Five Days of Quick, Easy & Amazing: Home Crafted Vegetarian “Fast Food”

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Another ‘normal’ food post – sorry, sugar addicts. I have sweet stuff in the pipeline!  This is a concept I accidentally invented during my undergrad, when I was trying to figure out an easy, cheap but still palatable means of eating well for an entire week, particularly around exam time when it felt like there would be no time for any fun in the kitchen.

If you like the idea of very low effort, very good nutrition at your fingertips, collect together the following stuff (a trip to a supermarket should get you all of this, inexpensively):

Five 22oz Capacity Clip Seal Boxes (like these)
1 Kg Frozen Green Fine Beans / Green Veggies of Choice (I love Tender-stem Broccoli)
Four Large White Onions
1 Tin Butterbeans in Water
10 Vegetarian Burger Patties (Horse free! Take your pick – I love these on a budget)
Peanut Oil (health benefits, yay!)
Bottled Sweet Chilli Sauce
White Vinegar
Ground Pepper, to taste

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I tend to create this on a Sunday morning, so that I’m all ready for the working week. Nothing is particularly hard work, and you can get this done in under an hour and a half. Yay, free Sunday! Here we go:

1. Boil a full kettle. Pull out a mixing bowl. Check it fits in your microwave. Fill with your greens. Pour boiling water in, to about under halfway up the sides. Stick dinner plate over mixing bowl. Put in microwave for about fifteen minutes. Congratulations, you’re not boiling the good out of your veggies – you’re steaming them! This gives better body and flavour to your veg. Apparently it’s good for you, too. Taste test to see when you think they are ready – if they’re too crisp for you, give them another five in the microwave. Drain the water off. Set aside.

2. Peel & slice up your onions, to a shape and size that suits you – I am an onion freak and love them in full rings, you might want yours a little more chopped up! Set a frying pan on your stove top, glug peanut oil in there (about 1 serving spoon’s worth), and turn on the heat. Add your onions to the warm oil. Keep a vague eye on these as they brown, and an occasional mix and flip. They’re ready when golden brown and the kitchen smells like God’s supper. Take off the heat. Set aside.

3. This step is both studenty and incredibly trashy, and the more refined amongst you might prefer to skip reading this and follow packet instructions on their veggie burgers. Here’s the terrible secret: a great deal of veggie burgers can be efficiently and tastily prepared simply by putting them in the microwave. I am amazed by how many brands I have tested that haven’t said so on the packet but turned out great when I called bluff and waved ’em anyway. So! Put five burgers in at a time, giving about five to seven minutes per batch of five depending on the strength of your microwave. Check they’re hot through – beware overdoing microwave time as this can dry veggie burgers out.

4. Set out your five boxes. Grab a serving spoon. Ladle green veggies into each box evenly. Sprinkle boxed greens with vinegar (this holds their colour and freshness, and benefits you) and pepper. Wash up saucepan. Take your burgers, and slice two into strips with a good knife. Layer over one box of beans. Repeat times five. Take sweet chilli sauce and drizzle an “s” over the boxed burger strips. Wash up plates.

5. Open and drain your butter beans, and scatter evenly across each box. Finally, get onions. Distribute the grilled onions across the five boxes. The peanut oil they’ve been grilled in will settle in with the rest of the ingredients and add an extra loveliness to the rest of your food. To finish, you can add another dash of chilli sauce, then clip on the lids, leave to rest for a couple hours and finally freeze them.

6. Woah, you have five dinners all ready for the week! Dude. Seriously. Remove from freezer when you get home and blast in the microwave for five minutes. Take out, stir the contents around with a fork and blast for a further three to five minutes (depending on microwave strength). Serve with, eh, whatever you want, really. Add carbs by stuffing it in pita or doing some three minute boil noodles? Sprinkle cheese on top? Dinner is your oyster. Use saved money at weekend for posher food (or cocktails). Celebrate!

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