Teach ’em to cook.

Grocery shopping day! Since I stopped shopping at Wal-Mart and switched to Bi-Lo, it’s so much more fun… AND everything was on sale. Success.
(If you start shopping at a real grocery store, be sure to get a discount card; in Cleveland, though, I just really like Bi-Lo and they have great deals).

Being a college student, it’s so hard to figure out what you can cook when you haven’t had a lot of experience. I’ve been cooking since I was in elementary school, so I have a bit more than most, but what about everyone else?
I’ve been thinking up a decent list of things college kids can keep in their pantry/fridge along with some ideas for those. I can’t explain everything, so you should be able to infer some things. I’m keeping the typical cereal breakfast out of this, but if you like that, by all means, go for it.

Pantry items:
-Rice (you can get normal white rice if you want, but jasmine or basmati has TONS more flavor)
-Petite Diced Tomatoes, canned
-Pasta (whatever you prefer, but keep a few different kinds)
-Pasta sauce (vodka sauce is DELISH)
-Flour/breadcrumbs (for breading, but there are lots of uses for flour)
-Saltine crackers/chips/some kind of snack (come on, we’re in college, we love that stuff)
-Naan (indian flat bread, really yummy and great with hummus)
-Olive oil (a MUST, extra-virgin)
-Canola oil/Vegetable oil (for the things you won’t use olive oil for; not a large bottle)
-Bread (Arnold Healthy Multi-Grain is really tasty)
-Peanut butter
-Honey
-Lipton Cold Brew Teabags (it takes 3 minutes)
-Sugar

Fruit/Veg:
-Oranges
-Apples
-Pears
-Zucchini
-Squash
-Brussel sprouts
-Onions
-Garlic
-Potatoes

Meats:
-Chicken (at Bi-Lo, you can get Springer Mountain Farms individually-wrapped chicken breast ina pack of 6, great for freezing; sometimes a large pack of chicken thighs will be on sale with a Bi-Lo card, also great for freezing, but double wrap them in aluminum foil first)
-Any other meat you might prefer. I keep various types of seafood stocked, and I don’t like red meat. You can freeze any other meat like the chicken thighs I just mentioned.
-Rotisserie chicken (they’re about $6-7, but they’re worth every penny; you can eat on it for about a week, and there are so many uses for it; throw it in a mixture of pasta and vegetables, slice it up and make a sandwich or just eat it alone)

Fridge:
-Hummus (just TRY it, it’s fantastic; I’d start with regular flavor)
-Yogurt (if you like it; greek yogurt is delish- a little thicker and more tangy)
-Cheese (this is vital, choose any type you want, but it comes in handy)
-Eggs
-Tater tots (freezer; trust me, I have a good and simple breakfast recipe)
-Juice (I love orange juice; it’s just a nice way to start the morning)
-Butter (I get salted AND the spreadable kind for toast)
-Milk
-Salsa
-Salad dressing (good for quick marinades)
-Pint of ice cream (freezer; you know you want it)

Seasonings (I won’t get too fancy):
-Salt
-Pepper
-McCormick Salt-Free Savory All-Purpose Seasoning (seriously, it can go on just about everything; I hate using the pre-mixed things, but this one is amazing; get salt-free so you can control the salt)
-Dried thyme (or basil, oregano, parsley, etc., whatever you like, thyme’s just my favorite)

Obviously, there’s a lot you can do with this list. Switch out the veggies for what you like. Different cuts of chicken or different kinds of meat in general – both okay. Get creative! (It’ll come with time)

Here are some recipes/techniques you can use:
-Tater tots, eggs, cheese, salt, pepper, butter
1. Melt a pat of butter in your pan and throw some tater tots in just to warm them through.
2. While they’re warming, scramble 2 eggs in a bowl with a pinch of salt and pepper.
3. When the potatoes are warm, break them up and push them to the sides, making a space in the middle.
4. Melt another small pat of butter.
5. Put the eggs in the middle.
6. Stir the potatoes and eggs together, scrambling everything together.
7. When the eggs are almost cooked, throw a small handful of shredded cheddar cheese in to melt.
8. Cook until the eggs are done and the cheese is melted.
9. Enjoy! This isn’t exactly healthy, but it’s great when you want something hearty and different.

-Brussel sprouts, olive oil, salt, pepper
(I know, I know, brussel sprouts don’t have the best reputation, but trust me)
1. Heat a couple tablespoons of olive oil in a pan (don’t worry about that amount, the sprouts soak it up, so you need this; if it does get dry, you can add more)
2. Cut off the knobby end of 6-10 sprouts, depending on the size.
3. Slice them fairly thin, not to where they’re falling apart, but then not when they’re huge chunks.
4. Slice up a bit of onion, maybe a quarter of a small onion.
5. Lay a clove of garlic on the cutting board, lay your knife flat on it and smash it down with your hand. This makes it easier to get the skin off. Once you have it removed, cut the knobby end off and roughly mince it.
6. Add the sprouts, onions, salt and pepper to the oil and sautée until light brown.
7. When there’s around 3 minutes left in the cooking time, add the garlic.
8. Enjoy this delicious side dish!

There should be more simple recipes coming, and I might add some complex ones as well. Keep a look out!

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~ by jenniferlynnewilliams on September 17, 2010.

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