Thoughts, Tips, Ideas and Tricks to live your best life
Hello Vegan Gluten Free Enthusiasts!
I'd like to share a super easy and healthy meal to cook in about 20 minutes.
All you need is
Mushrooms, Broccolini, Leeks, & Garlic (because I can't eat without garlic!)
The quantity depends on how many people will eat and how much each one eats, personally I always have to cook for two because I eat that much!
For cooking rice, I cook it the Brazilian way, so I add the quantity of rice, garlic and olive oil fry it a little then add the water. When cooking rice always add double the amount of water to rice. So for example one cup of rice, two cups of water. Once you've added the water, as soon as it boils, turn down the heat to a low simmer (for those of you that have an electric stove, about a "2" is good). When there is no more water, but the rice isn't burnt yet, its ready. And don't worry if you burn the pan, for my first ten years of cooking I would burn the rice every time. To clean it, you just let the pan soak.
Delicious Alternative: For the rice, I used half water, and half vegetable broth & white wine. Try it :)
Then I cooked the mushrooms and garlic in a pan first (these two take a bit longer to cook, and not as delicious on the raw side)... A minute or two before the rice was ready I added the chopped up broccolini and leeks. I like my veges on the crunchy side, so really I'm just heating them up. Season to taste. Since I already had an Italian theme going I used the "Everyday Seasoning" from Trader Joe's.
Bonus: this meal should cost under $5.
I'm just eating dinner, and wanted to share some of my favorite meals. Its all gluten free and can be vegan.
This one is so basic and yet so delicious. I love button mushrooms, the typical white mushrooms you see at any store.
So you just cut the mushrooms however you like. If I'm in a rush I'll chop them up smaller, if I feel like really enjoying the meaty texture I'll just chop them in half. Then through them in a pot/pan with paprika, pepper and butter. Cook until they are ready.
If you want to make it vegan use olive oil and leave out the bacon referenced below. I think adding onions and garlic make everything better. If you want to make it more elaborate or more of a dish to serve, adding zucchini and green onion/leeks and bacon would be delicious.
Baked Potato (really cheap)
Baked potatoes are one of the healthiest easiest complete meals you could make. Just wrap the potato in tin foil, I like to add a little olive oil inside of the tin foil and put it in the oven, I usually cook it at 350, that way I can let it cook, and go do other stuff. I'll come back to check on it every 30 minutes. When you think its close to done you can just turn off the oven and leave the potatoes in until you are ready to eat. Then chop up all the toppings you'd like to enjoy or have your family enjoy. If you are interested in keeping it on the healthy side you can chop up what every veggies sound good, personally I love paprika, so I would probably do a blend of veggies very finely chopped and sauteed with paprika. Paprika just gives that delicious smoky flavor of bbq sauce. Of course I'd have sauteed onions and sauteed garlic (keeping them seperate) and raw green onions, leeks, or chives. I like to add a little butter or bbq sauce as well, but that that is what is so great about baked potatoes! The topping options are endless.
Sweet potatoes don't get enough credit in my opinion. You can cook them any way you like, just like regular potatoes and they are deliciously sweet, healthy and very satisfying. I usually chop them up, put them on a baking pan with whole garlic and chopped onions and bake them, I'll add a little olive oil and maybe a shot of water. If you want to spice it up you can use a different type of oil like walnut oil, peanut oil, macadamia oil... Salt and pepper to taste. And done. Simple and delicious.
Other seasonings that go great with sweet potatoes are rosemary, thyme, paprika, or curry. But not blended together!
Lentil soup can be vegan gluten free. The more you make at once the cheaper it is.
Lentil soup is one of my favorite meals, for many reasons. Its hearty, filling, satisfying, very healthy, high in iron (at one point I was close to being anemic and had to seek out foods high in iron) and very cheap. Oh! And it stores very well, in the freezer. This makes is perfect for someone that is very busy and gone a lot.... like a flight attendant!
Find lentils that you like, I think the most common lentils are green, but yellow and red lentils are delicious as well. Look at the cooking directions on the back, or if buying bulk talk to someone in the store. Green lentils take much longer to cook than red lentils. And this recipe is for green lentils, so if you decide to cook red or yellow lentils, the cooking time will be much shorter.
If you have broth in the house, I love adding vegetable broth. Get a large pan, I will use the largest soup pan I have in the house. It will usually cook enough lentils for about 10 meals. Please work proportionately to what you've got. The larger the pan the more room you'll need at the top to allow for spillage or as the lentils grow. For large pans I'd suggest 4 finger of room, that's about 2 inches.
I love adding every vegetable you have in the house, but leave out corn, sweet potatoes and Brussel sprouts. If you're going to the store and really don't know what vegetables would be best my go to's are
onion, shallots, green onion
red, yellow, or orange bell peppers
mushrooms ( I like the typical button mushrooms)
If you want meat, I think chicken is really good, but then it doesn't freeze as well.
some carrots (I'm light on the carrots when I add them)
If I have kale in the house, I'll add a little, less than a handful, but I wouldn't buy it for the soup...
..... Which vegetables you add depends on your taste
I'd suggest at least 5 vegetables in the soup.
