A Riddle

What's quick and easy and is made with things a college student would have in their fridge?

...Give up? It's the recipe you are going to send me.

This week has been ridiculous, and it's only Wednesday. I'm juggling the most commitments I've ever had, between classes, lots of work, writing for the paper and ballet classes I don't have a lot of extra time on my hands. I hate that I can only blog about once a week now. It's hard to be motivated when you get home from being out for class/work for 12 hours and all you want to do is sleep. It's also tough when I find great recipes but have none of the ingredients to make it. I'm not made of money. My roommate and I grocery shop about once every other week, and we usually just end up buying Gushers and Lunchables. Our Stop N' Shop receipts are proof that our stress has caused severe regression.

This is where you come in. I'm sure you have those days too. What do you make on those lazy days that is still relatively nutritious and doesn't come from your freezer or a drive-thru window??

In case you were under a misconception, this blog is in no way all my own recipes. I'd say probably 90% are not mine. I get them from other blogs, the Food Network, friends and family. So please, I KNOW there's some recipe floating around in that brain of yours. I'm in need of inspiration!

Indian Fusion Hot Dogs

What is better than waking up late on Sunday afternoons, cuddling and watching the Food Network? Not much that I can think of at the moment. That is what I did a couple weeks ago. I was over my boyfriend's house, so it was a treat to get to watch cable! I was watching Aarti's Party, and she made this dish which looked really interesting to me. 

I'm not a big Indian food person. I had pretty much zero Indian spices in my cabinet, which prevented me from making this taste like anything Aarti made. But I still thought it was bangin'. Below is my abbreviated version, but if you happen to have tons of Indian spices on hand, here is the original recipe

1 tbsp oil 
1/2 large onion, diced
1 med tomato, diced
1 tbsp minced garlic
1/4 cup shredded carrots
1/2 tsp paprika
2 tbsp ketchup
1/2 tsp mustard (I used spicy mustard)
4 hot dogs, sliced
1 pita

(makes enough for 2)

Heat the oil in a medium-large pan over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, carrots and salt and pepper to taste. Cook for about 5 minutes. Then stir in the ketchup, mustard, tomatoes, and hot dogs. Add water if mixture is too dry. Cover and let simmer on med-low heat for 15 minutes. Slice pita in half and serve mixture in pitas. 

No Crisp Apple Crisp

Blog posts have been sparse for a couple of reasons. One, I don't have as much time to make meals at home because I'm either at class or work all day, and I hate posting recipes without any photos. Two, my internet is currently down. My roommate was on the phone with Comcast for 2 whole hours and she's pretty sure we're worse off than when we started. You can't do this to college students that don't know anything about internet and have homework to do! The phone call ended somewhere around the point when the person in India asked her, "ma'am, I cannot help you if you are using profanity." They deserved it, they really did.

Anyway, enough of my ranting. This recipe comes from the catacombs of my mind. I honestly don't remember what made me think of it, and I can only recall a piece of a memory of making it in my friend's kitchen when we were young. Maybe it was my kitchen; I don't know. My memory of this snack is pretty vague. I don't know if I came up with it, or who did. All I remember is being a preteen and this was about the only thing I would cook for myself. Well, I recreated it just in time for apple season and just in time for my desire for a late night snack.

2 small-medium apples
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp sugar
2 tsp butter

(makes enough for 1)

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Carve out the core of the apple, so you have what looks like an apple bowl. Combine cinnamon and sugar in a separate bowl .Drop half of butter into each hole, then add the cinnamon and sugar. These measurements aren't strict at all; basically just use however much you want. Bake for about 20 minutes, until the apples give way easily if you squeeze them.

This isn't the most intricate or exciting dessert. But you get the sweetness of the cinnamon and sugar and the healthiness of the apple. It's like a sloppy version of apple crisp minus the crispy part, hence my title. I wish I could somehow get the mixture to seep into the apple itself a little more. If anyone has any suggestions, let me know. Also, experiment with other ingredients too!

Tuna Noodle Casserole

Did you know? Everything I cook does not come out blog-worthy. Amazing, I know. Even though this one came out as somewhat as a dud, I still want to blog about it.

Today I was thinking, I really need a new recipe to blog about. I had been wanting to try tuna noodle casserole because it looked so good; I imagined the taste of my favorite Dining Common meal, Hungarian Noodle Bake.

This was literally the most disgusting experience I've ever had making food. I don't know why I thought it was a good idea to mix the scents of mushrooms, tuna and canned peas. I smelled like something died in my kitchen. Know what else I learned? Cream of mushroom soup is NOT soup. It comes out of the can like a solid. Imagine canned cranberry sauce but a little softer and smells like mushrooms. I hate mushrooms. I don't know why I thought this casserole was a good idea to try.

