What to Cook When You are Single in the City

This is written for a dear girlfriend of mine moving temporarily to the big city. She is energetic, hard-working, and a classic beauty…good food will ensure that all those qualities remain vibrant!

A few basics:

Breakfasts: Excellent breakfasts include eggs in any form, unfortunately conventional supermarket eggs won’t supply those amazing egg nutrients that nourish you at a core level. Find organic at least, preferably free-range as well. A dozen can go pretty far with one person and can supply fabulous protein without needing to buy more meat.

Simple egg options:

  •  Lightly fry an egg and after flipping to the second side, top with cheese, and bacon or crumbles of organic sausage. Add leftover sautéed spinach, or roasted onions, peppers, mushrooms if desired. Sandwich between sourdough toast.
  • The night before: Whisk a couple of eggs with cream, sour cream, ricotta, cottage cheese, or cream cheese. Add some crumbled flavorful cheese like feta, cheddar, parmesan, Asiago. Add bits of herbs and/or cooked meat. Add lightly cooked (leftover) vegetables as desired, pretty much anything goes, spinach, asparagus, green beans, even roasted butternut works. Sautéed onion is always great. Season with salt and pepper and bake in a greased dish until the center is just a bit wobbly still. These are amazing reheated and can really hold you over until noon without feeling dense.
  • Scrambled egg burrito/wraps can be made ahead. The fillings can be as varied as what you have in the fridge. Just be sure to drain juices off of vegetables or have enough cheese or egg to keep the filling from being a drippy mess.

    “Softer” boiled eggs, sprinkled with salt and pepper

Oatmeal is wonderful IF you prep it by simply tossing it in a bowl with a tablespoon of buttermilk, yogurt, whey, kefir, lemon juice, or apple cider vinegar (this acid medium actually unlocks those amazing nutrients grains carry as well as making the oats more digestible and quick to cook) and a dash of salt. Eat with berries, butter, maple syrup, honey, walnuts, however you like it! I’d buy your oats from the bulk section that will stretch your money beautifully.

Brown rice, again the bulk section. Delicious with raisins, milk, butter, and honey.

Emptied of another delicious traditional beverage: Eggnog

Yogurt breakfasts with fruit, if you like to make smoothies, I’d supplement the smoothies with coconut oil for even blood sugar and more “staying power”. Super-Walmart sells Stonyfield organic yogurt for $3-ish. Please don’t ever buy low-fat, fat-free, sugar-free yogurt, it’s crap that doesn’t help with weight-loss or to build health. Buy plain yogurt and sweeten it yourself with sucanat (bulk section) honey, or maple syrup.

On the weekend, make a large batch of soaked pancakes, freeze or refrigerate the leftovers between waxed paper for prepared week day breakfasts. These can be eaten with whipped cream, sour cream, coconut oil, butter, or creme fraiche. One of my family’s favorite spreads for french toast or pancakes is a mixture of maple syrup, cinnamon, butter and cream cheese whipped together. SO good!

As far as organic butter, olive oil, and coconut oil, these are your best food friends, not only deeply nourishing but they are the key to a stable, optimal weight. Use them with your veggies to maximize the veggies’ nutritional power. They are expensive, but totally worth it as you don’t want to be undermining your health at a time when you are your only support. You can also fry with coconut oil as the structure isn’t changed with high heat. Stirfrys, anyone?

Organic butter is $4 per pound locally, but worth it since conventional butter is one of the most pesticide-laden foods. And, organic butter is amazing for you as well as the taste is phenomenal! (For baking I just buy regular butter though)

Buying fruit and veggies is easier, of course in the spring and summer when you can shop from local farmers market. Organic is always best, buy whatever is on sale and roll with it, it’s fun!  I suggest buying the quantities of baby spinach & spring mix you want from the bulk sections if available.

As far as pasta goes, I suppose it is the inevitable choice in so many cases, being cheap, filling, and easy to prepare. I would at least buy organic pasta and eat more sparingly of a rather unhealthy grain source. If you like it, the sprouted grain varieties are probably the best, brown rice pasta is also a worthy option.

Meat is crucial in small quantities and the quality stuff is expensive.  Yes, there is the organic meat section in more progressive super-markets which can be prohibitive to an engineers salary let alone a working girls’ wage. Buy organic when you can afford it—otherwise,  pretty much DON’T! The pros of good meat are expansive and the cons of conventional meat are equally long. If you buy a chicken, of course, save the carcass to make stock for nutrient-dense soup. You can pretty easily make a $15 chicken last for 4+ meals.

Cooking ahead for lunches:

  • Hard boil eggs by simmering 9 minutes for egg salad sandwiches.
  • Cook an extra cup of brown rice to toss with leftover veggies or meat, drizzle with olive oil.
  • Cook tougher (but more economical)cuts of meat for supper all day in a crock pot with onion, garlic, and lots of s&p, wine or broth optional. Pack some remaining shredded meat with lettuce, and/or veggies in a wrap. Salsa, hot sauce, and mayo are basic extra flavor condiments.
  • Canned tuna made into a salad by mixing with mayo/yogurt, diced celery and onion, s&p, over a bed of fresh greens.
  • Canned organic beans, such as garbanzos can be delicious with a salad of greens and cut veggies.
  • Cooked/canned black beans can be an awesome salad when mixed with any combinations of diced tomatoes, sweet corn, diced fresh peppers, cubed avocado, finely minced scallions, or onions, and dressed with olive oil, s&p, and lime or lemon juice.

