RECIPES FOR PEOPLE WHO HATE RECIPES

Guest posy by Emily Grant. 

Hi! I’m Emily Grant, an Atlanta-native Project Manager working at the Home Depot and founder of my travel, health and wellness and lifestyle blog, FEEDIN MY SOUL.I was born a foodie, but I only began obsessing over health, wellness and lifestyle after college. My mom had recently overcome cancer my senior year and I was navigating new pressures “adulting.” Learning how to optimize my health and happiness during this time became a literal obsession. I would read anything I could get my hands on and I was the ultimate experimenter. I decided to start my blog earlier this year (January 2020) as an outlet to share everything that I’m passionate about. Most recently, I finally pulled the trigger to test the plant-based lifestyle change. You can find my experience here or on my website – feedinmysoul.com.

xx,

EMILY

DISCLAIMER: For those of you that need an exact recipe, with specific ingredients, measurements and instructions, please look elsewhere. I do not follow recipes. The purpose of this article is to show people how easy and nonchalant cooking can (and, in my opinion, should) be and to encourage comfort and confidence in the kitchen through trial and experimentation. Just figure it out – it’s the only way to do anything.

With that out of the way, I want to share my go-to meals following up on my plant-focused post. Some people hate cooking. To each their own! My biggest blocker is time, but messing around in the kitchen is eudaemonic for me, especially when I am doing it for or surrounded by my loved ones. I want to emphasize my use of “messing around in the kitchen” above … That is my way of cooking. I almost never follow a recipe. Baking and I generally don’t get along for this reason because the recipes must be followed to a tee … My mom loves baking. And that is the difference between my mom and me. I usually think about what “food mood” I am in or I will see a picture that sparks my imagination, and then I will mess around creating my own version of that influence. What type of cuisine am I itching for? Mexican, Mediterranean, Italian? Once that’s decided, how do I want to scratch that itch? In wrap / taco form (usually the winner), quinoa bowl form, pasta form, soup form? You can fuse any cuisine’s influence into any “meal type.” In my kitchen, there are no measurements, no crazy ingredients, no strict rules…  For that reason, everything you see below is malleable based on personal preference. I am the least picky eater of all time (it’s a curse, really), so if something sounds like it would compliment a dish well, I throw her in there! The more (nutrients), the merrier. I cannot emphasize enough how little rules matter here.

Below, you will find some themes in my cooking. After, I share my “meals” separated out by my go-to ingredients and go-to prep, and then I close with my PRO TIPS at the end. That is where the goods are.

THEMES

  1. Simplicity. The goal here is ease.

  2. These are “hodge podge” meals. My mindset is to flood your body with nutrient diversity … if you like something and you think it will pair well with the other ingredients you’re using, add it to the mix!

  3. I love some texture and I love a crunch. I truly enjoy the process of eating, aside from the yummy flavors. I always aim to have a diverse “feel” to my meals through texture and crunch, and I think both of those components play vital roles in satiety.

  4. I never follow recipes. Once you build some rapport with your kitchen, you get a general feel for some “basics.” That will hopefully free you from feeling the need to strictly follow recipes and maybe even off-road a little bit? I like for my meals to evolve based on my current headspace and context.

  5. A lot of my meals look similar, especially if it falls under the same culinary theme. I love for my meals to be versatile but also easily convertible based on how I want to consume that vibe (i.e. tacos, salad, pasta, etc.). That makes meal prepping so easy because you prep the base ingredients for your meals, but you can change up the “meal-type” real-time. This makes the meal less boring as you get later into the week eating what appears to be the same thing because you’ve consumed that Mediterranean vibe in pizza, wrap and salad form!

  6. I don’t have a ton of dressing/condiment suggestions. I love a good dressing, but I don’t care the way other people do about having a killer dressing. (Other than hot sauce. I need hot sauce at least once a day.) I would rather season my foods with good spices and herbs. Plus, I am allergic to cashews and cow’s milk so that eliminates a lot of “creamy” dressing alternatives. Again, this isn’t a big deal to me and I usually rely on ingredients that have their own inherent moisture, i.e. hummus, avocado/guacamole, black beans, nut butters, etc.

I’ve organized the lists below by my go-to ingredients based on my “food mood” and then by how I prep those goods into a meal based on how I want to eat the food. I tried to keep this as short as possible so you won’t see every kind of cuisine or meal-type, but you get the gist.

GO-TO INGREDIENTS BASED ON “FOOD MOOD”

  • MEXICAN

    • Black and/or Pinto beans (really, all beans are welcome in my kitchen)

    • “Fajita” veggies of choice – my go-to’s are mixed Peppers, Onions and Zucchini Squash (I know, not the norm to incorporate zucchini here, right? Try it.)

    • Lettuce

    • Avocado or Guacamole (depending on mood)

    • Tomatoes or Salsa (depending on mood)

    • Cilantro (alllllll of the garnishes – I love herbs)

    • Yucca root (an underrated gem!)

    • Add fruits if you want a pop of flavor! Pineapple, Mango, Pomegranate, etc.

