Because young professionals are clearly too busy having a quarter-life crisis to fret about cooking...
If you don’t have the time or energy to cook in the evening you might be tempted to get a takeaway or something. But that’s no good for your health or your bank balance. You can cook meals really quickly and easily if you know how. There are also ways that can help you get around having to cook altogether. These food hacks will cut your cooking time tenfold so you don’t have to get a takeaway or go and eat at a friend’s or your mum’s every night of the week.
1. Freeze Meals
We’re going to start with the oldest trick in the book. You probably know this food hack already, it’s the kind of thing some singleton at work tells you about doing, you think it’s a great idea but still don’t bother doing it. You were right though, it is a good idea that can save you a lot of time and prevent you from eating the same pasta bolognese every night for a week because you don’t want to waste any. So spend some time on a Sunday cooking meals for the month that you can freeze or freeze your leftovers each time you cook.
2. Transform Leftovers
We don’t want to waste our money or our food, I’m sure your mum told you many a time that there are children starving in Africa so you cannot throw your leftovers in the bin. As we said, you can either freeze your leftovers or get creative with them and transform them into a different meal the next day. You can make a soup or fried rice or a casserole or do something completely random using ideas from the internet like turning pizza into a quiche. Who wouldn’t want to eat pickled vegetables or “curried noodle patties”?
3. Dump a Load of Stuff in a Slow Cooker
The slow cooker is the lazy person’s best friend! It is one of the most hassle-free ways to cook. And despite what you may have previously thought, unless you’re an epic failure, your meal won’t be a bowl of soggy sloppy mush at the end of the day. The only issue with this one is that you’ll probably have to get up fifteen minutes earlier in the morning to prepare your dinner (to dump all of your ingredients into the slow cooker), but at the same time you’ll have to do sweet nothing by dinner time. Slow cookers are great for making chillies and curries and even cooking meat, you can stick a full chicken in there or make delicious pulled pork.
4. Make all Your Meals in the Microwave
We’re not talking about the salty ready meals you can get from the supermarket and will probably give you high blood pressure and add a few inches to your waste. We’re talking about meals you can whip up yourself and bang in the microwave for a super easy dinner. Now you’ve probably seen lots of mug cakes and mug brownies floating around the web, I’m sure they’re really amazing but it’s not a meal, is it? Believe it or not you can cook other stuff in a microwave, such as macaroni cheese, quesadillas, poached eggs, pasta, frozen veg and much more.
5. Prepare Salad Bowls for Your Work Lunches
Yes making a plain old ham sandwich would be a lot easier, but it’s not as healthy, and not as unique and tasty. The idea comes from this BuzzFeed article where they make a load of different salads in jars. But I think to do this you would have to eat a lot of (big) jars of jam and recycle the jars so I’m sure a tupperware bowl would work just as well. They do look gorgeous though and really healthy. It starts with the dressing, then a grain or protein, then something tasty like cheese or nuts and then the rest of the veggy bits. You could make several of these bowls at the start of the week and stick them in the fridge for easy work lunches.
6. Have the Easiest Meal in the World: Stir-Fry
You really can’t get much easier than the lazy person’s staple, a simple stir-fry. It’s so easy, you can buy a pack of stir-fry vegetables, some straight-to-wok noodles and a jar of sauce. A five-year-old could probably cook a stir-fry, though I probably wouldn’t recommend letting them near a hot stove. It makes you feel like you’re actually cooking too. You’re not really though, you’re just stirring stuff in a pan. The good thing about making a stir-fry is that you can use up your leftover vegetables and anything that’s knocking around in the fridge. It can basically consist of anything, meat, fish, tofu, cashew nuts, whatever you fancy!
7. Don't Bother With Popular Diets
If you want your meals to be expensive and prepared using the most random ingredients in the world then go ahead and follow one of those diets. But if you’re looking for cheap and easy then you’ll want to avoid them at all costs. Take the paleo diet for instance which involves getting back to basics and avoiding grains, dairy and potatoes. It means you have to prepare every little thing from scratch like making your own rice from cauliflower. Not only does it sound like it would not even resemble rice in a million years, I imagine it would take a million years to cook this kind of stuff. Young professionals, do you really have the time for that?
8. Use the Internet as Your Inspiration
It turns out that lazy cooks are actually creative geniuses. Thankfully, all of those lazy cooks are more than willing to share their food hacks with us on Pinterest and the like. I’ll tell you just a few of the bright ideas I’ve come across that will probably change the way you cook forever. You can make perfect hash browns using a waffle maker. Freeze a chocolate bar and then bash it up in a freezer bag to get the chunks for cookies. Make an ice cream sandwich by chopping up a carton of Ben & Jerry’s and placing the slices between two cookies. There are absolutely loads of food hacks, here are some more.
9. Put Almost Anything on Toast
OK so you’ve got your standard cheese on toast, or nutella on toast for those with a sweet tooth. But here we’re talking about heartier toast-based meals that are a lot easier to make than regular meals. You can make a sort of pie with toast and who doesn’t love pie? You basically put your pie mix on toast which gives you the crispy crunch the pastry would. You can make pizza toast which is barely any work and Nigella Lawson says it’s great for a hangover. There are lots of toast recipes to try. So next time just put whatever you want on toast.
10. Experiment With No-Cook Meals to Avoid Cooking Altogether
The best thing about this is that you know you’ll be set if there’s ever a black out or even a zombie apocalypse! And if you can’t be arsed cooking you don’t have to cook. Maybe it’s not the best idea for winter but no-cook meals can actually be really tasty. You’ve got the obvious types as in salads and fancy sandwiches, but you could also try out something a little bit different like gazpacho or a tapas plate. Here are some more ideas for no-cook recipes, which to be honest mostly consists of fancy sandwiches but they do look really good.
See Also: Top 6 Foods for a ’Pick-Me-Up’ at Work
Unfortunately we have to eat to stay alive but at least now you don’t have to waste your time trying to cook properly. What do you want to try out first? Waffle hash browns? Microwave macaroni cheese? Feel free to share your own food hacks in the comments below.