Ultimate nutritious, easy to make, easy to package, inexpensive everyday meal?

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Hristo Botev
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Ultimate nutritious, easy to make, easy to package, inexpensive everyday meal?

Post by Hristo Botev »

I know there's a bit of overlap here with some of the other topics already out there, but I'm looking for the one thing that I can make in bulk (either on the stove, with an Instant Pot, or whatever) on Sundays, every Sunday, that will provide me nutritious, balanced, cheap, easy-to-make, easy to package/carry lunches for the week. Thoughts?

Hristo Botev
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Re: Ultimate nutritious, easy to make, easy to package, inexpensive everyday meal?

Post by Hristo Botev »

I should add: preferably vegan.

jacob
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Re: Ultimate nutritious, easy to make, easy to package, inexpensive everyday meal?

Post by jacob »

http://earlyretirementextreme.com/cooki ... han-4.html - Warning: Suffers from an early branding mistake. Don't call it "soup".
This is close to how I make it today: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2PMMsXpE_DI --- regular potatoes will do.
It meets all your criteria except being easy to carry... although that depends on your container.

You can find several examples of people making bulk breakfast burritos around the forums. That would be more $$ and more work.

Add: I'd be remiss if I didn't mention so-called intermittent fasting. That's the easiest one of them all.

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Lemur
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Re: Ultimate nutritious, easy to make, easy to package, inexpensive everyday meal?

Post by Lemur »

From my journal:
https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/16641 ... til-curry/

Takes me less then 45 minutes to make now. Maybe an instant pot would even be quicker but I don't have one of those.....yet.

Only modifications to the above recipe:

- I added red potatoes and carrots to the boiling lentils.
- I added spinach to the sauce.

Have done for I think just over a month? Very filling, tasty, nutritious, and vegan.

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Stahlmann
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Re: Ultimate nutritious, easy to make, easy to package, inexpensive everyday meal?

Post by Stahlmann »

-1) cottage cheese/tvarog + nothing. I'm not sure if it's available in USA.
I used to eat it with jam, but starting this February/January I'm cutting simple carbs. Haven't tried eating this in non sweet way. Somebody in the office has splashed it with milk and added pepper.
0) grinded flaxseed+water (eating it with "nothing" would earn you "extreme - certified by Stahlmann", feel free to contact me)
1) oats[+water+dried plums (or whatever)]
2) scramled eggs (haven't tried raw :-D)
3) millet groats + red lentils made in pressure cooker (I still haven't advanced in this "industry"). I pour it with supermarket pre made Mexican/Chinese sauce. I feel I'm failing, but can't find time to do it on my own on the weekends. Not hardcore enough to eat staples with nothing.
4) time to time liver of some animals made on frying pan just to oversupply vitamins to my body.
Cole Robinson (or many other so called "modern carnivores") uses to eat lamb liver raw. Can't find lamb liver in local supermarkets.
5) fat meat cut in pieces, marinated and then cooked in the oven

I'm open to discussion if I'm malnourished :lol:



or you could read BRUTE's journal to get insight into animal LCHF.

ertyu
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Re: Ultimate nutritious, easy to make, easy to package, inexpensive everyday meal?

Post by ertyu »

Make a base of rice-and-beans. Vegan staple, filling, cheap, healthy. Keeps well. I have had success with storing portions then flipping a container into a salad bowl and cutting up tomatoes, peppers, carrot - basically whatever random veg is available in the fridge. Season with olive oil, extra salt if needed, dry spices if desired (I like basil + oregano, but ymmv), stir and eat.

This meal is cheap and healthy, it's vegan, it's a complete protein, and the part where you cut up random veg into it means you get vitamins, fiber, etc. If you want to pre-cut and pre-mix the veg on Sunday, stick to peppers, onion, carrot, etc as opposed to tomatoes and salad greens - basically, go for harder veg which isn't watery and keeps well for longer. Cabbage will work, steamed (or not) broccoli and cauliflower will work, etc.

sky
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Re: Ultimate nutritious, easy to make, easy to package, inexpensive everyday meal?

Post by sky »

I make burritos with pinto beans, potato and vegetable filling and freeze them. This is more to have an easy to prepare meal on days when I don't want to cook. The filling could also be made as a stew. My current time saving method is to cook presoaked pinto beans in a pressure cooker, with a steaming tray above them holding diced potato and various frozen vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower and carrot). Cooking for 6 minutes under pressure seems to work, letting the pot cool off naturally. I season the beans with a teaspoon or two of homemade taco seasoning. Drain the beans and mix everything together. Either eat as is or make burritos out of it.

theanimal
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Re: Ultimate nutritious, easy to make, easy to package, inexpensive everyday meal?

