There’s no shame in having LA Cafe and TG Express or even Dominoes saved to your contacts. Ordering delivery can be a strategic move, especially after an exhausting day of classes, a long Friday night out or during the grueling nights of finals week (they’ll be here sooner than you think). That said, indulging in our lazy tendencies – and our sometimes lazy taste buds – can be taxing on both your stomach and your bank account.
Luckily, humble apartment kitchen basics (covered here in last week’s outline) will help you make college-budget friendly meals without sacrificing time or flavor. This week we’re focusing on the freezer and how to use it for more than just storing ice-cream.
Don’t be afraid to utilize your freezer. While you can’t stop or slow time so your groceries don’t go bad, sending them on an icy vacation is the next best alternative. Not only will freezing fresh foods keep you from biting your nails in front of the molding lumps occupying your fridge, but you can also freeze full meals to be heated up for later.
For example, even if you don’t need to make a full family-sized meal, go ahead and boil more than one serving of pasta. The rest of the noodles can be dumped in a ziplock bag after they cool and rest easy in the freezer until your next hankering for easy Italian.
The freezer also provides a great way to make sure you don’t neglect the rest of your food groups. Zucchini fritters are a simple and versatile way to make sure you get your fair share of greens on a regular basis. To add variety, get creative and customize by substituting in other vegetables, such as chopped spinach, asparagus or zucchini. Like pasta, feel free to cook up an entire batch (or double batch). Serve yourself a hot meal and then wrap leftovers with aluminum foil into individual serving sized packs to store in the freezer, where they’ll patiently wait for future nights.
Made Dinner Like This – Effortless
For the ultimate quick-fix: microwave quesadillas. Results will be far from on par with the authentic Mexican fare that abounds in Los Angeles, but a solid meal is as simple as a bag of tortillas and shredded cheese. Conveniently enough, both can be stored in your freezer right until you need them. Add other fillings and flavorings of your choice and then microwave. Some refried beans, a handful of chopped kale, shredded chicken, or avocado chunks… the possibilities are endless.
Alternatively, smooth the remnants of the spaghetti sauce sitting in your fridge onto your tortilla, then top with cheese and other toppings before microwaving for a quick “pizza.”
Use cayenne pepper to kick up your avocado toast, or garlic and onion powders as substitutes for their fresh, perishable cousins. TBT: Spices like these were originally used hundreds of years ago to keep food tasting fresh. They will still definitely help cover any freezer-burn taste.
When you find yourself afflicted with an unavoidable bout of procrastination, power through a productive study break by preparing meals to freeze for your future nights of unbearable exhaustion. While TG and LA Cafe undoubtedly are contacts worth treasuring for times of desperate need, don’t let your cooking prowess go to waste. With quick eats in the freezer and some extra savings to treat yourself with, your wallet and the sleep-deprived version of yourself will thank you.