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Old 10-22-2006, 04:39 AM   #21
Head Chef
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Spain
Posts: 1,167
Cheating vegetables

Cheating because the vegetable are bottled or canned. Melt a knob of butter in a frying pan until bubbling (but not browned), add some diced bacon or ham and sauté for a short while, longer if you need to cook bacon rather than just heat ham. Pour the drained vegetables on top and stir to coat with the butter and to mix in the bacon. Continue to cook until heated through. I love this with those tiny French petits pois you get in cans. Works well with green beans as well. If you have no bacon or ham, fry some very finely diced or pressed garlic in the butter for just a few seconds. Under no circumstances let the garlic brown. Garlic goes better with green beans than peas.

Julienne potato cake

Peel some potatoes and then slice into very fine matchsticks. Do not rinse the matchsticks. Generously butter the bottom and sides of a small, preferably non-stick frying pan. Randomly pile in a layer of the potatoes and season. Pile in another layer and season. Continue till you have no potatoes left. Cover the top of the pan tightly with silver (aluminium) foil and rest a plate or bowl on top to press the potatoes down onto the base of the pan. Cook over a gentle heat for 25 mins or so. To test to see if it's cooked, gently lift an edge of the foil and stab a few of the central sticks to see if they're soft. Replace the foil if not and continue to cook. When ready to serve, place a serving plate over the top of the pan and invert. You might need to give the pan a little shake, but what you should get is a round cake of potato matchsticks with a nicely browned crust on the top. I make this in an omelette pan that I use only for eggs and this potato cake.

And on the subject of omelettes, they make a great meal for one or two people. It's nigh-on impossible to make them for more people because you need to eat them the instant they're made. At the risk of raising a 'polèmica' as they say here in Spain (heated debate and controversy all in one), here's how I make them.

Only good butter will do to cook them in. Nothing else gives you quite the right finish in my experience. So, melt a generous knob of butter in your pan. While it's heating, combine two eggs, a tablespoon of milk and a little black pepper. You want to amalgamate the yolk and the white but not incorporate too much air. When the butter is fizzing in your pan (again, bubbling but not brown), swirl it to coat the base and partway up the sides of the pan. Put back on the flame to make sure it's good and hot and then pour in the eggs. As soon as you have a lightly set base (maybe only a couple of millimetres thick and still very runny on top), add your topping. I love finely grated cheese (emmenthal or gruyere) or even one of those processed slices of cheese that I reckon are disgusting except in omelettes, where they are redeemed! When you've added the topping, take a wooden spatula or other utensil suitable for a non-stick pan and draw back the set omelette from the side. Tip the pan to fill the gap you've created with runny mixture. Do this all around the edges of the pan. Once you've got no significant amount of runny mixture left, leave the omelette to cook to your liking. Personally, I like them slightly gooey rather than fully set. To serve, tip the pan slightly, fold part of the omelette onto the rest while still in the pan and then roll out of the pan onto your plate. (This gives you more of a stuffed pancake shape rather than a half moon, giving you more layers.)

By tipping the pan and filling the gap with mixture, you get a lovely rumpled effect with a mottled browned and yellow look. The omelette also comes out thick yet fluffy. I tend to use a surprisingly high heat once I'm ready to start to cook the omelette. I'm more cautious when leaving the butter to melt as browned butter makes for a horrible omelette. If you need to make another one straight away, wipe the pan out with kitchen paper and allow to cool slightly before adding more butter for the second omelette. If you have a good pan, it will keep the heat and before you know it you'll have burnt the butter.

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Old 10-22-2006, 06:11 AM   #22
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Join Date: May 2006
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Minerman, how about starting us off with an idea of what you like to eat -- what your mum cooked for you, what you order when you're out, that sort of thing.

Also, can we safely assume that most of the time you're cooking only for yourself? Do you have decent freezer space? Do you have a microwave?

I'm ready for this challenge as I'm sure many others are here. Stick around!

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Old 10-22-2006, 06:15 AM   #23
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Join Date: May 2006
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Oops, P.S.:

when you say not to suggest "spaghetti" you mean spaghetti with a bolognese (tomato and ground beef) sauce, right?
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Old 10-22-2006, 10:46 AM   #24
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Join Date: May 2006
Location: England
Posts: 2,039
I guess your quickish, easyies, cheapish and healthyish requirements are not so unique to students. Any one who works full time has similar issues!

