Table of Contents
- Making lists of my favorite things.
- Doors are temporary walls.
- Sort your Tupperware in columns.
- Cooking pasta
- Meal = protein + carb + vegetable
- Some stupidly easy batch cooking ideas
- Snacks can count as part of a meal!
- Vanilla or honey tea at night might satisfy your sweet tooth (non-caffeinated!).
- Other favorite teas
- You can boil an entire pot of tea with just one teabag. I put one in my electric kettle all the time.
- When you finally find something, put it back in the first place you looked rather than where you found it.
- Countertop trash cans!!!
I’m not sponsored by anyone. These are just things I really really like.
Making lists of my favorite things.
I know it’s sappy, but making lists of my favorite things does a good job of cheering me up every once in a while. It’s also kinda fun.
Doors are temporary walls.
Sort your Tupperware in columns.
My Tupperware cabinet used to be such a messy pile of containers stacked on top of each other with no order whatsoever. Whenever I need a Tupperware, I often had to dig all the way to the back, placing some on the counters or floor. Sorting my Tupperware in columns changed my life. I grouped my containers by size: extra large for batch cooking, medium for my lunchbox, miscellaneous large for leftovers, and small for sauces or snacks. I snapped the lids on and placed them in columns—not vertically. Columns from back to front. I ended up with a sort of 3D checkboard. Each row from side to side has containers of different sizes. Each column from front to back has containers of the same size. When I ran out of horizontal space, I started stacking containers of matching size on top of each other. Since every column has a container of the same size, I can always grab arbitrarily from the front. No more digging! Putting them away is easier too, now that everything has a spot.
Bonus: don’t fall into the trap of filling every available space with something! The system defeats itself if you start putting Tupperware in the wrong place, even if you have extra space. Designate a spot for a thing and a thing for a spot.
Rinse pasta with cold water and drizzle with olive oil immediately after straining to store it without sticking.
Great for batch cooking!
Boil pasta in a pan instead of a pot for faster cooking.
Make your own pasta sauce.
This isn’t going to be a fancy or authentic recipe, but it is going to contain much less sodium than the jarred kind. It’s also not that hard. Heat some garlic in a pan (Trader Joe’s sells jars of pre-diced garlic for no prep) then add a can of diced tomatoes. Maybe add some salt, pepper, chili flakes, basil, oregano. Ground meat makes a nice meat sauce or chili (I like mixing dark and light meat turkey). Mushrooms are great too!
Meal = protein + carb + vegetable
I always get overwhelmed trying to prepare meals for myself, so it helps to break down a meal into three components (plus a flavor). When I’m feeling really indecisive, I try choosing a protein first. Dishes seem to come easier after that. The internet has plenty of awesome recipes too!
My favorite proteins
- Ground turkey: chili, meat sauce
- Chicken tenders (they cook faster)
- Beans: black beans, chickpeas
- Canned tuna (unsalted from Trader Joe’s)
My favorite carbs
- I make two cups and stick it in the fridge. Lasts several days/a week.
- Leftover rice can become fried rice!
- An entire box easily lasts a week.
- Sometimes I get the colorful kind that supposedly has a serving of veggies to feel healthy.
- Bow tie, swirly, spaghette, Annie’s White Cheddar Mac and Cheese, these are all very technical terms
- That’s it I guess lolol
- I should figure out an easy way to cook potatoes. I just hate dealing with my oven or cutting anything.
My favorite vegetables
- Brussels sprouts
- NOT CELERY
- Artichoke (I don’t know how to cook it, though)
- Bok choy
- Green beans
Bonus: my favorite flavors
- East Asian ish: soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic (maybe ginger if I feel like it), Sriracha or chili flakes
- Italian ish: garlic, rosemary, basil, thyme, oregano, maybe lemon, red pepper flakes
- Mexican ish: paprika, cumin, onion powder, Cholula or red pepper flakes
Some stupidly easy batch cooking ideas
- Boil an entire box of swirly or bow tie pasta in a pan.
- Dice half a red onion into small-ish pieces. Place in a small mixing bowl with a bunch of white vinegar, a splash of balsamic vinegar, and a bit of maple syrup. We’re pickling the onion! The tartness without the spice is really nice. Leave to soak for about 20 minutes.
- Dice some mozzarella into bite-sized chunks. I did half a block from Trader Joe’s and sliced the other half into sticks for a snack. Place diced mozzarella in a large mixing bowl (we will mix the pasta in here later).
- Slice sundried tomatoes into thin strips (Trader Joe’s sells bags of pre-sliced sundried tomatoes; I used the whole bag).
