My move to Nashville marked the first time I had ever really been “on my own”. Sure, I went to college, but living in a dorm with my classmates and having an unlimited dining hall meal plan doesn’t really count as roughing it.
When I made the move here to Music City, it became very obvious very quickly that I was going to be spending more time in the kitchen than ever before. While a lot of people eat out or order delivery, I didn’t have that option. Long story short, I have Celiac Disease, so rather than risking my health (and life) by eating something made in a restaurant, I took matters into my own hands and got cooking.
As a fairly novice chef, I started to rely heavily on simple recipes with simple ingredients. While I am no Naked Chef (shout out to Jamie Oliver!) I take pride in creating great meals with only a few factors.
Getting started in the kitchen can be scary, but here are a few culinary staples that I have relied on heavily throughout my first year here in Nashville.
*All of the following foods are gluten free, since I have Celiac Disease…duh*
Mac & Cheese
Simple and addicting, any sort of gluten free pasta with cheese sauce makes for the perfect meal in my book. My favorite packaged option is by the company Annie’s, but I usually prefer to make it myself and add variety with different types of pasta and sauce.
Veggies Omelet Style
This is my go-to on a lazy night or day when I haven’t found the time to run to Target for groceries. Simply throw a bunch of veggies into a warm pan, and then scramble an egg on top. I typically cut up a green pepper and onion, use what I need for one meal, and then freeze the rest so that the next time I cook this, I am able to grab a handful quickly. This also helps to keep the veggies from going bad before they can be of use.
This colorful blend is my favorite side dish turned meal. Toss a bunch of veggies into a bowl of quinoa pasta, add some cheese cubes, and soak the mixture with Italian dressing. This dish is meant to be eaten in small portions, but I seem to have a problem stopping with just one bowl.
Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies
While technically not a meal, I could live off of these cookies, and basically did this entire weekend. Made with just a couple ingredients (and lots of chocolate) these cookies pack more flavor than any other gluten free dessert out there. Be careful when baking them though, and let the dough sit in the fridge for at least half an hour to help the consistency set, or the heat of the oven will destroy those poor gluten free treats.
I am learning to become more adventurous in the kitchen as the weeks pass, but something always has me going back to these few culinary concoctions. What can I say? I’m a creature of habit, and I just happen to love these foods.