Intro: A Summer of [Collegiate Meals]
Disclaimer: This Instructable might make you hungry.
Collegiate meals trailblazer trebuchet03 has graduated college, thus rendering him incapable of making a collegiate meal--but not to fear, I am still nowhere near a degree and can therefore pick up the slack. Thus, a gallery of simple (that's the maximum level of cooking I can handle) meals with easy-to-find ingredients (that's the maximum level of ingredient-finding I can handle), many of which are reused again and again (don't want to waste food).
I spent the summer in an apartment with terrible lighting, which made my job more difficult, but somehow I managed to power through. I probably spent more time taking pictures than actually cooking, which should say something about the level of culinary talent required to produce these meals. But I think I also managed to make them look respectable. Well, you know what they say: Cooking is 99% presentation and 50% figuring out how to turn on the stove*.
*They may not actually say this. It's a disputed quote.
These are in chronological order, and they almost definitely improve as time goes on.
Step 1: Pineapple and Asparagus Chicken
PIneapple and asparagus probably shouldn't go together, but I was unfazed. And this dish actually turned out to be pretty tasty--the pineapple makes it sweet, but with not too many other powerful flavors it's not bad at all. Served on a bed of white rice I found in the fridge.
Ingredients: chicken, asparagus, pineapple, rice, salt/pepper.
This chicken was pre-cooked, but it is simple grilled chicken. I think it was bought at the store.
Making asparagus or broccoli is simple and delicious. I did it in most of these dishes. Bring a pot of water to boil and add salt. Put in the uncooked asparagus/broccoli and let it boil for about 10 minutes. Take it out when it's no longer hard--I like it particularly soft, but you can taste your way to perfection.
The pineapple was briefly grilled on a stovetop.
The rice was put in the microwave. For more on cooking rice in the microwave, see Hungry Person: Step 5.
Step 2: Breakfast of Winners
I feel like 'Breakfast of Champions' would be copyrighted.
This one includes scrambled eggs with cheese, grilled ham, and a toasted bagel.
Ingredients: 3 eggs, milk, sliced ham, bagel, margarine, cheese (pick your kind).
To make scrambled eggs, you can look here or follow these simple steps: crack three eggs in a bowl and add a few tablespoons of milk. Beat it. (Too soon? Sorry). Pour into a skillet. Wait until the eggs begin to change consistency, and then chop up the mushy mixture with your spatula. Keep doing this until they are almost firm. Then add the cheese until it's melted. Remove the eggs and then throw the ham on the hot skillet. (Just sliced store ham). Wait until it gets really noisy and then flip it. Don't burn yourself--I'm not liable.
Toast a bagel by taking a bagel and inserting it into a toaster or toaster oven. Apply margarine or butter substitute.
Throw salt and pepper (don't throw--carefully toss) on the eggs.
Serve with Orange Juice or equivalent beverage.
Step 3: Moons Over Your Hammy
Back when I used to dine occasionally at Denny's, they had this sandwich called Moons Over My Hammy. I feel like that's copyrighted, too, so this is my version. I didn't have ham this time, just corned beef, so I used that. Hey, these are college meals--you gotta make do with what you have.
Ingredients: 3 eggs, milk, corned beef, rye bread, salt, pepper, cheese (choose your weapon), butter substitute.
Make eggs again (see last step) but don't scramble so much so as to leave some coherence to the eggs.
Toast three pieces rye bread lightly. Butter them lightly.
Take the eggs off and put them on two slices of the bread. Put the corn beef (a few slices) on the hot egg skillet and wait until it starts making noise. Then put that on top of one of the egg-bread combinations. Stack them all together to make a double-decker sandwich.
This turned out to be very delicious, and would probably be equally so with ham instead of corned beef.
Step 4: Simpleton's Pasta
Cooking basic pasta is extremely easy, which is partially why it became a staple of my diet.
Ingredients: water, pasta, basil, salt, pepper.
Boil a pot of water.
Pour in some store-bought fettucini or linguine, and stir occasionally for 10 minutes or so.
Taste the pasta without burning yourself too much until you decide it is ready to be consumed.
Pour out the hot water and pasta into a colander without burning yourself too much.
Shake that colander like a polaroid picture.
Pour the waterless pasta back into the bowl, and add in some olive oil, chopped basil, salt and pepper. The one I made used too much olive oil, so don't do that. Another option is a butter sauce, which involves heating butter substitute and mixing that in.
Step 5: Hungry Person
Alternate title: Simpleton's meal.
Ingredients: store-bought can of corn; store-bought can of beans; package of sliced chicken breast.
Find a skillet and heat a small amount of olive oil in it. Small, or you will burn yourself. Put the raw chicken in there and watch it cook. Flip when you think it's ready, and keep an eye on it to make sure it gets cooked all the way through.
Heat the corn on the stove until it's not cold.
Heat the beans on the stove until they're not cold.
The chicken was, obviously, very bland--feel free to add your own blend of marinades/spices. But a hearty meal nonetheless.
Step 6: Kosher-style Sausage and Peppers Stir-Fry
This one also turned out well.
Ingredients: Hebrew National hot dog (they serve a higher authority), a green pepper, red pepper, white onion, rice.
Microwave-made rice, taught to me at Instructables HQ: Fill a medium-sized bowl 2/3 with rice. Fill it with water and rinse it through thoroughly twice. Then fill it again with water until the rice is covered and there is a knuckle-deep amount of water on top of the rice. Microwave for five to eight minutes. Take out the very, very, very hot bowl--don't sue me, I'm not liable--and see if your rice is cooked. Repeat until it is.
