By Bryce Kelly ‘23
Portland, Seattle, Claremont, Santa Fe, San Diego, and Tucson. Those are just a few places where many of the people I know are spending the semester. Not because they live there, no, rather the opposite. “Classes are online, so we might as well take them wherever we want” has become a philosophy popular amongst 5C students. But with neither dining hall staff nor parents to prepare meals, many are quickly discovering just how limited their cooking skills are. The market for recipes has become lucrative and competitive. Lucky for you, I’ve decided to give away a few of my favorites for free. These are cheap, easy, and tasty ways to feed yourself and your friends when it’s your turn to cook.
First, I have a few valuable tips about cooking to share:
- Instead of having a bunch of knives, just keep one, really good knife you keep in solid condition and can use for everything. Same goes for skillets. It is worth the investment.
- Rice can supplement almost any meal. Learn how to wash and steam rice well and you’ll always have a key role when cooking with friends.
- Spices are cheap and can be used to make every dish interesting. Chili flakes are my go-to favorite. Tabasco sauce serves the same purpose.
- Get to know two or three dishes really well, especially if you are living with friends. Even if you don’t know much beyond those two or three, everyone will remember you as a great cook and you’ll be able to trade those recipes for more. Maybe these recipes will become your go-tos!
VEGETARIAN TACO BOWLS (Feeds 2 for days and 4 for fewer days)
A quick stew-like mix that is incredibly hearty comfort food. The ingredients cost less than $10, and it will feed you for a week. Don’t make unless you have tupperware, or you have a large pot/skillet to make it in.
2 bell peppers, diced
1 onion, diced
1 package riced cauliflower (1/2 head if you’re making it yourself, can be replaced with rice)
2 packets taco seasoning
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can corn, drained
1 can black beans, drained
Sauté the onion and bell peppers in a little bit of olive oil or whatever substitute. Add in riced cauliflower and continue to sauté. The cauliflower will release a little water, and you can use that to add the taco seasoning. Add tomatoes, corn, and black beans and simmer for about 10 minutes.
Add cheese, nachos, taco boats, chips, whatever more you’d like.
CUBE STEAK DINNER (Feeds 4)
No, this is not beef that comes in a cube. It’s actually an inexpensive, flavorful cut of meat that has been put through a tenderizer to make it juicy and melt-in-your-mouth good. It will take literally a handful of minutes to prepare and cook, but it is your duty to convince your housemates that it is an extremely difficult task. Some households might want to serve this dish with rice or bread if they have particularly large appetites.
2 Ibs. cube steak
2 bundles asparagus
Olive Oil (or substitute)
Rub the salt, pepper, and garlic power into each side of the steaks. Cover 2 skillets in olive oil or an appropriate substitute, and set the burners on high. Add as many steaks as you can to one skillet, and put the asparagus in the other. The steaks will take about 2 minutes per side, and the asparagus will take longer. Add salt and pepper to the asparagus as they cook. The asparagus will be finished when it begins to lose its rigidity.
I was once under the illusion that only beef, pork, and chicken could be cooked easily. This recipe fixed that misconception. Be free to enjoy the world of seafood.
1 Ib. uncooked shrimp (26-30 per pound), peeled and deveined
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons fresh minced parsley
Hot cooked pasta or rice
In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat; sauté shrimp for 3 minutes. Add garlic, lemon juice, cumin, and salt. Cook until the shrimp turn pink. Add parsley, stir it in, then serve over pasta.