Here is the email I sent my College Cook earlier today. I wanted to let her know what was on special this week at Publix.
cucumbers .50 (good for gazpacho!)
bag coleslaw 1.29
bag baby carrots 1.29
Starches are easy for the College Cook: you can make your rice and pasta in the rice cooker; you can bake potatoes, white or sweet, in the microwave.
Vegetables are a pain, however. They require messy chopping, for one thing. That is why Frugal Son and I recommended frozen in our little ebook: onions, bell peppers, spinach can all be found for about a dollar a bag. All you have to do is throw them into whatever you are making.
Still, one craves variety. In the Publix list is a hidden gem: cole slaw mix. You get a pound of shredded cabbage, with a few carrots, for little more than a dollar. NO CHOPPING!
In addition to cole slaw (make the dressing with a little mayo, oil, vinegar, and a bit of sugar), you can throw the cabbage in your rice cooker with some soy sauce, making an Asian dish. If you put it in a flour tortilla, perhaps mashing some tofu in, you can eat a reasonable facsimile of mooshu take-out.
You can cook the cabbage in your rice cooker and top with some kielbasa (which will flavor it). Serve on a starch with mustard.
You can throw it into soup, making your dish healthier.
If you have a stove, you can saute the shredded cabbage, with or without onion, and mix into cooked egg noodles. This is a famous Eastern European dish, Jewish comfort food, which I first had at the home of my high school friend Gloria. Her mother, Eva, was an eccentric of the first degree, who, after her divorce, had fallen right out of the middle-class, at least economically. Eva and Gloria lived in a large falling-down house, where you could write phone messages on the kitchen wall and find unwashed dishes piling up over the weeks. The cabbage and noodle dish was, perhaps, my introduction to the food of the poor, which exists wherever there are poor people.
The thing about the food of the poor is that it is cheap and good. Perfect for the College Cook or anyone, really.