As you say you are "meat and veg" type then may I suggest marinading chicken? I freeze chicken breasts in pairs (one for DH one for me.) I pull them out the night before I need them, marinade them and then grill (broil) in the evening and serve with mash or rice and veg. I often use yoghurt and a commercial dry rub, or a cheap sherry. Apple jucie also works well.
Then just serve with whatever veg is in season, steamed, over the potatos you are mashing. Minimum washing up, minimum cost and 20 minutes cooking time!

Chops are often affordable, and I love them grilled with a sauce, but there are several pan dishes with different sauces. The other thing is to stick with these meats and experiment by jazzing up your veg. I usually serve plain steamed veg with salmon fillets or marinated chicken mid week, but sausages or pork chops go great with spicey red cabbage, or cumin seeded white cabbage. Steamed parsnips and carrots masd together make a delicious change from mashed potatoes. You could saute or roast your potatoes for a change. Cubed par-boiled potato put in a pan with oil and garlic roasts very very quickly. Vegetables are the cheapest way to add changes of flavour and experimentation to your diet.

The other thing is to see what is reducedd and learn what to do with those piece of meat. boneless steaks of pork, veal, chicken or turkey are great winter or summer breaded and shallow fried served with steamed veg in winter or salad in summer.

I am imagining that it is things like above you want? Things you can do with afordable meat cuts easily to serve with veg? Please correct me if I am wrong! :)

other wise: stir fry is the king of student meals - Healthy and very quick and there is a different pasta sauce for every day of the year! I gave my husband instructions over the phone this week for a quick fresh tomato soup you could try...maximum ten minutes to make and very very healthy. He had his with artisan bread, but when I was a student it added a fresh and warming alternative to salad to drink with a piece of cheese on toast or welsh rarebit. I had a lot of welsh rarebit as a student!
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Old 10-22-2006, 10:51 AM   #25
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Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: East Central Kansas
Posts: 499
Here is one that you can do in less than 45 minutes if you like shrimp. Cook the pasta while the shrimp is marinating.

1 lb. raw shrimp
2 T. sambal oelek
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 green onions, finely sliced
1 T. ginger grated
2 T. soy sauce
1/4 cup EVOO
1/4 cup lime juice
1/4 cup cilantro chopped
Combine everything, pour into sealable plastic bag and marinate for 15 minutes to hour in fridge. Broil for about 2 minutes, don't over-cook or they will be tough. Toss with pasta, I used vermicelli and a little bit of EVOO.
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Old 10-22-2006, 01:56 PM   #26
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Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Lake Jackson, Texas
Posts: 119
Heres a few recipes.

Ravioli Casserole

1 lb. ground beef
1 small onion, chopped
1 jar Prego spaghetti sauce
1 large pkg. any cheese filled ravioli (fresh, frozen)
Mozzarella cheese
Parmesan cheese

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Brown meat and onion. Drain. Mix in sauce. Cook ravioli as directed on pkg. In a baking dish put a layer of meat sauce then layer ravioli and do this until everything is used. Cover with cheeses. Bake for about 15 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Mexican Cornbread

1 lb hamburger meat
1 box jiffy cornbread
1 can cream style corn
Picante sauce
Shredded cheese
1 can corn

Mix cornbread and cream style corn. Cook hamburger meat, drain, add picante sauce and corn. Pour meat into a baking dish, then add jalapenos, sprinkle cheese, then pour cornbread on top. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes.

Baked Ziti


2 lb. ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
1 jar (67 oz.) PregoŽ Fresh Mushroom Pasta Sauce (7 1/2 cups)
1 box (16 oz.) ziti (tube-shaped pasta), cooked and drained
3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese


COOK beef and onion in saucepot until browned. Pour off fat.
STIR in pasta sauce, ziti and 2 cups mozzarella cheese. Spoon into 2 (12 1/2x 8 1/2x 2") disposable foil pans. Top with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan.
BAKE at 350°F. for 30 min. or until hot.
TIP: To freeze, prepare ziti but do not bake. Cover with foil and freeze. Bake frozen ziti, uncovered, at 350°F. for 1 hr. or until hot. Or refrigerate 24 hr. to thaw. Bake thawed ziti, uncovered, at 350°F. for 45 min. or until hot.