Find a skillet. Grill the onions and peppers in the skillet with a small amount of sesame oil. Do this until they start to brown, and then throw a chopped-up hot dog into the pan. Continue until everything has browned a little, then plate over the rice. Top it off with a drizzle of soy sauce (this is a stir fry, after all).
Step 7: Special Occasion Chicken With Pineapple Salsa
After watching the Geico commercial about mango salsa, I wanted to make some for my girlfriend, who was visiting. But then I couldn't find any mango, so I substituted some pineapple and experimented from there.
Ingredients: chicken breasts, pineapple, tomato, onion, broccoli, garlic powder, lime.
Chop the tomato, pineapple, and onion into a bowl. Squeeze half a lime over that. This is your salsa.
Chop off the bottom part of the broccoli, then cook the broccoli (see step 1 for instructions on how to do this easily). If you like the broccoli bottoms, feel free to integrate those somehow.
Pound a little garlic powder into the chicken. Grill the chicken in a skillet; flip every 5 minutes until cooked. Make sure you put a non stick coating on the pan, otherwise you'll have a hell of a cleanup like I did.
This went over very well, though again I need to find a way to make the chicken a little less bland. It's called Special Occasion Chicken because you can only use it on special occasions.
Step 8: Broccoli and Twirly Pasta
I was given free chicken for staying late at my summer job, and I took it home and ate it for the next few days. I wanted it to go with some pasta, so I made this gemelli (better known as twirly pasta) with broccoli.
Ingredients: Gemelli, Broccoli, basil, olive oil, balsamic vinaigrette.
Cook the pasta as mentioned in Step 4.
Chop the broccoli finely and cook it as described in Step 1.
After both are cooked and drained, combine them together in one of the pots. Pour in a small amount of olive oil and basil. To add some flavor, add some balsamic vinaigrette to play off the olive oil. This makes it less dry and less oliveoily.
The chicken was really good, too, but I don't know how that was made. I think it was a marsala.
Step 9: Tortel-lean on Me (First Generation)
The HQ stands for High Quality because I trekked down to Little Italy (I wanted to go to miniature Italy, but apparently that doesn't exist--so much for my dreams of a mini coliseum) to buy some nice uncooked pasta at this lovely establishment.
I only had marinara sauce on hand, so I used that. As I found out, tortellini works better with a thicker, creamier sauce, but if you like tomato sauce, this was still tasty.
Ingredients: Asparagus, tortellini, store-bought tomato sauce.
Cook the asparagus as detailed in the Step 1.
Cook the pasta as detailed in Step 4 (boil water, stir it occasionally until cooked as determined by your tasting, drain).
Put it on a plate.
Needless to say, this is certainly a simple meal. Collegiate, one might say.
Step 10: The Knights Who Say Fettuci-nee
I also bought some tomato-basil fettucini in Little Italy. So I cooked that the same way, and plated it as pictured.
It looks very red because the fettucini has tomato basil in it. I like both of those ingredients.
Step 11: Tort-ellini Reform (Second Generation)
Determined to get a cream sauce, I went to the store and bought a jar of alfredo sauce. Or if you are so inclined, you can believe in jessyratfink and make it yourself.
Ingredients: Tortellini (what I had left), Asparagus (what I had left), Alfredo sauce.
Cook the tortellini.
Chop up the asparagus into bits about a centimeter in length and then cook that.
Drain the tortellini and mix it all together.
This came out so incredibly delicious. A leftover meal from the gods. Other cream-based sauces would be great too.
Step 12: The Quasi-Ultimate Baked Potato
Working with my available resources to make a loaded-baked potato.
Ingredients: potato, broccoli, cheese (audience choice), Hebrew National hot dog.
The potato was made by my mother--she wrapped it in aluminum foil and stuck it in the oven for an undisclosed amount of time, possibly in the hour region.
Cook the broccoli on the stove as described in most steps.
Dice the hot dog and microwave it for one minute. This is the equivalent of chili. Or you could make real chili, as detailed on this site in many forms.
Melt half of your cheese on the baked potato in the microwave. Toss on the hot dog bits. Lay the rest of the cheese on top of that and microwave again. Then spread the broccoli on top, and serve.
The ingredients sound a little crude and nasty, but it was very tasty. Not too shabby, I'd say.
Step 13: Chef's Salad
I'm confused--isn't every salad a chef's salad? If you're cooking, you're a chef. If I learned anything from the movie Ratatouille, it's that. Or that it's great to have mice in your kitchen.
Ingredients: Romaine lettuce, baby spinach, tomato, yellow pepper, pepperjack cheese, onion, ham, balsamic vinaigrette.
Rip or chop the romaine into manageable pieces. Fill the bowl with that, adding a handful of baby spinach into the romaine.
Chop the tomato, a quarter of an onion, and a quarter of the pepper, and add those in.
Chop some squares of pepperjack cheese and add those in.
Chop some slices of ham and put those on top.
Drizzle a vinaigrette dressing on top.
Make sure all of your vegetables are washed before you use them.
Step 14: Tuna Salad for Winners
I was really in the mood for tuna, and I knew it was either go big or go home. Except that I'm already home, so I really only had one option.
Ingredients: two cans of chopped tunafish, mayonnaise, tomato, fresh basil, pepperjack cheese, balsamic vinaigrette
Drain the tunafish from the cans and put them in a bowl. Mix three scoops of mayonnaise in with the tuna. Chop some pepperjack cheese and mix that in as well.
Chop your tomato. Chop a large leaf of basil.
Put the tomatoes down first, then place your tuna on top of that bed. Smooth out the sides. Garnish with the basil on top and a ring of vinaigrette around the sides. The best way to make the ring is to use a spoon and swoop it smoothly around the outside of the plate.