So it didn't come out as horrible as I thought it would. It was definitely edible. Maybe even good. No, it wasn't good. All I could think of while eating it was the word BLAND. It wasn't too fishy, it wasn't too mushroom-y. I can't figure out what else it needs. I learned what it definitely does not need: red pepper flakes. I thought, oh red pepper flakes are good on just about everything. Boy was I wrong. Imagine the taste of spicy tuna. Nasty. Garlic powder didn't do it either.

I've been thinking about it for a while now. I want to try Worcestershire sauce. Sounds disgusting also, I am aware. But Hungarian Noodle bake is quite similar to this except it doesn't have tuna instead it has cottage cheese and Worcestershire sauce. I'll have to see. Or maybe as the blogger commented, it just needs more cheese.

I think my biggest problem with this dish is that I got all excited about it when I read comments on recipes for it and everyone was saying things like, "ah just like my mom made it" and "best comfort food everrrrr". My problem is that my mom has never ever made this dish before, so it doesn't bring back memories of playing Candy Land or Sunday dinners with the family. It just tastes like a shitty version of fettuccine alfredo. But actually nothing like fettuccine alfredo, which is another thing I was comparing it to in my mind.

But maybe your mom did make this all the time and maybe it will make you so nostalgic that you call her up and tell her how much you miss her and wish you had her at your disposal to cook for you all the time. Then by all means, make tuna noodle casserole. It's another freakin' cheap meal. I'm not going to post the recipe though, because I didn't really make any changes to it at all, except I didn't have potato chips and I used more cheese. I also don't really know if posting my photo is necessary, since it looked exactly like every other tuna noodle casserole on the planet. This is the great website I found this not so great dish on.

EDIT: Nicole loved my tuna noodle casserole. Maybe there's nothing wrong with it. Maybe I just don't like tuna noodle casserole. I don't ever recall actually eating it before now.


I have found the answer to life's question.

Alright, maybe not. I still don't know why mosquito were created or why weekends are only 2 days long. But I do have a really simple secret to completely changing a peanut butter and jelly sandwich into something much more epic. And there is only one alteration you need to make. It's not even a different ingredient.

This magical element is a toaster.

Your PB&Js will never be the same. They will no longer taste like what your mom made you every single day for your entire elementary school career. They will be something more adult, more gourmet, more delicious.

And it's the same exact freakin' ingredients.

There's something elemental that changes about a PB&J when the bread is toasty and the peanut butter drools from the edges.

What's even better? Grilled PB&J. Slap some butter on your bread and turn your sandwich golden brown in a skillet. It's like a grilled cheese and a PB&J in one....minus the cheese.

Ever make a peanut butter fluff? Take this another step too and make a peanut butter and fluff and jelly sandwich. Add some banana slices if you want to get crazy. I have just reinvented the most basic American childhood meal of all time. Thank me later.

Breakfast Quesadillas

Every weekend morning is a dilemma, especially no longer living on campus where food is ready made for you all day long. Yesterday I found myself looking for a breakfast recipe with minimal effort that still tasted good because even the milk for cereal had gone bad. Then I found this recipe.

It was a great new way to use eggs and gave quesadillas a fun new twist. Plus it's so simple. And the perfect protein.

4 eggs
1/4 cup milk (optional)
1 whole tortilla
1/2 cup of shredded jack cheese (I used pepper jack)

This makes 1-2 servings, depending on how hungry you are.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Scramble the eggs in a bowl and add milk to make them fluffier. Cook the eggs. Put the cooked eggs on one half of the tortilla. Add salt and pepper to taste. Top with cheese and fold over the other half of the tortilla. Oil both sides of the tortilla and place on a baking sheet. Bake for about 10 minutes, until the tortilla begins to turn golden brown. Serve with salsa and sour cream. 

Twitter and Whatnot

No, I haven't forgotten about you. It's just been a hectic first week of classes and I haven't had much time to do any cooking. Hope none of you are getting too impatient!

On the flip side, I made a Twitter account for my blog! That way if you don't have a blogger account, you can easily follow what I'm doing and get other quick updates from me. I'll be honest, I've barely ever used Twitter before. To me it just seemed like a crappier version of Facebook...but I've learned that it can be an awesome tool for bloggers, so I'm giving it a try! Bear with me while I smooth out the bumps. You will find a handy dandy little link to my Twitter account right over there on the right hand of this post. -->
I'm also following some pretty cool bloggers, so be sure to check them out too.