I like the chop everything fairly small because I like the consistency to be the same. Things taste better to me, when it all feels the same. But chop the veges large or small to your taste. Keep in mind if you chop the vegetable to keep them large the potatoes will take longer to boil. I put a little water in the pot, let it start to boil, then I'll add each vegetable as I chop it. Usually the potatoes first, because they take the longest to cook, then the onions, mushrooms, and garlic. And add the tomatoes, parsley, green onion, or other garnishes last. But its kind of hard to go wrong, so it you do it out of order that is OK.
Then once all the vegetable are in the boiling water, I'll add the lentils. Keep mixing the pot, as you add each item. After I've added the lentils, is when I will add the broth, then more boiling water if needed. Season to taste, I season the soup with olive oil, curry powder, salt and pepper, sometimes I'll use onion powder and garlic powder. (I don't think you can ever have too much garlic or onions). Then turn the heat down to low and let it simmer, coming back every 10 minutes to check on it and stir it a little. After letting it simmer for an hour or so, I'll taste it. If the lentils are soft and taste good its ready. Time to eat!
The Spanish eat Lentil Soup with bread and butter, it is so delicious pairing the two together.
If you made extra so you can freeze it just let it sit on the stove to cool off. After a few hours it should be cooled down enough to scoop into containers to freeze.
These are my favorite containers for freezing anything because one container is the perfect size for one serving. And they are stack-able which is awesome for space saving and keeping organized. This is not a promotion for Ziploc, its just my opinion.
Backpacker Special - $2
Can be vegan and gluten free
Though I'm sure this is nothing new, I came up with it on my own while I was backpacking around Australia. Its $2 per meal, and gets cheaper the more people join the meal. This one is so delicious and enough variety, I NEVER got sick of it.
Pick a pack of noodles that you like. I would usually pick Thai Kitchen, or Yakisoba (its a green noodle, made with Moroheiya, when I learned about the super food power of Moroheiya, that made my decision). The meal will still be delicious no matter what brand of noodle you pick. And I'd usually add a pack of noodles per person that would join the meal, but if it were three or more people I'd do one less pack. For example for 6 people eating at dinner I'd do 5 packs of noodles. It does need to all be the same brand, same flavor.
Then I'd buy two vegetables per person, more than three people I'd buy a piece of meat in place of one vegetable. Almost always I would have an onion in there. And since I was $ price $ conscious I'd usually buy what ever vegetable was the cheapest.
Then you decide if you will have soup or noodles. If having noodles fry the veges, then when they are almost done, cook (boil in water) the noodles, not more than two minutes. Strain the noodles, add the seasoning to the vegetables. Typically most pack of noodles will have some kind of oil in the pack but if you want more, and have it in the home, add what ever oil will go well with the meal. When the seasoning is all mixed in with the vegetables, add the strained noodles to the frying pan of vegetables, mix so that the flavor is even, and serve!
If I was cooking this meal only for myself, I'd buy Thai Kitchen Coconut Curry Flavor, buy an onion and mushrooms, fry the veges, boil the noodles, add the seasoning to the veges while the noodles strain, add the noodles, voila, a delicious vegan gluten free meal that is very satisfying AND under $2!!!!
When I would cook for 6
I buy 5 packages of Yakisoba Green Noodles, 1 chicken breast, I found an egg (yay) + 10 more vegetables, all different ( lets say an onion, bell pepper, a carrot, a celery stick, 2 or 3 mushrooms, 2 or 3 garlic cloves, a potato, peas, corn, some green beans). Then the same thing fry the veges, egg and chicken, I found some peanut oil so I added a tea spoon of oil, add the seasoning, boil the noodles, strain them add them to the seasoned veges, mix and serve. YUM!!! This meal will be A LOT of food, you may have leftovers, and it will definitely be under $2.
IF you don't have oil, except for what comes in the pack, as you are frying the vegetables, keep adding just a tiny bit of water as it evaporates.
To make it soup instead, just boil the vegetables, then when they are almost done add the noodles. Put just enough water, not how much you think you will need. Its best to keep a separate pot of clean boiling water so that after adding the noodles, you can add more boiling water if needed so that everything cooks. To make it extra delicious, if you have any broth in the house, add a little broth, you don't need much, just a splash would make a big difference. But be sure that there is more water than broth.
This meal shouldn't take longer than 10 - 25 minutes, from chopping the vegetables to sitting down to eat.
This series is dedicated to anyone that has ever been on a budget, or has any type of financial goal and doesn't know where to trim on their finances; and any new flight attendant :) Inspired by the most recent Flight Attendant I just flew with and just loved. He's so excited about this new and different life, but a little concerned about the financial side. I didn't get to give you all my tips, so here are some more... This is typical when you get your dream job and then realize how little you are getting paid. But its your dream job, there is always a way, I hope this recipe series helps.
Many people think that eating cheap and healthy doesn't exist. I'm here to share a few recipes that are incredibly cheap, delicious, and healthy.
Hope to fly with you soon, Jessica
I'm very passionate about a lot of things, often trying to incorporate all of it into my life!