Monday, February 27, 2012

A Quick Asian Meal for the College Cook

Check out the recipe from a bonafide College Cook. Tofu, Peanut-Hoisin Sauce, Rice, and Vegetables. Note that Miss Em, while still in a dorm suite with no stove, does have a kitchen a few doors down. So this is a stove recipe, though it could be adapted to the rice cooker.

I'm going to be trying this tonight.

That night I made an OMG-easy dinner that is going to be my new go-to! I already had a batch of brown rice that I'd made earlier in the week and some steam-in-bag veggies I'd gotten BOGO at Publix a week or two ago. I steamed the veggies in the micro (3 minutes). I heated some oil in the skillet, added some garlic, opened one of those packs of tofu, and grilled/lightly fried it in little chunks. (5 minutes). I mixed together hoisin sauce, peanut butter, soy sauce, and red pepper flakes to make a sauce. (1 minute, while veggies were in micro). I took the tofu out of the pan, added the veggies and the sauce, and stirred it together. (1 minute) Then I added the tofu to the pan again (at the end so it wouldn't fall apart), turned the stove off, and brought the still-warm pan to my room and set it aside (1 minute). I heated the brown rice in the micro (1 minute), poured half the veggie/tofu mixture on top, and threw some fresh peanuts on top (30 seconds). How long is that together? A little over 10 minutes? And it was SO GOOD! I can't even explain. And it made enough for two meals! It would be good with a fried egg, too (I am obsessed with eggs lately. I eat at least one a day. Great for protein boosts, versatile, quick and easy to cook!).
Anyway. I was quite excited by the quality meal I got with so little effort. It almost made me feel guilty. Heh.

Note the reliance on the College Cooking pantry: rice, frozen vegetables, tofu, peanut butter, condiments. Miss Em uses the tofu that comes in the little boxes, requiring no refrigeration.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

What You Can Cook from the Shopping List or Pantry: Permutations

As an experienced cook, I marvel at what you can make from a limited number of pantry ingredients. Inexperienced cooks (or people who hate cooking like my mother) tend to keep their cupboards bare and so have to shop afresh for every meal. This is time-consuming and expensive.

From the Publix sale list posted last time, you can see a plethora of possibilities. And permutations within the permutations.

Pasta with tomato sauce.
--Add cheese
--Add sausage

Rice with Eastsmart* veggies
--Add cheese
--Add sausage
--Add egg if you have one
--Add soy sauce instead of the cheese for some Asian flair

--Broth plus veggies
--Canned tomatoes
--Add rice
--Add pasta
--Soy sauce

*Those Eatsmart vegetables are great, especially when on sale for $1. We went to Publix in Alabama for research (not really; we went to visit Miss Em). The packages included: broccoli, broc and cauliflower, broc and cauliflower and carrots, Asian mix (my fave); broccoli slaw (runner up). If I were you, dear College Cooks and Fellow Travelers, I would buy as many as I could use up to the expiration date (or even a bit past).

Any other ideas?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

College Cooking/ Frugal Cooking from Publix: THE SHOPPING LIST

OK, College Cooks (and even people like me with a kitchen): with the list from this week's sales at Publix, you can make easy, nutritious, and (yay!) even frugal meals. If you go to the Publix site and make your own list, you will even get info on which aisle your delicious goodies can be found in.

Note that--as a lazy and disorganized person--I do not use coupons. And--as a healthy cooking nerd type--I do not buy any of the heavily processed or convenience foods that are good deals for those who might want them.

And--as befits the College Cooking rubric--I am assuming you have only a rice cooker, a microwave, and a fridge. You will have to supplement with some cheap pantry staples like cooking oil, but you can make a lot with what's on the list below.

For HOW TO do these things in a rice cooker, see the little e-tome I put together with my son (above right to order ebook from us or Kindle-ready on Amazon). OR just google around and you can find how-tos hither and yon. Or email me and I will write out an instruction for you.

Certain ingredients may pique your interest: we use smoked sausage because it's precooked. I love the big bags of frozen ravioli. This is an excellent convenience product.

And finally, in certain states you have to BUY 2 to get the BOGO price. In others--like where my daughter lives--you need only buy one and will be charged half price.

Next post will enumerate various things you can eat and cook. Stay tuned.

Hunt’s 100% Natural Tomatoes BUY 1 GET 1 FREE thru 2/28/2012

Hunt’s 100% Natural Tomatoes BUY ONE GET ONE FREE thru 2/28/2012

Alma’s Macaroni Product Organic Pasta BUY ONE GET ONE FREE thru 2/28/2012

Ronzoni Pasta BUY 1 GET 1 FREE thru 2/28/2012

Progresso 100% Natural Broth BUY 1 GET 1 FREE thru 2/28/2012

DiGiorno Cheese BUY 1 GET 1 FREE thru 2/28/2012

Mona’s Pasta CafĂ© Five Cheese Ravioli BUY 1 GET 1 FREE thru 2/28/2012

Butterball Turkey Smoked Sausage 2 FOR $5.00 thru 2/28/2012

Eat Smart Vegetables $1.00 thru 2/28/2012
Florida Strawberries 3 FOR $5.00 thru 2/28/2012

Florida Tangerines or Juice Oranges 2 FOR $5.00 thru 2/28/2012

Fresh Express Salad Blends BUY 1 GET 1 FREE thru 2/28/2012

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Healthy Soup in Your Rice Cooker: Bob's Red Mill Mix

I started this blog (and put together a little ecookbook) so my daughter would have good things to eat in her stove-free dorm suite. As it happens, she doesn't need much help: she partakes of some of the free food opportunities that are a part of college life, cooks a sweet potato in the micro, or prepares a rice concoction in the rice cooker. No recipes needed for the above.

Yesterday, I bought some of the Bob's Red Mill bean mixes. They are somewhat misleadingly called soup mixes, but they are bean or bean and grain mixes only. You do need to spiff them up. You can buy these on Amazon.

I wanteed to see if it was possible to cook this in the rice cooker. Long story short: yes. I put 1 cup of mix in the rice cooker with 4 cups water. I three in a few peeled cloves of garlic (I don't like stock cubes, but go ahead). I turned the cooker on. When it came to a boil, I switched it to WARM setting.

Genius idea, developed by Miss Em. This turns your rice cooker into a slow cooker. I checked now and again and added some more water. When it was done, I tasted, added salt. It tasted--shall we say--virtuous.

I had some ham and added a few scraps. I also added some frozen spinach. It was good AND virtuous.

There are many possibilities--chopped carrots, mushrooms, etc would all be good.