I live with two roommates in a house with a smallish kitchen. We cook separately, but share a CSA and general baking supplies. We moved together just a few months ago, bringing independently well-stocked kitchens –i.e. we have lots and lots of spices, vinegars, etc. My part of the household pantry doesn’t have a lot of “extra” stuff beyond the ingredients I use week to week because there isn’t space. It reduces food waste but also the likelihood of spontaneously creative meals.
I am still transitioning out of a grad school lifestyle where I spent as little time as I could spare planning and preparing meals. In light of this, I eat roughly the same thing every day. It makes “meal planning” easy, because I don’t have to think about what to buy at the store – I just make a list to replace the items that I ate during the past week or so. Cereal and milk for breakfast (+ maybe fruit or yogurt), sandwich for lunch (can switch up the contents or type of bread for variety), and sautéed veggies with either pasta or rice for dinner. I keep a stash of canned goods and frozen items for when I inevitably run out of fresh stuff before going back to the store. It does get boring, but when I try new recipes I get tired of cooking very quickly and then end up with a bunch of leftover ingredients for which I have no use.
These are two frequent “recipes” I use – the first what my meals look like when I still have fresh stuff and the second from later in the week.
olive oil, garlic salt, and pepper
a bunch of vegetables (in this case: white onion, potato, green pepper, mushrooms, and tomato)
pre-cooked chicken sausage
I was hungry when I started making this meal, so I didn’t make a side of rice or eggs – but that could be nice. Though single portion meals are great, I would also like to get in the practice of making larger batches of food (for some reason I rarely do this when starting from fresh ingredients).
1 cup red rice
1-can whole-kernel corn, 1-can diced tomatoes, 1-can kidney beans
pepper-jack cheese (cut into small pieces from a block and tossed on top of the finished meal)
I usually cook garlic and onion in some olive oil before adding the canned goods. I had used up all of my onions, so I threw in the last of my fresh veggies instead (some mushrooms). I didn’t drain the cans as thoroughly as I sometimes do so meal prep took longer as I waited for liquid to boil off. I made slightly more rice than I needed for the quantity of vegetables, so the leftovers were less flavorful than the first meal. I didn’t get the rice stuck to the bottom of the pot!