With all of the hustling millennials have to do to land a job in this post-baby boomer economy, we don’t have enough time to prepare hot meals. Add in the ease of fast food, and it’s a recipe for unhealthy eating.
To this I say: fight back! With freezers, crockpots, and a little time one night a week, it’s possible to set yourself up with cheap, quick, and healthy meals. This meal prep will scratch your stir-fry itch for under $1.50 per meal, with total shopping list costing $12.50 and even some produce is left over for other meals. It’s also the perfect base for your favorite asian-inspired sauce, and can live in your freezer as an emergency meal when you need something with no prep.
Shopping List (purchased at a local Aldi):
1 Head of Green Cabbage – $1
3 Carrots – $2.50 for a bag
1 Yellow Onion – $1.50 for a bag of 3
2 green/red bell peppers – $2.50 for 2
5 minute rice – $2
After washing all of your produce, grab a vegetable-only cutting board, 8 1-quart resealable bags, your sharpest knife and your veggies. First to prep are the two peppers, which can be seeded easily by pushing down with your thumbs around the stem. This should basically cause the top to get pushed in with all of the seeds still attached. Rip the pepper in half and toss all of the seeds out. Then cut length-wise into pieces about 1/16th of an inch and distribute evenly between the 8 bags.
Next, peel and trim the head and root, then halve top to bottom. Like the peppers, slice into 1/16th pieces, and distribute evenly into the 8 bags. Starting with three carrots, peel, sliver and bag. If needed, cut more carrots until they even out with the onions and peppers. Last is cabbage, sliced twice as thick as the other vegetables and cut enough to equal about double the amount of all other vegetable combined. At this point the bags should be about 2/3rds of the way full, so squeeze the air out and toss in the freezer.
Prepare rice per directions for rice and heat on medium with a smidge of olive oil. When hot toss in the frozen vegetables straight from the bag. If you put in too much oil, this is where you’ll start to get a lot of popping, so cover if needed. Eventually you’ll be able to break apart the frozen block, and that means it’s time to turn up the heat and pour in your favorite stir fry sauce (or soy sauce if you don’t have one)! When the veggies are looking plenty fried, serve over rice.
Besides the rice (which you could cook ahead of time and microwave hot) cooking should take less than 10 minutes, all depending on how hot your pan can get!
Nate has photographed everything from rugby games and theatre performances to night life on Bourbon Street, Engagements in Ireland, and the oceans and islands of Greece. Through all of this journey he has concentrated on producing creative work that captures the life found all around us.