Thursday, February 21, 2013

Cooking in College- Quick Dinners

[If you missed the first Cooking in College post, check it out here]

I've been craving homemade pizza, and I really wanted to get around to trying a new recipe for crust (previous versions have failed horribly), but I have not. As I headed to Whole Foods after work last night, I thought that I'd go simple and pick up some ingredients to make an easy homemade pizza, like what I would have made in college.

I picked up some pizza dough, sauce, cheese and a bag of frozen peppers and onions.

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Basic Homemade Pizza

Ingredients

  • Pizza dough
  • Pizza sauce
  • Mozzarella cheese
  • Frozen veggies (defrosted, about 1 cup)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 500F
  2. Stretch dough into a rectangle the size of a baking sheet
  3. Place dough on a baking sheet and give the dough a head start in the oven for 4 minutes
  4. Remove dough and top pizza with sauce, veggies and cheese 
  5. Put your pizza back into the oven for 10 minutes
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His and hers pizza.

Here are a few other recipes for quick and easy dinners to get you started. I focused the recipes around a few different types of cuisine, but with basic ingredients that you can stock up on until you’re ready to use them- pasta, rice and frozen veggies are really versatile staples to keep on hand!

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BBQ Baked Chicken

Ingredients

  • Chicken breast
  • Flour (about 1 tablespoon per piece of chicken)
  • BBQ sauce

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400F
  2. Place chicken breasts in a baking dish and sprinkle with a light dusting of flour
  3. Pour BBQ sauce over chicken to cover the meat completely
  4. Cover dish with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes, remove foil, add a few tablespoons more sauce on top to cover each breast and bake another 15 minutes

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Quesadillas

Ingredients

  • Whole wheat tortilla
  • Cheese
  • Fillings (defrosted frozen vegetables, leftover chicken/steak/fish, black or refried beans)
  • Optional: Toppings (salsa, sour cream, guacamole)

Directions

  1. Assemble your tortillas and fill as desired
  2. Place tortilla in a nonstick pan over medium-high heat, when cheese has melted, flip and cook about another 30 seconds- 1 minute
Note: For a crispier tortilla, add cooking spray or oil into the pan before cooking. Also, feel free to make a plain cheese quesadilla (referred to by Brian as a ‘blank’ quesadilla) and make up for it with toppings. Smashed avocado + salsa = guacamole.

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Shrimp Pasta

Ingredients
  • Boxed pasta
  • Olive oil
  • Defrosted frozen shrimp
  • Frozen zucchini slices
  • Tomato, diced
  • Dried basil (optional, about 1 teaspoon)
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Salt/ pepper
Directions
  1. Cook pasta according to directions on box, drain
  2. In a sauté pan, add olive oil and heat, then add frozen zucchini and cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes until they’re defrosted and the edges start to crisp and turn brown
  3. Add shrimp to pan and cook about another 3-4 minutes until the shrimp are no longer translucent (this depends on how shrimp-y your shrimp are!)
  4. Turn off heat, add the diced tomato into the pan and sprinkle with some salt and pepper (and basil, if using).
  5. Toss pasta with additional olive oil (1 tablespoon per serving) and plate- top with shrimp and veggie mixture and enjoy with some parm

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Stir Fry

Ingredients

  • Brown rice (quick cook or regular, about ½ cup - measure before cooking - per serving)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Frozen stir fry veggie mix (you can find this in most stores- use about ½ bag per serving)
  • ¼ cups soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon honey

Directions

  1. Cook rice according to directions on box (General tip- use a 1:2 ratio of rice:water)
  2. In a sauté pan, heat olive oil and add veggie mix- cook about 6 minutes over medium-high heat until veggies are crisp.
  3. Mix together soy sauce and honey and add to the veggie mix
  4. Plate the rice and serve veggies on top
Optional: Add diced chicken, beef, shrimp or pressed tofu. Just dice it and add it to the sauté pan first, cook about 5 minutes before adding the veggies. A scrambled egg works, too. Add it in after the veggies have cooked 2 minutes and mix it all together like fried rice.

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