Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Microwaving for One

This past week, my students commented upon how I am always eating, and it tends to be something reheated from previous meals. Every now and then a student will ask for a bite of whatever it is that I am eating, and I will oblige them. This has led them to believe that I am decent cook, so one day a student suggested that I write a book called "Microwave for One".
The only thing missing from this picture of the cover is a bunch of cats. 

Much to our surprise, we realized that this was an actual book that you can order from Amazon. Some of the reviews are hilarious:
Click on it for a larger image. Or just go read a bunch of them for yourself. 

Now, the title of the book is obviously cringe inducing, but highlights many of the problems faced by people who don't have time to cook, or who are cooking for only themselves. Spending time to cook for yourself can seem tedious, you can be stuck with leftovers for a while if you don't scale down the recipe, and for something like cooking, the fruits of your labor should be shared. 

So, in that vein of sharing what I cook and to appease the students who have asked me to post some of "my" recipes, here are some of the things that I cook. Most of these recipes come from my mom, or from various websites. 

Quick and Easy:

Slow cooker recipes:
I typically love my slow cooker. There are a ton of sites out there that recommend recipes, including this one. The beauty of a slow cooker is that you can throw stuff in in the morning when you wake up, and dinner is ready when you get home at night. 
From that website, they have a list of a bunch of recipes that you can prepare at once to get them all ready in an hour. You then put them into the freezer until you are ready to cook. They turned out ok. There are a ton of slow cooker recipes out there, get out and experiment. Here is a recipe for Kalua Pork that is solid. 

Baked potato- I cover them with a little olive oil and sea salt, bake for an hour at 350 degrees, then when they are done, cover with foil and stick in the fridge. I sometimes cook three or four of them on the weekend, and eat them like apples while I teach. I do the same thing with corn- drop the ears of corn into boiling water for 7 minutes, when they are done, let cool, wrap with aluminum foil, put in fridge. If you have never had corn this way, it is delicious.

For this recipe, it just calls for "hot sauce". I use sriracha, and I add it until it reaches the right amount of spicy. It tends to be a little bit of a surprise for people who are not expecting a little kick at the end. For this recipe, as recommended by my brother, I scale it up times 4, and then freeze it.

More time, still good.
This recipe has so much stuff in it that it barely fits into my largest pot. After cooking, I add cheese, sour cream, and corn bread. Ain't nothing wrong with that. 

I double the amount of ricotta cheese, add more onion, and instead of using just plain tomato sauce I typically use Newman's own sockarooni. 

Summer salad:
This is usually a mixture of a variety of tomatoes, beets, peppers, a soft cheese like feta, cilantro, olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Add a pinch of salt. You can also add a small amount of sliced red onion. 

If you think your hamburgers are good, you must try this recipe. A fair amount of work goes into these, but they are definitely worth it. I would honestly say that these are the best hamburgers I have ever eaten. I have never tried to find the dandelion greens that the recipe calls for, but it is still good without them.

This recipe actually comes out of the Klutz Cooking for Kids cookbook. My mom lends the secret to the brownies- only mix the batter until all of the lumps are gone, then stop. There is no need to continue to mix. Then, don't bake for 45 minutes. I typically pull them out at 35-40 min. Then, once cooled, eat one, and then let the rest sit in the fridge overnight, covered. The next day they will be dense and chewy.

I don't add nuts to this recipe- that is just my personal preference. 

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