Thursday, January 20, 2011

Roadblocks to Cooking: Plus a Recipe that Avoids the Roadblocks

When Frugal Son and I decided to put together some recipes for the dorm-cooker in our family, we did so because the various guides to college cooking we consulted presented a bunch of recipes, some easy, some hard. In this, the college-focused cookbooks were not much different from any other cookbook.

We realized that college cooking, particularly the dorm variety, is defined by its limitations. Here was the list we came up with.

BIG ROADBLOCKS: No time, no skill, no car, no storage space, little money, no stove

LITTLE ROADBLOCKS: No room for messy and smelly preparation

Also, as any cook knows, it's disheartening (to say the least) to make a big mess and then have a single omelette serving one to show for it.

So, Frugal Son and I set out to counter all the roadblocks. With a few pantry items (most requiring no refrigeration), you can make a bunch of stuff.

With the rice cooker, you don't need a stove.

And with certain ingredients, you don't need to chop. We are not talking about the various "HELPERS" or "BOXED MAC and CHEESE." There are some ingredients that offer convenience, even for the picky.

To wit (and you do need a freezer): chopped onions, chopped bell peppers, chopped spinach. All these are in our cookbook. But another is frozen hashed brown potatoes.

Think about it: throw some--along with your frozen onions--in your heated rice cooker, into which you have put some oil. When the potatoes seem cooked, throw in some eggs (beaten beforehand, or just beat in the cooker). Stir till the eggs are done. You may have to keep setting your rice cooker to cook, sicne it doesn't KNOW you're doing eggs and may switch to warm.

Eggs and potatoes--yummy! Cheap. Only one pot to wash. If you made too much, heat in the micro tomorrow for another meal.


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