discarding the seeds-they make it runny and you don't want that. Combine with Greek yogurt (preferably Fage brand) with red wine vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper, and a chopped up clove of garlic (or two or three). You can eat it immediately. If you can't find any Greek yogurt to buy, you'll want to strain some American yogurt through a cheesecloth in the sink. But that's tedious, so I really recommend finding some Greek yogurt. Fage is available nationwide these days.

Get some pita bread and use it as a utensil to eat the tzatziki. To make the pita bread be extra yummy, microwave a loaf for 30 seconds. It really revives it.
posted by evariste at 11:25 PM on January 25, 2008

I guess it might an appropriate time to eat some raw foods.
posted by thedanimal at 11:26 PM on January 25, 2008

Quesadillas and wraps are easy to make. The rotisserie chicken is a great idea - you could probably get one and makes meals from it the rest of the week. Chicken salad, nachos, sandwiches, curry, etc.
posted by Ostara at 11:27 PM on January 25, 2008

Gourmet microwave asparagus: get some asparagus, wash it, and chop off the crummy ends. If you're feeling ambitious, use a small paring-type knife to get off the little leaves along the stalk-they're edible, but it's better without them so I always remove them. Put in a dish, cover with water. Cook on high for about 2-3 minutes or until done (you might need to go longer for larger amounts of asparagus). Drain. Salt, pepper, and drizzle with olive oil and red wine vinegar. Serve with slices of gruyere and a good fresh bread.

With asparagus, the thinner the better. I am disgusted when I see giant asparagus as thick as my thumb at the grocery store. Buy the thinnest you can.
posted by evariste at 11:31 PM on January 25, 2008

Mainstream grocery stores usually have decent canned Israeli hummus, which is great. Hummus is a lot better hot than cold, something that America at large doesn't seem to have realized. Get a bowl, paper works, and put the hummus from the can in it. Add lemon juice, perhaps some salt if it isn't already salted, and mix it up, then use a spoon to sorta smear/paint the hummus along the sides of the bowl while rotating the bowl with your other hand. The idea is not to have a lump of hummus in the middle of the bowl, but to coat the entire bowl with it. Microwave 30 seconds to one minute. Remove from microwave and pour a few tablespoons of olive oil into the bowl. Microwave a loaf of pita bread for 30 seconds. Use torn off pieces of it as a hummus scooper. Yum!

If you must buy hummus from the refrigerated section, which I disrecommend, get the Sabra. By far the best brand of hummus available in the United States.

If you see any Ziyad hummus, which you're unlikely to find except in ethnic or Arab neighborhood grocery stores, get it! As a fierce Arab hummus bigot, I much prefer it to the Israeli stuff.

To recap, in order of preference, you should buy: Ziyad (Jordanian) canned hummus, any Israeli canned hummus, or Sabra (made in Brooklyn, I think) refrigerated hummus. But people who don't really care about hummus and didn't grow up eating it as a major food group probably won't be able to tell much difference. When I was in Jordan I could tell which particular hummus restaurant in my neighborhood a plate of hummus came from just by tasting it.
posted by evariste at 11:40 PM on January 25, 2008

Speaking of gruyere (which I mentioned in the microwave asparagus recipe above): a microwaveable cup of minestrone soup, plus some sliced gruyere on the side, plus an onion, plus a few slices of bread, is truly a feast fit for a king.
posted by evariste at 11:46 PM on January 25, 2008

Microwave a pita loaf, cut it open, and stuff food in it. Then eat it. Things I really like in a hot pita loaf:

-A can of tuna plus a few pitted olives. Optional bonus: capers! Good tuna is worth the extra money, so get the expensive kind, not the cat food kind.

-Two or three boiled eggs. You can't boil eggs in a microwave, unfortunately, but if you can get access to a stovetop, you should do this. Just peel the eggs and put them in there whole, then use a palm on top of the pita bread to smoosh them up inside. Then open the bread back up and add salt, pepper, and a little olive oil. Optional bonus: one or two anchovies.

-Peanut butter and jelly. IMHO it's waaaay better on pita than on bunny bread. Bigoted jelly recommendation: the Smucker's reduced sugar stuff, especially the strawberry kind. One of the few commonly available jellies with no high fructose corn syrup.
posted by evariste at 12:10 AM on January 26, 2008 [1 favorite]

My grocery store sells an electric personal-size compact grill ("Proctor Silex Compact Grill"). It's kinda like a miniature foreman grill: big enough to grill a big sandwich, or maybe a chicken breast plus half a tomato next to it. In other words, it's pretty small. They cost just $12. Get one of those, and buy some Halloumi cheese. It's an incredibly delicious cheese that can stand up to being grilled, one which I've been able to find all over the country. For instance, Whole Foods sells it.

Slice it and grill it, about four minutes for each side, turning once. Drizzle very lightly with lemon juice, and eat. Scrambled eggs are a great side for this dish, and can be made in the microwave.
posted by evariste at 12:20 AM on January 26, 2008

If you can get a big, deep bowl that's microwaveable, here's a super easy savory meal: dump in one of those small 16 oz square cartons of egg whites, and into the liquid whites dump any cut veggies you like -- green or red peppers, whole baby carrots, mushroom halves, broccoli, zucchini, etc. Just cook the bowl in the microwave til the eggs are fairly solid (whatever texture you like, but test them every once in a while so they don't get harder than you like). The veggies will be tender and you'll get lots of very filling protein for almost no effort and relatively little cost.

Also, if you can find any of these in the freezer of the grocery store, they taste way more like real food than most frozen foods: Amy's lasagna or entrees, Ian's mac & cheese (best mac & cheese I ever tasted), Ethnic Gourmet entrees (natural Indian).
posted by lorimer at 2:51 AM on January 26, 2008

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