Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Cooking in 2009 - A Glutenless Girl's Guide to Cooking in a College Apartment

I don't have a meal plan at school, simply because to have a meal plan would mean I couldn't eat much and I'd be spending $4 a meal to eat crappy food. (Mashed potatoes and slices of salami aren't my idea of a great breakfast, lunch or dinner.) So, I've been opted out of one by our dean of students, which is nice. For those that don't know, I have celiacs disease. I try not to make a big deal out of it, but it does affect nearly every aspect of my life in some way, so it's kind of an important part of my existence.

The problem is that it's very easy to eat junk food, or run to McD's and get a double cheeseburger, minus bun. And, sometimes it's cheaper than cooking an elaborate meal. To make mac and cheese costs us (my room mate and I) about $10, and while it feeds us for few days, $10 is a lot of money for one dinner and two lunches. Not to mention the time it takes us to cook the noodles, grate the cheese and then bake it, adding up to about two hours. Granted, we don't usually do this during the week, which helps, but it's almost impossible to cook something like that during the week. And Mac and Cheese is just an example.

Another problem is the size of our kitchen and my room mate Jenni, who always seems to happen to start cooking her meals about five minutes after I get in the kitchen. We have a stove, a sink, and on the other side of the sink is an L-shaped counter which, after 2' of counter space meets our fridge. We literally only have 2' of counter space that is usable. You can't fit two people in our kitchen at the same time and be able to move.

The ingredients to make gluten free baked goods are expensive. It's not just flour, salt, baking powder, yeast and some liquid. There's four or five different kinds of flours in addition to the normal bread ingredients. To buy these, it's anywhere from $1 for a small amount up to $10 for a decent amount that will last you more than one batch of something. I have, however, found a small company that makes mixes that all you have to do are add an egg, a little milk and a tablespoon of oil to and it makes a wonderful bread that goes great with just about anything.

SO! My goal for this semester is to plan out my meals better and try to stick with eating out only once a week on weekends. If I can come up with some easy to make dinners that are relatively inexpensive, it will not only help my wallet, but I'll be eating healthier, too. It will also help me come up with a better shopping list, so I don't waste food by not eating it or buying too much of something. My other goal is to keep my food spending down. My goal is going to be to keep it to less than $75 per week. Whether or not that will actually happen is a completely different story.

We'll see how it goes. Mondays and Thursdays I have a two hour break from the time I get off work to the time I have night class. Saturdays I have a lot of time in the morning and afternoon to cook meals and the same goes for Sundays. My goal will be to post my weekly menu and shopping list here to keep my on track. When I post the weekly menu (on Friday or Saturday), I'll talk about how the last week went.

Here's the goal for my first week back.

  • Menu for January 12, 2009 - January 18, 2009
  • Monday
    • Breakfast - Yogurt w/ GF granola or Cereal
    • Lunch - GF Wrap w/ Salami and Roast Beef
    • Dinner - Fish Tacos w/ Cilantro and Mango (yummmm)
  • Tuesday
    • Breakfast - Yogurt w/ GF granola or Cereal
    • Lunch - GF Wrap w/ Salami and Roast Beef
    • Dinner - Stir Fry Vegetables w/ Basmati Rice
  • Wednesday
    • Breakfast - Yogurt w/ GF granola or Cereal
    • Lunch - Leftover stirfry and rice
    • Dinner - Rice Bowls w/ Chicken, Sour Cream, Cilantro, and Black Beans
  • Thursday
    • Breakfast - Yogurt w/ fresh fruit or Cereal
    • Lunch - Salad w/ left over Chicken, Craisins and GF Blue Cheese Dressing
    • Dinner - Hamburgers w/ Roasted Rosemary Potatoes, Lettuce, and Cheese
  • Friday
    • Breakfast - Cereal
    • Lunch - Leftover Hamburger w/ leftover Potatoes
    • Dinner - Eating Out
  • Saturday
    • Breakfast - Yogurt w/ fresh fruit or Cereal
    • Lunch - Salad w/ Chicken
    • Dinner - GF Lasagna w/ Salad (click on the link to the recipe I want to try)
  • Sunday
    • Lunch - Leftover Lasagna
    • Dinner - Roasted Chicken w/ Potatoes and Carrots
This week, a lot of dinners will be cooked, and I hope to be able to eat the leftovers. Once I cook on the weekend, I'll have leftovers through Wednesday or Thursday of the next week, so meals the following week will be easier. . . for lunches, at least.
  • Shopping List
    • 5lbs. Potatoes
    • Cilantro
    • Head of Lettuce
    • Package of Carrots
    • Package of Baby Carrots
    • Two tomatoes
    • 1 Head of Garlic
    • Oregano
    • Basil
    • Rosemary
    • Gallon of Milk
    • 1lb Basmati Rice
    • 1lb Hamburger
    • 2 Cans crushed tomatoes
    • Frozen Stir Fry Vegetables
    • 1/4lb Salami
    • 1/4lb Roast Beef
    • GF Wraps
    • Small package of Tilapia (4-5 filets)
    • Hard Taco Shells
    • Italian Sausage
    • Package of Chicken Breasts
    • One Whole Chicken
    • Half Dozen Eggs
    • Mozerella
    • Ricotta

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