My sushi delivery guy handed me the receipt to sign with a grin. I know the guy, because I order sushi from the same place three times a week. My doorman doesn't even make him sign in anymore when he strolls by with my spicy salmon rolls.
“Thanks, Bella! See you later,” he said, walking back to the elevator.
Then, it hit me. The guy knew my nickname -- not even my full name, the one that appears on my credit card.
The encounter prompted me to do the math on just how much of my monthly paycheck was going to my delivery habit. I won't share the exact number, but it was upwards $700. Afterward, I cried for a good 20 minutes.
This was a few weeks ago. While I didn't start cooking every meal, I've gotten better at not Seamless-ing my meals two or more times a day.
To fix my bad food habit, I had to start by stocking my fridge. I had some items in there, but hard cider, vodka and Whole Foods frozen mac and cheese don't count as nutritious or particularly delectable.
Certain ingredients are so basic you really, truly can't f*ck them up — no matter how inept you are in the kitchen. Plus, a few essential food items can take your fridge from “stoner kid in a college dorm room" to full-on adulting.
If you still haven't compiled your big-girl meal prep ideas for this week, I got you, babe.
Everyone loves avocado, and with good reason. It's full of good fatty acids, tastes bomb and can be used in just about every meal.
Avocado is also easy to keep around, because you can either eat it raw or cook with it. I try to have at least a couple in stock in my fridge at all times.
Side note: Please don't stick your avocados in the fridge before they're perfectly ripe and have a little softness. Check ripeness level by peeling back the cap of the avocado to see if its green underneath.
Use it for: avocado toast, guacamole, salads and burgers. It's also great with some sea salt if you're in a snacking mood. Basically, have your 'cados for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Like avocados, these are awesome for virtually everything, especially lemon cakes and cookies. Personally, I just like adding a slice to a glass of water when I want to get extra fancy, or when my mom is visiting and I want to impress her with my grown-ass water pouring skills.
Additionally, lemon is rich with vitamins C and potassium.
Use it for: baking virtually anything, as a garnish or in ice cubes. Personally, I'm all for dunking it in tea when I have a cold.
3. Greek Yogurt
If John Stamos has a boat-load of the stuff in his fridge, it's certainly worth exploring, right? Greek yogurt does it all. You can eat it out of the package, use it to upgrade your macaroni and make dips with it. Someone once told me you can bake with it, which basically blows my mind.
Greek yogurt is also better for you than the old school kind. It has half the sodium and double the protein of your plain Jane yogurt, plus it has way less carbs.
Use it for: dips, salads, tacos and casseroles. It's also a travel-ready breakfast or snack.
You probably have eggs chilling on the side of your fridge already. Still, have you ever tried to do anything other than boiling or scrambling them? No? Didn't think so.
Eggs are only as complicated as you make them. For every fancy frittata recipe out there, there is a deviled egg that takes 20 minutes to make. Get cracking.
Use them for: deviled eggs, egg salad, baked eggs, egg-in-a-hole and eggs baked in avocado. Basically, eggs are great for breakfast (duh) and meals worthy of bringing to work the next day.
5. Parmesan Cheese
Parm is the savory version of icing on a cake -- it makes everything taste a million times better. Don't bother with the pre-packaged, pre-chopped version -- it has sawdust in it, gross -- and just invest in a block of aged parm and a grater for making your own cheesy dreams come to life.
Use it for: sprinkling on top of pasta, with your baked avocado and in soups. Integrate it into your dinners and don't look back.
Whatever kind of stock you're into — chicken, beef, seafood, veggie — you can find endless uses for it. You can make and freeze your own or buy a pre-made box. The stuff lasts forever when frozen.
Use it for: rice, polenta, couscous and soup. It's great for when you need the kind of flavor that doesn't come from a packet.
Fact: Bacon makes everything taste better. It's great sprinkled on salads, in ice cream and wrapped around other equally wonderful things, like shrimp and asparagus.
It's a great source of protein, too, which means it's healthy as f*ck, right? Don't tell me the real answer, please.
If there's ever a question, bacon is probably the answer.
Use it for: everything.