Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Meal Math: 75 Dinners for the Dorm Cook

A semester's worth of dinners sounds daunting, doesn't it? Might as well get 75 boxes of Lean Cuisine, or worse.

But it's all a matter of perspective. Miss Em announced that she wants to try a semester with no meal plan, rather than the 50 meal plan she had last semester. She also wants to try more of the recipes that Frugal Son and I laboriously put together for her last summer.

Still, I want to help out. Anything you bring from home is easier than cooking in that tiny ill-equipped space. I figure a semester is around 15 weeks. Then I figure 5 dinners a week. That's probably high, since college students come upon lots of free food opportunities. Then there are dinners out and dinners with friends at their off-campus abodes.

I was already planning on the 45 bean and cheese burritos, so beloved by our family. That makes around 30 meals.

Then it occurred to me that we could also package the spinach ricotta burritos that I am famous for (at least in my immediate family). These don't even need a rice cooker: just mix defrosted, squeezed frozen spinach with ricotta and roll into burritos. These can be Mexican with jack cheese or Italian with parmesan. Top with salsa or tomato sauce. So: say 30 of these for 20 meals.

Only 25 left! Well, it just so happens that Mr FS and I prepared one of Miss Em's favorite frozen concoctions--ratatouille. Sadly, we had a poor eggplant crop, so she will only get enough for around 10 meals.

Down to 15. I made a chicken/tomato base for Pam Anderson's Chicken Chile. Mixed with canned beans, this should suffice for 5 meals.

5 left! What should I do? Any suggestions?

Note that burritos are very compact. The other items are also compact, frozen in 1 quart ziplock bags. Miss Em won't need more than her 1/4 share of the freezer. Also note how low cost these items are.

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