- When the pasta is done boiling, strain, rinse with cold water, and coat with olive oil to prevent sticking. Place in large mixing bowl with mozzarella.
- Strain the onion but save the pickling liquid. We can use it as dressing for the pasta salad.
- Mix onion, sundried tomatoes, pasta, mozzarella, and basil (fresh sliced into small pieces is best but dried is fine). If you like tart food, you can mix with the pickling liquid (that sounds gross but it’s pretty good). Or you can just salt to taste for a milder flavor.
“Spicy tuna” rice
- Strain a can of tuna. Mash it until it is the consistency of spicy tuna in sushi.
- Mix with a glob of mayo, a splash of sesame oil, a bit of soy sauce, and as much Sriracha as you want. Mix mix mix really well. If it tastes boring, add a bit more mayo. Trust the mayo.
- Mix rice with vinegar. Sounds weird, but this is the same as sushi rice. This step is optional.
- Put the tuna on top of the rice (you can mix it if you want) and then top with furikake rice seasoning. This stuff is awesome. You can find a variety of rice seasonings at Asian supermarkets.
- Boil an entire box of pasta, rinse with cold water, coat with olive oil to prevent sticking.
- Make the sauce: garlic (Trader Joe’s sells jars of pre-diced garlic for less prep) + diced onion cooked slowly on low heat, add ground meat if desired, add a can of diced tomatoes, simmer until you get bored of checking the pot. Season with basil, oregano, rosemary, etc.
- Prep whatever veggies you want. Store them separately and add them like toppings when you’re packing your lunch later. I like mushrooms, peas, and broccoli. Easy opportunity for daily variety! Go ahead and buy the pre-chopped packages. Sometimes a bit of extra $$ is the difference between actually cooking a meal and just going hungry because you couldn’t deal with the prep, and that’s okay.
- Pan roasting chopped chicken works well here too. I sometimes add beans to pasta for an easy source of protein. Kinda weird but it tastes fine.
- I really like this honey soy-glazed salmon recipe from Tasty. You basically marinate salmon in soy sauce, honey, garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes and then cook it in a pan.
- Great with rice and broccoli!
- The same marinade works well with chicken too. I usually go for tenders. My brother likes bone-in thighs.
- Drop an egg or two in the middle of a big pan or wok and fry until slight cooked. Dump old, refrigerated rice in and mix with the fried egg and a bunch of soy sauce and sesame oil. Add peas, diced onion, and whatever vegetables you want. Beans and meat work here too.
Don’t use fresh rice! The fried rice will turn out gloopy.
Snacks can count as part of a meal!
Sometimes I struggle to incorporate enough protein into my meals so I’ve started relying on snacks as side dishes. I aim for low-sodium and low-added sugar (not necessarily low-carb) snacks. Some of my favorites (very low-maintenance):
- Peanut butter (I get the sugar-free kind) with water crackers or “Everything” Pretzel Crisps
- think! brand protein bars in brownie crunch or peanut butter (sold at Trader Joe’s)
- These bars are low-sugar so they taste kinda funky but in a good way? Maybe they have weird artificial sweeteners, I don’t know, being healthy is so exhausting
- KIND Dark Chocolate Clusters (granola)
- with OIKOS Triple Zero vanilla yogurt or on its own by the handful
- Baby carrots (fun to munch on but not very satiating in my experience)
- Fruit that doesn’t require much prep: apples, bananas, peaches, plums, maybe grapes
Vanilla or honey tea at night might satisfy your sweet tooth (non-caffeinated!).
- Celestial Madagascar Vanilla (rooibos)
- Celestial Sleepytime Vanilla
- Twinings Honey, Vanilla & Chamomile
- Yogi Honey Lavender Stress Relief
Other favorite teas
- Steven Smith Peppermint
- Five Grains (Korean)
- Mighty Leaf African Nectar (rooibos) (also great iced!)
- La Colombe Peppermint Cardamom
- Twinings Decaf Lady Grey (black) (with a bunch of honey)
- Solomon Seal (Korean) (similar to barley tea served at Korean restaurants)
- Stash Breakfast in Paris (black + lavender)
- Genmaicha (green with toasted rice)
- Irish or English Breakfast with a bunch of honey
You can boil an entire pot of tea with just one teabag. I put one in my electric kettle all the time.
When you finally find something, put it back in the first place you looked rather than where you found it.
Countertop trash cans!!!
I once got a mini countertop trash can that I am absolutely obsessed with at Target (my happy place). I can’t find the same one online but it looks like this one from Amazon. The flip top is really important—a similar one with a swinging top was too annoying to use with such a small trash can. It put it on my kitchen counter for egg shells, small wrappers, and other crumbs!!