No one ever told me I'd have to cook for myself when I went to Grad school...I know, I know, I should have known, but I honestly don't think knowing ahead of time would have been sufficient preparation anyway. So, I've decided to post some of my recipes, cooking hints, etc. for those of you who, like me, are on a very tight budget, have little to no experience cooking, and are on tight schedule. If anyone out there has any recipes or tips they'd like to share, PLEASE, email them to me and I'll be sure to get them up!
Here are some necessities that I've found indespensible:
Here are some tips that should make cooking, preparing, and eating food easier, faster and more pleasurable:
Ingredients: 1 lb. bag of black beans 4-5 cloves of garlic, minced 3-5 small red hot peppers Tobasco sauce (optional) 1/2 medium sized onion, diced 1/2 Bell green pepper, diced salt
Though making these beans can turn into quite a long project, and you need some patience (it takes a long time to both prepare and cook them!), in the end it's well worth it. Not only do you get a nutritious and tasty to many meals, but if you store it properly, you'll have food for at least a month.
The night (or at least 12 hours) before you plan to cook the beans, place the beans in a large bowl and soak them in water (leave about an inch of water on top of the beans). Be sure to first sift out any "bad" beans from the package, since the packing process often misses these (and "these" include tiny ROCKS!).
When you're ready to cook the beans, dump them into a large dutch oven, along with the water that you soaked them in, and bring them to a boil. (I've been told by some that you should get rid of the water that you used to soak them in and use fresh water for this, but personally I think you lose quite a bit of taste by doing this...). Let the beans boil for a few minutes (be sure to stir them so they don't stick to the pot!), then bring the temperature down to about medium. Throw in the garlic, onion and the hot peppers. The beans will need to cook for at least 3-4 hours, and you will need to pay attention to them, occasionally stirring them and ADDING MORE WATER TO THE POT (the water will be absorbed by the beans fairly rapidly, and if you are not paying attention, they WILL burn and WILL definitely ruin your pot (I know from experience...), so pay attention!). Also, depending on your taste, add some hot sauce every once in a while.
The beans will be ready when you can EASILY squash them with a fork...if
you have to press hard or if they are not soft all the way through, they
are not done! Also, I like to have a lot of the liquid when I'm done, it
adds a lot of flavor to the beans when you serve them over rice!
Ingredients: 2 Chicken Breasts (skinless and boneless is preferable) Black Pepper Adobo Garlic Salt
Baked chicken breast are incredibly easy to prepare and make. Spray a medium glass or aluminum baking pan with Pam or some other cooking spray so that the chicken doesn't stick too horribly to the pan. Place the chicken in the pan, and lightly cover it with the pepper, adobo and garlic salt. Set the oven to 350 F and bake for about 25 minutes or until cooked through (but still moist! Be careful to not overcook it too much, otherwise it'll be dry and not very tasty.)
Ingredients: 1 lb. ground beef, at least 80% lean 16-18 oz. crushed tomatoes 1 can Red Kidney beans 1/2 8 oz. can of olives, sliced 6 oz. corn (frozen or canned) 1 Green Bell Pepper, diced 1 Small Onion, diced 2 tbspn. Chili Powder Jalapeno Hot Sauce
Pour all ingredients except for the ground beef into a medium to large size pot and put it on medium heat, stirring occasionally. Be sure you drain any canned vegetables of their liquids! Brown the ground beef and drain the fat, then put the beef into the tomato and vegetable mix. Keep the chili on medium to low-medium heat for another 15-20 minutes.
I eat my chili with white rice, though I've heard that not everyone eats it that way. However, if you combine the chili with rice, tortilla chips, or some other filler, it'll keep your consumption of the chili down so you can have plenty of leftovers. Chili is easy to make, freezes fairly well, and it's easy to reheat.
Ingredients: 1 Cup Olive Oil 6-8 Cloves Garlic 1 Bunch Cilantro or Parsley (Fresh, Chopped Up) 1 8-oz can Tomato Sauce 1 can chopped clams
Heat Oil. Brown Garlic in Oil. Add Cilantro/Parsley, Tomato Sauce and Clams (with liquid). Simmer 8-10 minutes. Serves 2 over linguine.
Note -- if you start the water when you start the oil, you should be able to boil the pasta while the sauce simmers and have everything ready at once.
Also good vegetarian style (minus the clams).
Ingredients: 2 tspns Lemon Juice (or to taste) 1 Stick of Butter (or 8 Tbsps Margarine) 2-3 Cloves of Garlic, diced Small bottle of Clam Juice Small 7 oz. Can of Sliced Olives Small 7 oz. Can of Sliced Mushrooms 1 lb. Linguine 1/4 lb. of Medium Size Shrimp 1/5 to 1/4 lb. of Bay Scallops Small 6 oz. Can of Clams (either chopped or whole)
Begin cooking linguine before you start making the sauce! The sauce is extremely easy and quick to make!
For the sauce, first cook the shrimp, since this does not take too long. To do this, simply boil a small pot of water, throw the shrimp in, and they're done as soon as they turn pink all over. Do not let them sit in the boiling water after they've turned pink, remove them immediately from the water, otherwise you'll overcook them and they'll lose their taste! Next, melt half the butter or margarine, throw in the garlic, olives, and mushrooms. When the garlic is sautéed to a light brown, throw in the clams and the bay scallops. The scallops will also cook fast, so beware (they're done when they turn completely opaque). Finally, throw in the shrimp, the rest of the butter, and the lemon juice. Let the sauce stew for a minute or so, then serve on top of linguine. Serve with garlic bread and a salad for a refreshing and delicious (and not very expensive either) meal! Serves 2-3.
Ingredients: 6 medium sized potatos, peeled and grated 1 small onion, diced 3 tbsp matzah meal or flour 2 tsp baking powder 1 tsp salt (or to taste) 1 egg, beaten dash of parseley (for color) cooking oil
Heat 1/4" oil in a frying pan to medium-high. Mix matzah meal/flour, salt, baking powder together. In a separate mixing bowl, mix potato, onion, parseley and egg together. Mix everything together in one bowl, fry large serving-size spoon of mix until golden brown. Let stand for a minute to drain off oil and cool down. Serve with apple sauce if desired.
Ingredients: 2 cups of white rice 3.5 cups of water 1 tbsp. salt 1.5 tbsp. oil or butter 1/2 of an onion, diced (if desired) 1/2 of a green pepper, diced (if desired) 1 carrot, diced (if desired)
Bring the water, salt and oil to a boil, then add the rice. Cover the pot and reduce the heat to a simmer. After about 12-15 minutes, stir in the vegetables and recover. Cook for another 3-5 minutes, or until all the water is absorbed. Although the vegetables are not necessary, I like to add them since they add a bit of flavor (and color).
Rice will stay good for quite a while in the refrigerator, and much longer in the freezer. It's also easy to reheat (then again, if you have a microwave, anything is easy to reheat!) So, if you want to avoid constantly having to cook rice, you can make a bunch of it once and store it for later.
The Cook's Thesaurus