When you have a house full of working girls who live on takeout, cooking options run considerably slim. While there are obvious pros to spending the lockdown with your roommates, the distribution of chores can be a cause for concern. For instance, I volunteered to be in charge of the cleaning department, but was relegated to the kitchen instead. Surely, the "resident Bong" must be good with food!
Turns out, I am really not. To make matters worse, we can't take the risk of ordering in and have to make do with whatever supplies we can get our hands on from the local grocers. Also, cooking every single day while I work from home is difficult AF. So, the best chance I got at survival is to plan ahead. My solution: meal prep! Cook ahead of time and store; and you’ll have a delicious meal that only needs to be heated up!
Here are some of my own tried and tested meal prep ideas that are getting my BFFs and me through the COVID-19 lockdown without going 'hangry'!
Pasta and sauce
This is a hearty meal that is both rich in fibre and the antioxidant goodness of tomatoes. Boil a batch of wheat pasta and keep it aside in a container. Make a three-ingredient sauce with onions, tomatoes and garlic; store in a separate mason jar. Heat up some pasta and sauce for lunch or dinner; top up with your favourite grated cheese, and voila! You could also add veggies like mushroom and broccoli to the mix if you have some extra time on hand.
Chia seed pudding and fruits
Since all of your sleep patterns have gone out the window with your fancy clothes, it is the first meal of the day that you'll be tempted to miss to get that extra 30 minutes of sleep. Skipping breakfast can lead to hunger pangs later in the day, and no amount of potato chips can satiate you then. So make it a priority to have a decent breakfast every day.
Soak some chia seeds in milk (almond milk if dairy makes you gassy) overnight. Add some freshly cut fruits in the morning and you are sorted. Chia seeds are an excellent source of energy and protein; it'll keep you full till a late lunch.
The ‘Joey’ sandwich
Who needs Subway when you can make your own giant green sandwich?! Collect all the greens you have in your refrigerator and chop them to store in separate containers. You can use lettuce, carrots, cucumber, red cabbage, and red onion for this recipe. They stay fresh in your fridge for days, and when you have a hankering for a sandwich, just stuff them in a lightly toasted whole wheat bun and enjoy. You can season the greens with salt, pepper and olive oil as well.
This little idea is straight from my mother's book of recipes for feeding two children as a busy, working woman. Prepare rice well in advance. Also chop and boil veggies / chicken with salt, pepper and garlic, and store. When you’re ready to eat, just toss up the veggies / chicken and the rice on a pan with a readymade sauce like teriyaki sauce or a sesame hot sauce. Done and done!
Veggie sticks and dips
I might not be good at making full meals, but I am excellent at making dips to go with chips at parties! Guacamole made from fresh avocados or hummus prepared from creamy chickpeas and tahini sauce, these mealy dips can come in handy for snacking needs. Just replace the unhealthy bag of chips with veggie sticks like carrot or cucumber sticks and you’re good to go!