Post by theanimal »

Steak

ETA: Chicken thighs are great too.

EdithKeeler
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Re: Ultimate nutritious, easy to make, easy to package, inexpensive everyday meal?

Post by EdithKeeler »

My suggestions:
—quiche—eggs are cheap, crust, some half and half, whatever veggies, meat and cheese you want to throw in. Bake, cut. Easy, portable, works for lunch or breakfast.
—sheet pan meals. My personal favorite is chicken thighs, sweet potatoes, onions, roasted together on a sheet pan, with some brown mustard and thyme on the chicken. BBQ sauce works, too. Portion and pack.
—red beans and rice. Or other beans and rice. Or just beans. Or lentils, of course.
—I made enchiladas this weekend. A little time consuming, but cheap and versatile. You can fill with pretty much anything.
—pasta. Make a big batch of spaghetti and meat sauce. Heats well, keeps well.

What’s the main goal here? Super cheap? Super easy? Super nutritious? (Pick two....)

basuragomi
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Re: Ultimate nutritious, easy to make, easy to package, inexpensive everyday meal?

Post by basuragomi »

Rice and stir-fry topping.

Onions, garlic, oyster/soy/fish sauce, pepper, ginger, some form of protein (thinly-sliced pork, beef or tofu) fried in fat. Blanche or steam a load of veggies (e.g. bok choy, broccoli, asparagus) or throw them into the stir-fry (e.g. cabbage, bean sprouts) as well. Add a cornstarch slurry to make it into a rich sauce. Portion it onto rice (or whatever starchy base) and pack. Tasty, infinitely variable, easily portioned, prepared in two pots (including the rice) in less than an hour.

I actually have free rein of a freezer at work, so I stored ~20 kg of tomato/meat sauce made from last year's harvest in frozen sheets. Break off a little at a time and add it to microwaved pasta. This last batch lasted 6 months, though it was a full day of preparing the tomatoes and sauce at the time. That way I always have a back-up lunch available from dry/frozen ingredients and don't have to constantly worry about bringing in food.

jacob
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Re: Ultimate nutritious, easy to make, easy to package, inexpensive everyday meal?

Post by jacob »

One could also simply bring leftovers. That's the second-easiest option after intermittent fasting. Also, it cuts down on food waste.

The systems approach is to eat meals that function well as leftovers. Many cooking traditions have [invented] such dishes.

Hristo Botev
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Re: Ultimate nutritious, easy to make, easy to package, inexpensive everyday meal?

Post by Hristo Botev »

Thanks all, very helpful. Part of my ask was that what tends to happen is that I'm good with stuff DW makes in bulk on the weekend and with leftovers from dinners DW or I make through most of the week, but I get to Friday and sometimes Thursday and there's nothing left in the fridge I can grab quickly for lunch, and the weekday mornings are way to hectic with trying to get the kids out the door to make something on the fly. And those are the days I end up running to a restaurant for lunch. So I'd like to get to a point where I know exactly how much to make of one dish each Sunday to get me through the week, and I know how much I need of each ingredient from the store, and how much it will cost, and then just do that week in and week out. I'm going to give the lentil/potato based meal a try, as (like with red beans and rice) I like that you can just throw whatever veggies you have on hand into the mix. Which is good because we do a farm share and end up having random veggies that we have to figure out how to use.

horsewoman
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Re: Ultimate nutritious, easy to make, easy to package, inexpensive everyday meal?

Post by horsewoman »

Frankly, I would not want to eat anything that has been sitting in the fridge from Sunday to Thursday, so I try to double or triple our regular meals for leftovers, cutting down the days I have to cook at all. This is easily done with pancakes, chilli or vegan patties. The patties and chilli are great for using up random vegetables as well.

So if the later days of the work week are a problem, I'd plan for chilli on Wednesday for dinner, making a large pot for leftovers on Thursday and Friday. I don't have an Instapot but as far as I understand it you can let it simmer unattended over the day, which means only throwing a few ingredients in it in the morning. If I worked full-time I would get one those pots, I suppose.

Alphaville
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Re: Ultimate nutritious, easy to make, easy to package, inexpensive everyday meal?

Post by Alphaville »

Hristo Botev wrote:
Thu Feb 20, 2020 10:18 am
I should add: preferably vegan.
If you want vegan, i think legumes + pasta + vegetables is the way to go.

Pasta has higher protein and lower GI than rice. Also keeps better in the fridge a few days. Also it’s fine cold. Fresh cooked rice is delicious, next-day rice is for fried rice, after that it’s cork. So pasta works better.

