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Easy Meals for Stressful Times

Happy December!  Christmas trees and lights are up, our favorite music (or least favorite if you’re crazy) is on the radio, festive sweaters are on, and the malls are PACKED.  If you happen to be in school like me (#gradschoollife) this sweet pre holidays time is also code for FINALS. Yikes!

During busy days and weeks of studying it can be nice to have meal prep take up less brain space than usual.   Since I’m no longer on the undergrad dining hall meal plan, I am trying to master the art of efficient meal prep.  I thought I’d hop on and share some of my favorite go-tos for busy days so you can make your meals easy and keep your mind in school mode until winter break!  So here we go,

Tip #1 Slow cook it!  I got a slow cooker for Christmas a few years ago (because what 20 something doesn’t want that under the tree??) and have just now broken it out while finally living in my own apartment.  This thing is magical.  I’ve tried pulled chicken (great for people like me who fear undercooking meat) and just tried BEANS in the slow cooker which is fantastic since I am trying to use more dried beans, and I really don’t eat meat that often.

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beans! slow cook those babies and then dump them on any bowl

Tip #2 Embrace randomness.  Meals don’t have to come from a perfectly planned menu.  I am quite well versed in the random meals – putting leftover Thanksgiving cranberry sauce on everything, adding avocado on any bowl of food, scooping my eats with tortilla chips because I somehow have 4 bags of them, you get the point.  Make do with what you have by prepping those ingredients and switching up your combos.  You just might find a new favorite meal!

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microwaved frozen veg, beans, and Utz multigrain scoops (my fave!)…SO random, SO fast (and surprisingly satisfying)
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throw some leftover fish on my zoodle salad? OK!

Tip #3 Breakfast for dinner!  Do I even need to mention this?  We all know brinner is best.  Scrambled eggs are my favorite dinner in a pinch when I need something on the fly but don’t want to eat out.  You can also make oatmeal or pre prep pancakes and have them in the fridge for any time of day (pancakes are actually becoming a favorite snack of mine).

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eggs eggs eggs! Just add veg (I mostly do scrambles but sautéed these greens)
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because who doesn’t love a good pancake stack? nut butter and fruit always top mine to add protein and produce

Tip #4 Meal prep and love those leftovers!  I’ve touched on this before, but meal prep is only convenient if you make it work for YOU.  You don’t have to spend all Sunday in the kitchen if that’s not your best day to cook; try to find your most flexible day or even prep just one or two items any given day.  Every dish helps and having something to stretch throughout a week will make your meals that much quicker and easier.

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prep, prep, prep! grab and go lunches (or dinners) are a lifesaver on busy days

Happy cooking and happy studying, friends!  It’s almost the holidays 🙂

What are your favorite meals or cooking tips for crazy times?

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