Recipes On A Budget
Published: Friday, October 5, 2012
Updated: Thursday, October 4, 2012 23:10
Sometimes the best way to save on food is to make your own. Here are some basic and inexpensive recipes you can use to feed yourself and wow your friends.
By Nikita Buley, Hoya Staff Writer
Rice is the perfect college food. It’s cheap, delicious, easy to make, easy to reheat and easy to add to a lot of other recipes. Eat it with eggs. Throw in some frozen vegetables for the last few minutes of cooking to instantly steam them and make your meal a little bit healthier. Or just douse it with butter, salt and pepper and go at it with a spoon.
While some people grow up eating this staple at practically every meal, cooking rice is an art and can be difficult for the uninitiated. Here’s a simple method to make deliciously fluffy and somehow creamy rice every time.
1 cup rice
2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1. Measure out the amount of rice you want into a big pot. The rice should fill — at most — only ¼ of the pot. One handful equals about one serving. (I like to make 2-3 servings at a time, since rice is so quick and easy to heat up later.)
2. Rinse the rice. Fill up the pot with warm water and rub rice between your hands under water. Refresh and repeat a few times.
3. Empty out the last batch of rinse water. Add clean water until it is as far above the rice as the rice is deep. (When you make rice, the ratio should be one part rice to two parts water. I usually eyeball it, but you can measure it out if that makes you more comfortable.)
4. Add salt. I usually put in about a half a teaspoon per serving.
5. Bring the rice to a full boil, then bring down to a simmer and cover with a lid. Cook until all water is gone and the rice is moist to taste. Add salt and pepper to taste.
By Sarah Kaplan, Hoya Staff Writer
All good things start with the rich, sweet smell of sauteed onions. If I’ve learned anything from being a vegetarian for more than three years, it is this.
Almost any cuisine can be made vegetarian, and almost any vegetarian dish can be as — if not more — satisfying as one with meat. But whatever you do, you’ll start with the onions.
From there, you can build the recipe in many different directions. In the mood for Mexican? Toss in garlic, diced bell peppers and carrots and a can each of corn, black beans and tomatoes. Add two tablespoons of cumin and a dash of cayenne pepper and you have chili. If Indian food is more your style, use mushrooms and a can of chickpeas instead of corn and beans, substitute curry powder for some of the cumin and add a can of coconut milk.
Lately, my go-to dinner has been a vaguely Thai twist on the above recipes, involving mushrooms, soy sauce and peanut butter. I won’t say it tastes just like Bangkok, but I’ve gotten more than a few jealous glances while eating it out of a Tupperware during my Culture and Politics seminar.
The tricks to these recipes and all vegetarian food are pretty simple. First, use beans. They’re super cheap and they’ll add heft to what is essentially a glorified salad. Second, spice liberally. Great spices can coerce even your least favorite vegetables into tasting amazing.
The last thing to remember is to have fun. The great thing about vegetarian cooking is that recipes are more general suggestions than hard and fast rules. The proportions are not too important, unlike in baking, and, because you’re not using meat, you’re not in any danger of accidentally poisoning your guests if you mess up. Feel free to experiment.
But whatever you do, don’t forget the onions.
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
2 large carrots, diced
½ cup mushrooms, coarsely chopped
½ eggplant, diced in ½-inch cubes
1 cup frozen peas
1 can cannellini beans
¼ cup soy sauce
¼ cup orange juice
1 tablespoon smooth peanut butter
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
Pinch of red pepper flakes
1. Sautee onion in about a tablespoon of olive oil in a large (I mean it — really large) saucepan over medium heat.
2. When the onions become translucent and begins to caramelize, add bell pepper, carrots, mushrooms and eggplant. Cook until eggplant begins to turn brown.
3. Pour soy sauce and orange juice into the pan. Add peas, beans, peanut butter, ginger and pepper flakes.
4. Allow the whole pan to simmer for about 10 to 15 minutes, until vegetables are cooked through and the sauce begins to thicken.
5. Serve hot over rice or noodles.
By Victoria Edel, Hoya Staff Writer
My family has a pretty steadfast Sunday tradition: We buy fresh bagels after Mass, watch football and my mom puts up a pot of sauce. When I came to Georgetown, I was amazed by the number of people who thought that quality tomato sauce could be bought in a jar. Making a delicious marinara is both easy and cheap. Take a page out of my mom’s book and make more than you need; You can always freeze the leftovers to use when you want a quick dinner. The expensive part of this meal is buying the olive oil and dried herbs, but both are one-time investments that will last you through hundreds of pots of sauce. During every other trip to Safeway, you’ll only need to replenish your supply of tomatoes and garlic.
Some people may put sugar, onions or other sacrileges into their sauce — I’m looking at you, Ina Garten. Those people are fools. You want to keep this as simple as possible.
Once you’ve made your marinara, it can serves as a base for about a million delicious things. Use it to make chicken or eggplant parmigiana. (For the unordained, that just means it has sauce and mozzarella on top.) Buy some fancy tortellini or ravioli and throw sauce over it — it’s basic enough that it won’t be overpowering but delicious enough to dress up an otherwise simple dish of pasta. Fry up some sausage, if that’s your thing, and throw them into the pot of sauce to cook — just make sure you cut down on the salt. Or, go the simple route and boil a pound of rigatoni — my childhood favorite — cover it all in sauce and add a dollop of ricotta.