I never thought I’d ever be writing about food, but y’all asked for this, so y’all are going to get it.
A little bit of backstory
Skip through this to the terrible phone pictures if you just want the recipes.
Though I enjoy going out to eat, trying new restaurants where I live and local cuisine whenever I travel, I’m not very picky with my food and I can’t see the minute differences between something amazingly well cooked and a decent meal – the only thing I’m sensitive about is how raw my meat is (spoiler alert: I like it bloody) and how spicy something is. Other than that, well, I eat pretty much anything and don’t really have cravings beyond chocolate.
As I’ve discussed before, though, I gained weight with the worst period of my depression. A lot of weight, weight that had been very very hard to lose considering I am genetically very prone to weight gain (how many times can a girl write ‘weight’) and it is hard for my whole family to lose a single gram. Since I don’t like spending money on food, more often than not I ate whatever was cheapest, and at the core I am very lazy, so this usually translated into ready meals that I thought were healthy.
In January I started a new food plan. Firstly, to lose weight (which I haven’t yet, but I’m sure you all would, you lucky bastards), but mostly to feel healthier. Now, feeling healthy is a tricky subject but in my case it meant improving my digestion, my energy levels and my skin and hair. My body reacts really intensely to ‘bad’ food – my hair falls out, I get acne, I stop going to the bathroom, I get extremely bloated, so on so forth.
But eating healthy, in theory, takes a lot of effort and time, things I have but not necessarily enjoy throwing out the window. I would never, say, spend a lot of time cooking a meal that in the end would be bad for me. So what could a lazy girl do to eat healthy?
Know your staples
First of all, I have a small fridge, which means I have to watch what I buy. I try to stick to basic ingredients that I can prepare not only very quickly, but eat in different ways and make new combinations. What I usually have at home is chicken breast fillets, apples, eggs, avocado, tomatoes, bags of ready-mixed salad, sliced brown bread, low-fat yogurts (soy, in my case), lemons, pre-chopped red onions and a lot of condiments. I could go on and on about how I have an entire cabinet for condiments, but my stables are usually feta cheese, grated parmesan, extra virgin olive oil, lemons, white truffle oil, balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, powdered garlic and then a wide array of herbs. The ones I use the most would be mint, parsley, chives and oregano.
These are all things I always have in my fridge so I don’t have to plan my meals in advance and shop accordingly. If I’m feeling too lazy to leave the house I can whip something up quickly.
Quick Meal Guide #1
And here is this month’s list of very quick delicious things I made at home, with no pre-planned grocery shopping, just throwing things in and hoping they would work. The best for the couch potato in all of us, really.
I’m very very sorry for the quality of these photos. I never planned on doing this, so I took them with my phone in terrible lighting just to send them to my parents. Because they never cook for themselves when I’m not there and I like to make them jealous (and give them ideas). If people like this, I’ll do my best to take better pictures next time!
The Everyday Brunch
The most basic yet delicious fresh chunky spread to leave you energised. And all it takes is smashing things together. I made this at a friend’s house, so you don’t even need to be in your own kitchen. All you need is a knife and a bowl, and something to toast your bread.
- 1 slice of wholemeal bread – You can use any bread, honestly, but my body doesn’t digest refined carbohydrates very well. The browner it is, the less bloated I get, but I still wouldn’t have it after, say, 4pm. I don’t have a toaster so I put my bread on the frying pan.
- 1/2 or 1 small (Hass) avocado – Depending on how much you want to make, honestly. Just scoop it out of the skin with a spoon and mash it with a potato masher, or cut it up into tiny bits.
- Feta cheese, to taste – I like to crumble it with my hands or mash it together with the avocado to avoid large chunks. Feta is creamy and salty, so it blends with the smoothness of the avocado and gives it a whole new flavour.
- Fresh Mint – Because I am too lazy to properly chop my herbs, I gather leaves in a tight bunch and chop at them with scissors into the bowl. Don’t use dry mint – it has zero flavour. This is the real key and makes everything taste amazingly fresh.
- Red onion, to taste – Chopped as tiny as you can. You want the flavour, not the texture. White onion is too harsh when it’s raw, in my opinion.
- Optional – A drop of olive oil, to make the mixture soft and mushy.
Toast your bread, mix everything together in a bowl and season to taste. Since the mint is already in there, I usually just sprinkle sea salt (I hate table salt with a passion) and black pepper. Spoon your mix onto the toast and you’re done.
The Indecisive Toast
For breakfast or a mid-afternoon snack. One slice of bread, cut in half. Yeah, portion control. I find this to be the ultimate lazy snack for the gourmet-inclined. You get a bit of salty, a bit of sweet.
