Party Of One

By Jeanelle Horcasitas

September 19, 2014 7 min read

Just moved out of Mom and Dad's house? After being at home for what felt like an eternity, you're finally out on your own! You're finally paying your own rent, buying your own groceries ... and wait, NOT cooking for yourself? Well, that can be a bit of an issue. If you didn't already know, the No. 1 rule for survival as an independent adult is being able to feed yourself. Sure, you can get away with buying pizza and McDonald's a few times a week, but don't you want more out of your cuisine? Of course you do.

Living on my own, I learned a few great recipes that are not only delicious but healthy, too! Oh, and they never disappoint when it comes to providing a couple of days of yummy leftovers. Don't fret; these simple recipes will be just what you need to kick those bad fast-food habits.

SPAGHETTI

1/2 or 1 pound of ground turkey, ground beef (or none if you prefer your meal vegetarian)

1 jar of tomato basil sauce from your local grocery store

1 tablespoon of pepper

1 tablespoon of garlic salt

1/2 cup of chopped onions

1/2 cup of chopped green bell pepper

1/2 cup of chopped mushrooms

1 pack of whole-wheat pasta (or three to four zucchinis if you would like to make zucchini noodles)

1 tablespoon of olive oil (if making zucchini noodles)

Set your skillet to medium heat and allow it to warm up for a few minutes before adding your meat. Once it is ready, add the meat, add the pepper and garlic salt, and then use a spatula to mince the meat. Once the meat is cooked, you may use a colander to drain any oil that has gathered.

While any extra oil is draining, put a pot with 4 cups of water on medium heat to begin boiling for the pasta. However, if you would like to replace your pasta with zucchini, it is best to use a Kitchen Basics Spiral Vegetable Slicer (which can be found on Amazon.com). Or, my personal favorite, the Spirooli from Bed Bath & Beyond. If you are using zucchini, you do not need a pot of water. Simply put it to the side for later.

Once all of the oil from the meat has been drained, add it back to the skillet at medium heat.

Then add the chopped onions and green bell pepper to the meat so that it may saute together.

After a few minutes, add the tomato basil sauce and chopped mushrooms, and mix everything together.

Now, set the heat on low, place a top on the skillet, and allow for the meat, sauce and vegetables to cook together.

While the sauce is cooking, add the pasta to the pot of boiling water and cook it until tender. However, if you are using the zucchini noodles, use another skillet and add a bit of olive oil to it at low heat. Once the skillet is ready, add the zucchini noodles to the skillet and saute them to your liking. You may also eat the zucchini raw if you prefer.

At this point, your sauce will be done and you can turn off the heat. Once the noodles of your choice are done, you can begin feasting! If you're feeling even hungrier, make a small spinach salad as a side.

GREEN ENCHILADAS

3-4 chicken breasts

1/2 tomato

1/2 onion

1 tablespoon of salt

1 can of Las Palmas Green Chile Enchilada Sauce

6-10 corn tortillas

1 cup of cheese (Mexican-style four-cheese shredded is preferred)

1 can of black beans and 1 can of corn (if opting for vegetarian style)

(If you have decided to make vegetarian enchiladas, you can disregard all of the following chicken prep. Instead, add the black beans and corn to a bowl, mix it together, and follow the next steps.)

Bring a pot of 6 cups of water to a boil. Once the water has boiled, change the heat to medium. Then add your chicken breasts, tomato, onion and salt. Place a top on the pot, keeping it slightly slanted to allow steam to exit and prevent the water from bubbling over.

Allow the chicken breasts to cook for 25-30 minutes. You may use two forks to pry apart the chicken breast to ensure that it is not pink in the middle. Once you've confirmed that the chicken is fully cooked (white on the inside), drain the water from the pot. You may toss the onion and tomato away as well (it was simply for flavoring purposes).

Allow the chicken breasts to cool, and then use your hands or two forks to shred the chicken breasts. Once you have shredded the chicken to your liking, put it in a bowl to the side.

At this point, set your oven to 350 degrees to begin preheating for the enchiladas.

Bring out a baking dish, such as the 2-inch Pyrex rectangular baking dish (can be found at Target).

Wrap your 6 or 10 tortillas together in a paper towel and warm them up in the microwave for one minute (to make them soft).

While your tortillas are warming up, open the can of Las Palmas Green Chile Enchilada Sauce and place it in a wide bowl (or something big enough to dip the tortillas into).

Once you have removed your tortillas from the microwave, dip them into the green sauce, add your shredded chicken (or black beans/corn) down the middle, and then wrap them.

After you have wrapped your desired amount of enchiladas, top them off with cheese.

At this point, the oven should be ready to go. Go ahead and carefully put the baking dish with enchiladas into the oven and let them bake for 15 minutes (or until the cheese has melted).

Once the enchiladas are done, let them cool, and enjoy! If you would like to add a little more to the meal, garnish your enchiladas with lettuce, tomatoes and avocado!

Here's hoping these recipes will inspire you, and soon enough you'll impress your friends and parents with your foodie creations. But more importantly, you'll be cooking for yourself and nourishing your body -- and that's what being a responsible healthy adult is all about.

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