base   2020 02 02 3   2020 02 02
Photos by Julie Mauldin, Senior Staff Photographer

The Kitchen is Not Scary

Agrawal shares tips for first time chefs at home

 

Juhee Agrawal
Contributing Reporter
jagrawal@uab.edu
Juhee Agrawal

 

After freshman year, I quickly learned that although it’s just a swipe of my OneCard to eat till my heart’s content at the Commons,using “real money” to eat out is expensive. Eventually I won’t have a meal plan, so I had better figure out a way to plan my meals without one.Sadly, every time I tried to cook, it took so long, it didn’t taste great, and it caused a mess in the kitchen.

 

I felt stuck, like every time I turned on the TV, Gordon Ramsey was mocking me. 

 

Though I have been trying to cook since sophomore year, my adventure truly took off last semester.Recently, I have learned some recipes to make me feel like I can get my #mealprep game on. I hope these tips can help anyone feeling like they can’t cook, that the kitchen is not scary, and that cooking is not an impossible goal. 

 

You can do this with a few simple #lifehacks.

 

Start with a base:

 

Most of my meals involve pasta. I would recommend getting the high-fiber or high-protein pasta from the store – it doesn’t cost much, and you’re getting the benefit of added nutrients. The vegetable pasta sauce I use is store-brand and contains one and a half servings of veggies. Flatbread or pre-baked pizza crust are also easy bases to work with. 

 

 

Pick some produce:

 

If you really think about it, most meals are salads with different bases. Be your own Blaze Pizza by choosing which produce, meat, and cheese will go on top (and sauce if you’re a sauce person). To get the most bang for your buck, go to the frozen produce aisle – the veggies are typically cheaper and last longer than fresh.

 

Remember the reason for the season:

 

Think of seasoning as makeup for your food. Your meal is naturally beautiful, it just needs a little help showing that to the world (or in this case, your tongue). Store bought seasonings are cheap and can add that extra kick your dish needs. I would recommend starting with garlic powder, paprika, salt, Italian seasoning, and Mexican/taco seasoning.

 

 

When in doubt, snack it out:

 

If making a whole meal by yourself sounds intimidating, start by packing snacks and work your way up! I personally enjoy granola bars, trail mix, baby carrots plus guacamole or hummus, mixed fruit, and the occasional bag or two (or five) of chocolatecovered pretzels.

 

 

 

 

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