When you’re on a deadline–or doing a big project, like NaNoWriMo–it’s important to keep yourself well-nourished without making a bunch of dirty dishes. You’ll find yourself tempted to order a lot of pizza, but let’s face it, that’s not a good long-term choice. You need power food when you’re creating! Veggies! Fiber-rich grains! Lean proteins!
So here are two of my favorite things to eat when I need quick, healthy food. They’re totally from-scratch, so you can feel virtuous and save money for pizza. 🙂
Basic One-Dish Lentils
This is non-glamorous, but quite tasty!
Over medium heat, warm about half a tablespoon of olive oil in a heavy pot. Smash a clove or two of garlic, mince it up, and add it to the oil. Wash your cutting board and knife–you won’t be needing that shit again. Then stir in one cup of lentils and one cup of rice (jasmine makes your house smell good; brown takes too long to cook with the lentils). Let the rice and lentils toast for a minute while you ready about 3.75 cups of water and find your salt. I like kosher salt, because it’s more yummy. Stir in about a teaspoon of cumin powder and rejoice in the smell. When you’re done sniffing, add the water and about a teaspoon of salt and bring the whole thing to a boil, stirring occasionally. Then reduce heat to low, cover, and relax (or work!) for about ten minutes. At that point, you want to stir in about half a bag of frozen spinach. Let this simmer for about another five minutes. You’ll want to taste the liquid remaining in the pot to see if it tastes salty. If it doesn’t taste like sea water, add some more salt. (Spinach likes salt!) Cook until the lentils and rice are tender.
David Lynch’s Quinoa
This is super-simple. Quinoa is pretty savory, so you don’t really need any beans or tofu to make this satisfying, but if you want a little more texture, some black beans or cannelini beans are nice in this. This recipe is great because you don’t necessarily need to chop anything, so it generates very little mess.
Simmer a cup of quinoa in two cups of salted water. Let it cook for about eight minutes. Stir in broccoli florets (as much as you like) and let it cook for another eight minutes. The broccoli should be tender and most of the water will have been absorbed by the quinoa. Stir in a drizzle of olive oil and half a vegetable bouillon cube. Serve with hot sauce and Bragg’s aminos.
This was the first quinoa dish I ever made. The recipe is included in the extras for the film Inland Empire, and you can actually watch David cook it on this video. (He uses more bouillon, but I think that’s too salty!)
So–what do you like to eat when life gets crazy?