Drink wine, beer, tea, coffee,( I use bunches of cream in mine!) raw milk, water kefir  and milk kefir, kombucha, and an occasional glass of oj in the morning. Except for the oj we don’t do juice, (which is so much overly processed, live-enzyme-free, and lots of sugar for our over-sweetened bodies…it’s so much better to eat the actual fruit, darn it!

There is a world of real food that is incredible to eat and incredible for our bodies that gets clouded by the junk we are sold by a host of marketers who even have the gall to call sugar-loaded grain-slurries (cereal) “heart-healthy”. On the cautionary side, even though I wouldn’t call any food off-limits though I wouldn’t ever eat these foods while attempting to achieve optimum health:

-Boxed cereal (the grain hasn’t been properly treated and the nutrients are bound up, eating it is one way to malnourish yourself while gaining weight through empty calories)

-Refined sugar, anything with corn syrup (this will be HIGHLY counterproductive, I successfully combated my personal sugar addiction with good fats. If you wish there are hosts of reasons to stay far away from sugar!)

-Sodas, including diet soda, and fake sugars (so chemical-laden and toxic)

-White breads (even the wheat bread should be eaten with lots of moderation. This is mainly due to the way they have been processed. Real whole-grain sourdough or breads made from soaked or sprouted flours are, however, great for you!)

Sample First Grocery List:

 (this is assuming you would be starting out with nothing)

 2 lemons, 2 handfuls spinach, 1 loaf artisan bread, preferably organic, 1 dozen eggs, honey, 1 hard cheese, 1 “soft” cheese (say, feta), bananas, peanut butter, wild-caught seafood, 1 4-5 pound chicken, herbs (parsley, dill, thyme are best, fresh when affordable), lettuce, cucumber, tomato, celery, carrots, onions, fresh garlic, berries, A few Kalamata olives from deli, colored pepper, brown rice or whole grain pasta, Seasonal vegetable(s), bacon, 2 or 3 sweet potatoes or organic potatoes, olive oil, butter, cream, organic mayo (or make your own), dark chocolate

And what exactly would a menu from this list look like?

  1. Roasted Chicken, Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Seasonal Vegetable (Oiled, salt/peppered chicken roasted @ 400 for 20 minutes, down to 350 for 20, back up to 400 for 20 minutes, oiled, salted sweet potatoes tossed in chunks into the oven for same, or a bit less, amount of time.)
  2. Chicken Soup, Spinach Grilled Cheese (The night before: Remove extra meat from carcass, place carcass with 1/2 onion, celery, carrot into a pot of water to make stock, simmer overnight. For dinner, dice fresh celery, carrot, onion, saute, add strained stock and some reserved meat. Add garlic, noodles, black pepper, herbs as desired. Fry sandwich filled with spinach and hard cheese in butter until crispy.)
  3. Greek Salad Panzanella (Prepare salad of lettuce, tomato, fresh pepper, cucumber, olives, and feta. Toast 2-3 slices extra bread, cubed, in butter with salt&pepper. Add to salad last-minute and dress with olive oil, lemon, and s&P.)
  4. Bacon & Veg. Quiche, Fried Potato (See breakfast for quiche, reserve bacon fat for frying potatoes, salt lightly, pepper well)
  5. Dilled Egg Salad Sandwiches, Carrot Sticks
  6. Seafood with Lemon, Pasta with Garlic, Olive oil, and Sauteed Veg. (Broil seafood with olive oil, s&p, top with squeeze of fresh lemon)
  7. Cheese, Onion, Herb, and Veg, Omelette, Green Salad
  8. Fruit Salad dressed with Honey & Lemon, French Toast (Dilute cream with 1/2 water, mix with eggs, dip bread and fry in butter)
  9. Brown Rice Pudding with Honey & Bacon (Slow-cook  1 cup rice 8 hours or overnight with  1 cup cream, 3 cups water, dash of salt and butter until soft and creamy, top with honey, oh and vanilla or raisins would be awesome at this point too!)
  10. Chopped Salad of leftover Fresh Vegetables (tomato, carrot, celery, lettuce etc.) topped with leftover Seafood Salad (made with celery, onion, mayo, minced Herbs, S&P) & Garlic Bread (bread toasted with garlic and olive oil/butter)

All my love to you dear girl, on your big city summer adventure. Eat well!

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This entry was published on June 2, 2012 at 2:56 am and is filed under From My Soapbox, Summer, The Basics. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

One thought on “What to Cook When You are Single in the City

  1. Monica on said:

    This is a fantastic post! Great ideas, and cost effective as well. Love your blog… Keep up the good work!

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