- Low-fat Philadelphia cream cheese, balsamic glaze and oregano on the first one. Dinner, basically. The balsamic glaze is sweet and acidic enough to balance the cream cheese.
- Organic peanut butter (no added sugar, 100% peanuts) and a drizzle of agave syrup. The peanut butter isn’t sweet at all, so the agave really brings the flavour out.
The Breakfast Alternative
I actually had this as a replacement for dinner the other day and I felt so full I couldn’t believe how this had happened. So I would stick with a smaller portion, or having this for breakfast.
- One apple, cut into thin slices.
- Ryvita Multigrain Crispbread – The most whole-grain thing I could find. Probably will make you poop a lot. Also extremely filling, now I understand why people snack on this when they’re dieting, holy hell.
- Organic peanut butter, spread very thinly. Gives dimension to the apple flavour, also helps the slices stick to the toast.
- Very light drizzle of Agave syrup, or honey if you want to be ˜cheeky˜.
The One Person Taco
Can be eaten on a plate or with your hands. I went overboard with the tomatoes and I still managed to fold it and eat it like you’re supposed to.
- One corn tortilla, warmed on a frying pan. Literally just put it on heat, flip it after you feel it lifting at the corners, maybe longer if you want it a bit toasted but I like mine soft enough to fold.
- Cherry tomatoes, chopped. I cut a handful of them into quarters, but you can use less or make them smaller. It’s all about how much of each flavour you want, really.
- Half of a small (Hass) avocado
- Feta cheese, to taste
- One small chicken breast, grilled on a non-stick frying pan without oil, cut into very small chunks.
Seasoned with olive oil, fresh mint, sea salt and black pepper. See what I mean now about staples?
Could I resist making a joke about potato boats?
- 1/2 sweet potato
- Roasted whole in the oven at 200°C (500°F) for 45min/1h. Once you take it out of the oven let it cool before you slice it in half. Scoop the filling out, leaving just a thin wall of ‘meat’ around the peel. Put the filling in a bowl.
- 1 small chicken breast fillet,
- Roasted in the oven.
- Seasoned with: lemon juice, powdered garlic, olive oil and parsley.
- Delicious, 10/10, would eat on its own. I buy my chicken fillets frozen, by the way, because I’m impulsive with my food and can’t commit to buying fresh meat for it to go off in three days.
For the filling:
- Cherry tomatoes, chopped as small as possible. I only used two since I wanted the mix to fit into the potato.
- 1/2 a small (Hass) avocado, mashed.
- Red onion, to taste. I use very very little otherwise it gets overpowering.
- Sweet potato, scooped out of the ‘boat’ you are using.
- Fresh mint, to taste.
- Optional – Feta cheese, to taste. You can leave it out for this one. There’s so much flavour already you don’t necessarily need it, but I find that it helps balance out the sweetness of the potato.
- Seasoned with: lemon juice, olive oil, sea salt, black pepper and parsley.
The Lazy Gourmet Gratin
Originally imagined to be eaten as a side, turned out a teeny tiny one-person portion was enough to provide me with two whole meals. Seriously, what is cauliflower made of?! I had the first half of this with salad and then the next day I reheated it and had the rest of it alone.
Preheat your oven to 200°C.
- 150g of cauliflower florets, chopped. I get mine in a bag, pre-chopped from Waitrose. Two thumbs up for laziness and also the wonder that is the modern supermarket.
- A pinch of grated parmesan
- A handful of mozzarella
Spread the cauliflower florets on your roasting pan. I use a very small one since I’m only one person and this is a tiny amount of cauliflower. Drizzle some olive oil on top, salt, pepper and a lot of powdered garlic.
Leave it in the oven for about 25 minutes. I like mine a bit crispy so I find this amount of time works best.
Take it out of the oven and sprinkle the mixture of cheese on top. Squeeze some lemon juice (go wild and free with this, the lemon does wonders) and finish it off with some parsley and chives before putting it back in the oven for 5-10 minutes, until the cheese melts. If you’re planning on reheating it the next day, don’t let the cheese get too melted, otherwise when you reheat it it might burn.
Optional: put a teaspoon of honey mustard on your plate and use it as a dipping sauce.
There we go! That is my lazy food edit for January!
Let me know if you like this idea, if this was useful at all for you, if you are embarking on a similar journey to eat better (not just dieting) or just to start using your stove instead of just your microwave in 2017.
Any comments – on here, Instagram, Facebook or Twitter – would be highly appreciated. I really do enjoy cooking, especially when it takes very little effort and a lot of experimentation, and not being able to eat a lot of carbs or meat (both very quick and easy things to prepare) really forces me to come up with new ideas to fill my stomach.
Lots of love,