Wednesday, February 11, 2015

5 Easy Meals to Make in Your Apartment #sarahsmilecooks

I am a really picky eater. I tend to eat things like lunchables, and frozen macaroni, and pizza, etc, but I just moved into my apartment and realized how much I missed home cooked - not frozen five minutes before I eat it - food. Now, I'm not a terrible cook, I'm actually really good at breakfast foods, I just had no idea what sorts of meals would be easy to make, but also filling. I wanted things that were easily customizable (to fit my no vegetable needs) and that weren't too expensive or time consuming. These are the five that I came up with and cook all the time now. 

1. Baked Potato//
So incredibly easy because it can be cooked in either the oven or the microwave, and you can basically put anything you want on it. Clean the potato, wrap it in foil, and bake it on 400 for an hour (an hour and a half for bigger potatoes) until it is a bit smushy when you press on it. For the microwave, just put it on cook for about 10 minutes and then punch a few holes in it with a fork and pop it on defrost for about 8 more minutes. Then I just add loads of butter and salt and pepper, but you can add bacon bits, veggies, sour cream, etc. 

 2. Alfredo Pasta//
 MY FAV. This is so easy to make but SO good. I cook the noodles according to the instructions on the box (add oil and salt to water and boil it, then add the noodles and let them cook for about 12-14 mins). I then microwave frozen chicken strips that I buy from the store - I like the Tyson ones - and add that to my noodles. I pour a little sauce over the noodles - Prago Original Alfredo is yum - and chicken and heat it for another minute or so and voila! You can also grill up some shrimp and add that as well, but I'm a fan of the chicken. 

 3. Hamburger//
Easy Peasy. Buy some ground meat (nothing less than an 80/20 meat/fat ratio), make it into hamburger patties with your hands, season them if you'd like, and then put them in your pan with a bit of oil. Keep flipping them until they're cooked to your liking and then you're done! Dress your burger however you want - I prefer bacon and swiss - and chow down!  

4. Spaghetti//
 The easiest thing to do is use the same pack of ground meat as above for the burgers, except don't make patties out of all of it. I usually use half the pack for patties and half the pack for spaghetti. While your ground meat is cooking, (the same way as the burgers above except loose ground meat, not patties, obvi), cook your noodles. Once your meat is done, add some sauce - again, Prago gotcha covered with tons of different sauce flavors and options - and let that heat up while you strain your noodles! I'd say eat the sauce until you finish the noodles you cooked (it usually lasts me about 3 dinners) and then freeze the rest of your sauce! That way, when you're in a rush later you'll have the sauce already ready and you'll just have to cook noodles! 

5. Fried Rice// 
Requires the most ingredients, but so incredibly easy, and most of it's stuff you've got around the house already! Put your chicken/shrimp in a pan with some oil and get to cooking that. Once you're happy with it, crack a few eggs in the same pan and scramble them around a bit, exactly like scrambled eggs. Once that's done, throw in your rice and some soy sauce - and also your vegetables if you're into that. (; Let that get all warmed up and then you're done! It's a nice change from the pasta dishes but just as easy! 
Just in case you're like me and are a bit afraid of cooking rice without a rice cooker, it's incredibly easy. Just keep an eye on it and add a bit of water if it needs it so that it doesn't burn. Other than that, follow the directions on the tin! 
Hope these gave you a few ideas if you're new to living on your own and are completely stuck! I tend to make everything in bulk and freeze the left overs so that I have tons in my freezer for weeks when I've not got time to cook 3-4 times a week, and it's helped so much! I feel like I've been eating so much better, aka no hot pockets and pizza rolls at every meal, but it also saves me so much money to plan out my meals for the week and re-use the same ingredients. I used to be so nervous cooking but I'm starting to love coming up with all sorts of ideas and experimenting and I realize now that it's really not as hard/scary as it looks! 
Have a great week! 
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