If there's one thing that COVID has changed, for most people, it's food.
Just a short time ago, people were going out to lunch at cafes, hanging out at restaurants, going to friend’s houses for dinner.
But now, all that is over (well, for now at least),
In some cases, people who have never really cooked before are giving it a try which is fantastic. But it can also lead to people living on take away food, frozen food, tinned food or no food at all.
Yes, flour was all sold out, and yeast, and pasta, and toilet paper (why, oh why), but for the most part, there was enough food, just maybe not exactly what you wanted.
If you struggle to find the time or energy to cook, I have a few tips that will make it easier.
The freezer is your friend, cook in bulk – I often cook LARGE batches. When I say large, I mean cooking 30 serves of spaghetti bolognese for example. This lets me freeze meals so there is always healthy food available at a moment’s notice. In almost all cases I just freeze the sauce and cook the pasta/rice etc as I need it. I like to experiment with different veggie noodles. You might like to try that out too.
My fav Spaghetti Bol is based on this https://www.healthier.qld.gov.au/food/recipes/spaghetti-bolognese/ (I add even more vegetables)
Cook a few things well and often – You don’t need to learn a million things to cook. Having 3 or 4 really great basics that you know really well is very powerful. If you are not sure where to start, I suggest
- Spaghetti Bolognaise (yes, obviously I love it, but it’s super flexible and has loads of veg in it). For example https://www.healthier.qld.gov.au/food/recipes/spaghetti-bolognese/
- A curry (there are many types, but the key is to make the sauce yourself, it’s really not hard). For example https://tasty.co/recipe/coconut-chicken-curry
- Chilli beans (another very versatile meal with loads of vegetables). For example https://cookieandkate.com/vegetarian-chili-recipe/
- Bread (a simple no need recipe is very easy, super cheap and filling). For example https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I0t8ZAhb8lQ
I love a good sourdough recipe too, but that does take quite a bit longer. This is about making things easy, so I won’t include a recipe here. Do a quick search online and do some experimenting if you have a bit of spare time and you fancy giving it a go yourself.
Get creative (with the basics) – While I’m on the subject of spaghetti bolognese, it’s worth pointing out that I don’t just eat it as spaghetti bolognese. I actually use the bolognese sauce in a variety of ways. The sauce is great with pasta (obviously), but goes great on rice. It’s also fantastic on pizza, and in a flatbread wrap, and in a flatbread wrap with an egg thrown on top! Or you can have it with gnocchi, or just on bread. Or you could put it into a pasta bake. Or you could… You get the idea.
A few great simple options, plus creativity means variety. I literally had vegetarian soup tonight, but with rice, tomato pieces, beef with fried gnocchi and an egg on top. My partner thought I was an alien when I said what I was having but then got jealous.
The point is, the sky is the limit. Don’t be afraid of mixing and matching, it makes every meal different.
Important… It's not about the recipe, it's about the concept
If pasta is not for you, or you don't like curry, or you are gluten-free for example that's ok. The point isn't the recipe, they are examples. So while I can say I have spaghetti bolognese in flat bread, with pasta, on toast or as a pizza topping, it's not about the bolognese, it's all about the idea that making in bulk and thinking creatively can help to make meals feel different.