  • ITALIAN

    • Asparagus

    • Zucchini Squash

    • Broccoli

    • Brussel Sprouts

    • Cauliflower

    • Kite Hill Almond Milk Ricotta

    • RAO’s homemade sauce + onions, carrots and celery, or Spinach and Kale Pesto (any sauce of choice)

  • MEDITERRANEAN

    • Cucumber

    • Celery

    • Tomato

    • Zucchini Squash

    • Carrot

    • Olives

    • Chickpeas (or Hummus)

    • Avocado

  • ROASTED VEGGIE

    • Brussel Sprouts

    • Zucchini Squash

    • Yellow Squash

    • Cauliflower

    • Asparagus

    • Broccoli

MEAL TYPE PREP

  • TACOS/WRAP

Tacos are my favorite food. There is something about wrapping up all the goodness in a little bundle that really hits the spot for me.

    • Sauté vegetables in a sauté pan with seasoning of choice

    • Cook your beans (if you’re a bean-eater)

    • Throw your tortilla in the oven for a few minutes, until you see bubbles start to rise

    • Top your tacos/wrap with toppings of choice: herbs, avocado/guacamole, hummus, Violife vegan cheese (changed the game of vegan cheeses)

    • Serve!

  • QUINOA

    • Cook quinoa in vegetable broth

    • Sauté vegetables in sauté pan with seasoning of choice

    • Once cooked, add in the seed trio (chia, flax and hemp) if you’re down

    • Add the quinoa + seed mix to the sauté pan where the other vegetables are cooking and mix to soak up the flavors

    • Serve!

  • PASTA

    • Cook chickpea or red lentil pasta in vegetable broth and/or sauté the zoodles in a separate sauté pan (I love to combine both noodles and zoodles in my pasta dishes)

    • Sauté the other vegetables in a sauté pan with seasoning of choice

    • Add the cooked pasta and/or zoodles to the vegetable sauté pan and mix

    • Serve!

  • SALAD

Salads can be hard. A lot of people find them boring. I love them. They don’t have to be overly complicated.

    • Choose your raw green base or mix 1+ base – i.e. spinach, kale, spring mix, arugula, etc.

    • Add in raw or sautéed vegetables + fruit of choice

    • Throw in your nuts + seeds of choice

    • Dress with dressing of choice

    • Serve!

  • SOUP

Soup is the best example of a hodge podge meal and they are just too easy to make. Seriously, throw everything you like in there and boom, done!

    • Sauté vegetables in sauté pan with seasoning of choice

    • Add the sautéed vegetables to vegetable broth and bring to a boil

    • Serve!

  • PIZZA

    • Preheat the oven based on the crust’s instructions (I love a cauliflower crust or Cappello’s almond flour crust)

    • Sauté vegetables in sauté pan with seasoning of choice

    • Add sauce + the sautéed vegetables + any other toppings of choice to crust and bake in oven for specified time based on the crust’s instructions

    • Serve!

PRO TIPS

  1. Number 1 rule of thumb: you can put hot sauce on anything. And you should put hot sauce on everything. Personal preference.

  2. I always sauté my veggies before adding them into any dish – whether you’re making a homemade pizza, pasta sauce or soup!

  3. I throw zucchini in everything … it assumes the desired taste of the dish you’re goin for well and it’s fully of hydration.

  4. I add in a “trio” to wherever I can … My mom is from New Orleans and “the trio” refers to the celery, onions, and green peppers, chopped up and sautéed used in most dishes. I use carrots instead of green peppers – just a personal preference. It’s an easy solution for some extra veggies.

  5. I always season my foods. Salt + Pepper is a “duh,” but I encourage you to incorporate other spices and herbs that you like for added flavor and health benefits! Especially the herbs … people forget how easy it is to chop up some herbs, and they are packed full of nutrition.

  6. If I am making tacos (my favorite food), I ALWAYS toast my tortilla(s). Always. That’s a non-negotiable.

  7. This one may throw people off, but I always throw in chia, flax and hemp seeds into  quinoa … it is tasteless and doing so adds even an even bigger boost of protein and fiber that so many American diets lack.

  8. I always cook my quinoa or pasta in vegetable broth for nutritional and flavor boosts.

  9. Snowballing off of 8 … whenever I cook quinoa or pasta, I take it from the pot that I originally cooked it in and I transfer it to the sauté pan that has the vegetables and spices in it to soak up the flavor goodness.

  10. Most people probably already know this but this was a lesson that took me much longer than it should’ve. You don’t have to cook the entire box of pasta at once … who knew?! I am someone who licks my plate clean and rarely throws away food, so overdoing it on the front end leads to overindulging on the backend.

  11. I always toast my nuts – it enhances the flavor! Some argue that toasting nuts strips them of their nutritional density, but pick your battles.

  12. Squeezing some juice from a lemon all over your food always makes everything better and helps keep leftovers better for longer.

  13. I always use wooden cooking utensils – they are the best at scraping up the charred goods on pots and pans.

Get cookin’!

Xx

 

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