Honey Nut Chicken

2 pounds chicken tenders
Salt and pepper
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 eggs
A splash milk
2 cups honey nut flavored cereal (recommended: Honey Nut Corn Flakes)
1 cup bread crumbs
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
1 tablespoon poultry seasoning
2 tablespoons grill seasoning (recommended: Montreal Seasoning)
1/4 cup vegetable oil, eyeball it

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Season chicken tenders with salt and pepper. Place flour in a large shallow dish. Coat chicken in flour. Beat eggs and milk in a shallow dish. Combine cereal, bread crumbs, paprika, poultry seasoning, grill seasoning and vegetable oil in food processor. Transfer breading to a shallow dish. Place a nonstick baking sheet near chicken breading station. In batches, take flour coated chicken and coat in eggs then in breading and place on nonstick cookie sheet. When all the chicken has been coated, transfer to oven and bake 15 minutes, until evenly brown and cooked through. Cool and serve. This chicken may be served hot or cold.


  • 1/4 cup margarine
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 can (10 3/4 oz.) condensed cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 can (10 3/4 oz.) condensed cream of chicken soup
  • 1 can (10 oz.) RO*TEL Diced Tomatoes & Green Chilies
  • 2 cups cubed cooked chicken
  • 12 corn tortillas, torn into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 cups (8 oz.) shredded cheddar cheese
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. In a large saucepan, cook pepper and onion in melted margarine until tender, about 5 minutes. Add soups, RO*TEL and chicken, stirring until well blended. In a 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking pan, alternately layer tortillas, soup mixture and cheese, repeating for three layers. Bake 40 minutes or until hot and bubbling. Serves 8.

Chicken Spaghetti

1 whole chicken or rotisserie chicken
1 cup onions, chopped
1 cup green pepper, chopped
1 cup celery chopped
˝ clove garlic chopped
1 can cream of mushroom
1 can cream of chicken
1 can rotel
˝ lb. Velveeta cheese, cubed
Spaghetti noodles

Boil chicken, debone. Sautee onions, green pepper, celery, and garlic in butter in a large pan. Add all soups, rotel, velveeta, and shredded chicken. Mix together. Boil noodles and add to soup mixture.

GROCERY LIST: What you spend half an hour writing, then forget to take with you to the store.
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Old 10-23-2006, 12:26 PM   #27
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Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Northeast Michigan
Posts: 4
Hey TJ, welcome to DC. To come up with a 5 day menu would mean you eating the same 5 things every week, yuk! Better yet why don't we give you a basis of WAYS to cook quickly, using basic principles for healthy(ish) preporations and let you get a little creative!
First off the #1 quick and healthy cooking item is the George Forman Grill or any brand simular. Plug it in, let it heat up, slap a steak, burger, filet of fish, chicken breast, pork chop etc. on it and inside of 20 minutes total you have a good tasting, fairly healthy meal.
While it's cooking whip together a salad(they have pretty decent salad mixes in bags now), pop some frozen veggies in the microwave and there you have a five day menu.
Get yourself a Fry-Daddy or any brand simular and fill it with evoo, pricy to do the first time but as long as you only use wet batters the oil will last a long time and the evoo is far better for you than a cheap veg. oil.
Minimum fry temp for non-greasy results is 375, and don't over load it or the temp drops to far and the items will absorb the oil.
Use a wet batter like Drakes and yes you can substitute the water with beer!
I'm sure the others here can help with more quick cooking tips to simplify your life and keep you out of the fast food joints in town! ~Chef Brian~
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Old 10-24-2006, 03:34 PM   #28
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Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: York, UK
Posts: 9
You can't go wrong with good old cotage pie
Make up your bolognese sause, as you would 4 spaghetti, throw in some cooked veg, mash some potatoes , layer the potatoes over the meat, put in oven on mediun heat until top is golden brown.
best comfort food in the world
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Old 10-24-2006, 03:46 PM   #29
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Location: NoVA, beyond the Beltway
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Bienvenue, miner. Get a can opener and go for it. This makes a ton of soup.

Taco Soup
Kool Aid - Think before you drink.
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Old 11-01-2006, 08:53 AM   #30
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Posts: 40

If you like Mexican food I can recommend the Cook Mexican video which explains in detail how to make easy and delicous Mexican foods and it's perfect for the beginner.

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