I eat this basic formula all week with all kinds of legumes, but my preferred ones are French lentils (delicious, delicious...) Not the cheapest, but glorious.

Lentils cook quickly on the instapot, no soaking required. Green/brown/red lentils would work (red one cooks very fast). Also green or yellow split peas cook a lot like lentils, but then make a mash—yellow have a milder taste.

Small pasta like ditalini cooks in 10 minutes, rinse with cold water and store for salad. It’s not traditionally a salad pasta, but it is traditionally a “with beans” pasta. Fits the spoon. My current favorite.

Frozen spinach cooks in the microwave... about 7.5 minutes for a pound. Mixes well. Frozen broccoli same thing.

Winter squashes you can roast in the oven. Summer squashes work well sautéed. Go with the seasons.

Cabbage is also cheap easy to cook in large amounts. Might be too windy with beans depending on your flora.

Best thing about this combo (with lentils anyway) is that it seasons as a salad (olive oil, vinegar, herbs, aromatics) and requires no reheating. Lima beans (green or ripe) also work very well as a salad. With split peas, warmed up is nicer. Black beans... I love black beans. Pinto beans make a great refried bean and you could fry with olive or canola instead of the traditional lard. Canellini or great northern beans are milder and work well with a tomato base that matches the pasta (see: pasta e fagioli). Garbanzo is also great cold.

I’ve also used spaghetti squash instead of pasta (eg if you need to reduce carbs/calories).

So it’s basically theme & variations of grains + pulses + vegetables.

ETA: it’s important cook each element separately, and assemble lunchboxes cold. Dressing and fresh veggies can be added in the morning or right before consumption.

FOR SNACK:

I have a good granola formula I posted in the recipes thread. I make it with honey but for vegan you could make with maple or rice brown syrup or whatever you like.

I make a gallon of whole milk yogurt weekly on the instapot (to eat with granola). Maybe look into vegan cultures, and you could make with soy?

Alphaville
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Re: Ultimate nutritious, easy to make, easy to package, inexpensive everyday meal?

Post by Alphaville »

i should add that pasta and red beans started to make me very hungry afterwards. some sort of glycemic issue? im cutting out the pasta to see. (i’m adding a bit of cheese to the beans, as i’m not vegan)

anyway, lentils haven’t failed me yet so i might try them next week.

AnalyticalEngine
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Re: Ultimate nutritious, easy to make, easy to package, inexpensive everyday meal?

Post by AnalyticalEngine »

@ertyu - Do you cook those veggies before mixing them into the rice and beans or mix them in raw?

I've been eating a 3 egg omelette for breakfast and oatmeal+pb for dinner. Lunch however has been rice + battered and fried meat I make in batches. This has the advantage of tasting good at room temp so work lunch is a little less sad. Not so much vegan though.

ETA: rice is an extremely common source of food poisoning and should not really be stored in the fridge. I freeze immediately after cooking then microwave for 3 min.

ertyu
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Re: Ultimate nutritious, easy to make, easy to package, inexpensive everyday meal?

Post by ertyu »

@AE: this depends on taste. In general I have as much as possible raw (possible = will keep raw + i can/will eat it raw). Different people will make this decision differently. Potatoes I'd usually boil and store chilled, then cut one up into whatever I want to mix up, eggs ditto boiled (no rice + beans if using egg for protein, but original question asked for vegan options so I didn't mention the boiled eggs/can of tuna/feta/etc. animal product route).

In general, my strategy is, take whatever protein/carb dense main nutrient (boiled grain, legume, potato, egg, cheese, tuna, cut up boiled or grilled chicken breast etc), cut up whatever veg on it, season with salt + olive oil, eat. Of course you can go the convoluted dressing route and many people enjoy it, but I can't be ****ed.

Hannibal
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Re: Ultimate nutritious, easy to make, easy to package, inexpensive everyday meal?

Post by Hannibal »

The most nutritious, easy to carry complete meal is pemmican. The hardest part about making it is cutting the meat into jerky. If you know how to turn a crockpot on low, you know how to render fat. 1 lb of it equals 3000 calories if you go by the half rendered fat half pulverized powdered meat recipe, although that can be adjusted for as I have found that to be too wet for my liking.

As far as vegan options, you could attempt a pulverized dried fruit mixed with some kind of binder like coconut cream and peanut butter, with some vegan protein powder in it. I used to make my own protein bars and they could have easily been vegan with the right powder.

https://fitfoodiefinds.com/peanut-butter-protein-bars/

Here is a link for a simple vegan protein bar that is easy and plenty satisfying.

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