When I was a teenager, and the lone vegetarian in my house, I relied heavily on microwavable meat substitutes. I ate many, many Tofu Pups. I was first on my own without a dining hall during my junior year abroad in London. In my dorm's mouse-ridden communal kitchen, I had a designated cupboard and a shelf in the mini-fridge. I bought one pot, one bowl, one plate, one mug, and one set of silverware.
I had a tight budget, and I didn't know how to organize my trips to the expensive and poorly-stocked grocery store, or how to turn a bag of groceries into a week of healthy meals. For a while I survived on breakfast cereal, Heinz beans, and McVitie's dark chocolate digestive biscuits. When my then-boyfriend-now-husband got a plug-in tea kettle, my diet expanded to include instant mashed potatoes and nightcaps of (wretch!) instant coffee and Bailey's.
I reached a point when I couldn't stand to eat any more soft, bland food, and asked my mother to send me some recipes. My first real grown-up dinner was a zucchini lasagna. Hot, homemade food was such a big deal that we went around the building knocking on doors, inviting people to come eat it, and then took pictures of the feast. Look at me—I'm so proud of myself for slicing those zucchini:
It isn't fancy, but chili never lets me down. It's healthy, delicious, and practically idiot-proof.
Variations: try tossing in a cup of frozen corn kernels, or a few chopped jalapeño or chipotle peppers.