I also wanted to say how much I love and appreciate everyone who reads this blog. It's taken off way better than I expected it to, and that's all because of your interest. With all my commitments to school and work it's harder for me to find time to blog, but I am in no way losing interest because I love that I can actually help people who are in the same boat as me; even people that I've never met before. Plus seeing a little notification that I have a comment few days makes me all tingly on the inside. :)

Keep on cooking!

Easy Mexican Rice

The school year has officially begun. Which means more campus food and meals on-the-go. Hopefully I will still find a sufficient amount of time to cook. Yesterday my roommate Nicole made a delicious meal that we've been eating for leftovers ever since. She got the recipe from our friend Amanda, who is also a fan of my blog. I'm hoping she'll give more great suggestions in the future.

1/2 onion, chopped
1 chili pepper, diced
1 tomato, diced
1 can of black beans
3 cups of white rice

(makes about 6 servings)

Sauté the onion in a pan over medium heat. When the onions are caramelized, stir in the chili pepper (take the seeds out if you don't want it to be super spicy; you can also use red pepper flakes if you don't have a chili pepper), tomato and black beans. Then add 2 cups of water and the white rice. Continue stirring and let simmer until the rice is fully cooked.

Today when Nicole prepared dinner for us (I love coming home to dinner already made for me! I told her she makes a good housewife.) she showed me how to make this meal even better. She said to add some pepper jack cheese, salsa, guacamole, and broken up tortilla chips. It was almost too delicious to be considered a real meal. But it's good for you; and cheap! Rice is ridiculously inexpensive. You can definitely just skip the toppings you don't have and still have a solid meal. I also think adding raisins would make it perfect, but Nicole has an aversion to raisins so I've yet to try it.

Splash of Heaven

Ever make fruit salad and a few weeks later after sitting in the back of your fridge you are left with a mushy mess? Well that's what happened to Nicole (my roommate!) and I. And from it came one of the best drinks we've ever had. Literally. It was THAT good. The fruit gives it a really fresh flavor. I can't really describe it to you. You just need to make it.

1/3 cup fruit salad (ours was strawberry, pineapple, cantaloupe, watermelon and orange)
2 shots (16oz) of Smirnoff Melon
splash of fruit juice (the juice that gathers at the bottom of your fruit salad)
splash of tonic water

Put the fruit in the bottom of your glass and add juice, vodka and tonic. Use the back of a spoon to squish the fruit as much as you can. Stir and add ice. For a weaker drink, add more tonic.

Cheese on Toast My Way

Yesterday I was listening to the lovely song Merry Happy by Kate Nash and started thinking about cheese on toast. I looked it up on Wiki, knowing it was a British tradition but knowing else about it. The Wiki page told me that there were many different ways of doing cheese on toast. I searched for some recipes but didn't come up with much that interested me. Then suddenly I remembered a meal I used to make myself all the time when I was younger. I don't know how I forgot about it; it's so good. I think I may have heard the recipe on Zoom once.

1 slice of bread (or 1 bagel, I normally do it on bagels when they are on hand)
1/2 sliced apple
enough cheddar cheese to cover the apples 
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon 

Lay the slices of apple on the bread. Cover them with cheese. Combine cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl and then sprinkle on top of the cheese. Toast in a toaster oven until the cheese is melted.

Egg Tomato Sauce on Toast

I had seen this recipe on multiple blogs. It didn't sound that exciting to me, but hey, all I needed was a couple eggs, some of the sauce from my fridge, and I was even lucky enough to have Italian bread donated by my parents. 

This meal didn't blow my mind the same way that Egg in a Tomato did. But it was still pretty good. And simple.

2 eggs
1 1/2 cups of tomato sauce
2 slices of bread

Heat the tomato sauce in a small saucepan. Go ahead and throw in some spices if it's just plain tomato sauce. (Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, basil, garlic powder, to name a few.) Then, drop two eggs into the sauce and make sure the heat is on low. Cover up the egg white with sauce so that you can only see the yolks. Cook for about 5 minutes, until the egg whites are no longer clear and runny but the yolks are still soft. Place on bread and enjoy!

When I made this recipe from memory after seeing it on an array of other blogs, I thought I'd be a little more creative. You know, give the people an inventive version. That's what I normally try to do, anyway. Well, my creativity kind of failed. I just added a couple extra spices to sauce that had already been spiced, and I made garlic bread by adding some butter and garlic powder to my toast. I would not recommend this. The first slice I ate I could mostly only taste garlic. And you know me, I'm obsessed with garlic. But this just was unpleasant. The second slice tasted more like I assume it's supposed to. I also added some Parmesan cheese, and this didn't do a whole lot for my taste buds either. For this meal, I'd suggest sticking to the recipe.