Pure Pedantry

I can tell you from personal experience that being a med/grad student is not an environment that promotes healthy eating. Your schedule is all over bejesus and back, you’re poor, and your often stressed. Rising food prices have made eating out at some place healthy a non-starter. Let’s just say the easy fast food fix is very tempting.

NPR had a great story this morning about a Harvard medical student — Michelle Hauser — who is also a former chef. She has been teaching her classmates easy meals to cook that are also relatively healthy. This is important stuff for more than just student health. Doctors are role-models for things like this. If you can show that you can be busy and eat right, you are much more likely to inspire your patients to as well.

The story also has a suggestion that I always try to follow: cook for more than one meal at a time.

Bunch says that when people cook dinner, they should make enough for four meals — not just what’s going on the table that night.

He demonstrates how leftover veggies and chicken from one dinner can be transformed into a hearty soup for the next night by adding vegetable stock. Then Bunch makes a salad, served cold, by adding yogurt. Another plate is a drumstick with the vegetable mix on the side.

“So now I’ve got four meals with a simple preparation of grains, (which) I cooked in one pan,” he says.

Cooking healthy meals doesn’t require a wealth of exotic, fresh ingredients. Hauser’s salmon burgers, for example, were made from canned fish and frozen spinach.

Anyway, I though it would be fun to solicit recipes for the grad/med student on-the-go. My criterion for these is that they are uncomplicated, cheap, quick, relatively healthy, and that they make enough food to put in the fridge for a couple days’ lunches. We are looking for good grad student chow here. Below is one of mine to get you started.

Student’s Jambalaya

1 Box of Zatarain’s Jambalaya Mix (available in most supermarkets now)
1 Kielbasa
1 Tablespoon of Butter

As per directions, place contents of box in sauce pan. Add appropriate amount of water (about 2 cups I think). Add butter and chopped up kielbasa. Boil for 25 minutes. Allow rice to fluff for about 5 minutes.

For me this usually lasts at least 3 meals. Get some broccoli (steamed or raw) on the side, and spice to suit with tabasco.

Feel free to add you own in the comments. Enjoy.


  1. #1 ERV
    April 24, 2008

    Dude. This is my passion.

    Recent new favorite:
    1 box of Green Giant ‘Simply Steam’ broccoli and carrots ($1.25 minus 25 cent coupon)
    2 eggs scrambled in soy sauce (30 cents)
    1 cup jasmine rice (like, 10 cents from oriental store, probably just a little more at WalMart)
    little bit of soy sauce on zee rice, some garlic powder (negligible)

    2 meals of healthy-pseudo-stir-fry: ~$1.50.

  2. #2 Laura
    April 24, 2008

    I like quinoa for huge one-pot meals. Cook the quinoa in water or broth, add whatever’s in the pantry. My fave is southwestern: Cook quinoa in veggie or chicken broth. While it’s cooking, saute onions and bell pepper in oil, w/ salt and pepper. Add them to the cooking quinoa. Also add a Tbsp or so of chili powder, and a can of black beans. Yum!

    I mix this up with different types of canned beans, maybe some frozen spinach or fresh leafy greens, frozen peas or corn niblets — really, whatever you have!

    You can also cook quinoa in 1/2 milk, 1/2 water and add fruit, nuts and honey for a hot breakfast cereal that is AWESOME.

    I sing its praises because in addition to being quick, easy, and tasty, quinoa is a complete protein, so this meal provides lots of nutrients and is great for vegetarians (or people who don’t want to spend the money on meat!).

  3. #3 Julie Stahlhut
    April 24, 2008

    One of my favorite quick main dishes (although it doesn’t make a large quantity):

    One can of minced or chopped clams, with juice
    One clove garlic
    Olive (or other) oil
    Your favorite pasta

    Smash or crush the garlic and cook it very gently in a little oil until it just goes limp. Dump in everything else (seasonings to taste.) Heat it up, and pour over cooked spaghetti, linguine, or any other kind of pasta you like.

    I also like to saute a little chopped onion and/or mushrooms in the oil before putting the clams in, but that’s just me. Also, if you’re not a fresh-garlic fiend, garlic powder works. And you can start the pasta boiling and then make the sauce — it’s really quick.

  4. #4 PalMD
    April 24, 2008

    OK, cook some pasta, preferably a spaghetti or linguine.

    Heat up some olive oil in a pan.

    Add one tin of chopped anchoives and stir until dissolved. Then add about 4 cloves of garlic chopped into large pieces—they should have texture and weight to them. Brown the garlic. At this step you can add red pepper flakes if you wish.

    Steam some broccoli, plate a small serving of pasta under a large serving of broccoli, and poor the oil over it.


  5. #5 Michele
    April 24, 2008

    I always find roasting a whole chicken is economical. You can always use the leftovers for sandwiches, adding to a salad, pasta, soup, etc.

  6. #6 Karen
    April 24, 2008

    Semi-convenience food: a big pot of soup! A high-sided frying pan (~ 5 quarts), colloquially called a “chicken fryer”, lets you cook everything in the same pot. Otherwise, you’ll need a frying pan and a soup pot.

    1.25 lbs lean ground turkey (not turkey breast) $3.30
    1 onion, peeled and coarsely chopped $0.75

    1 ~15 oz. can diced tomatoes $2.00
    1 quart beef broth $3.30
    2 tbsp. chili power (more for a zestier soup)
    1/2 tsp ground cumin
    1/2 tsp dried cilantro flakes
    1 tsp garlic and herb seasoning (I like Mrs. Dash brand)
    (figure $0.50 or less for herbs)
    1 ~15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed $1.25
    ~ 1.5 lbs. frozen mixed veggies $3.00

    Crumble the turkey into a hot frying pan, and brown until cooked through. Drain in a collander/strainer over paper towels. If you are using a nonstick pan, scrape excess liquid/grease from the pan, but don’t wipe it. Brown the onion in the little bit of turkey grease remaining in the pan, until translucent.

    To a soup pot (or in your frying pan, if it’s big enough) mix turkey, onion, tomatoes, beef broth, and seasonings. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer 20 minutes. Add beans and frozen veggies; bring back to a boil, cover, and simmer 10 minutes. 8+ servings. Like many soups, it tastes better the next day and even better after 2 days.

    Total time: about 40 minutes. Total cost $14.30. 40/8 = 5 minutes per serving (plus reheating time); 14.30/8 = 1.79 per serving. I’m also using Safeway west coast prices, and there are certainly cheaper stores. I suspect you could make this for less than 1.50 per serving. If you can’t stand to eat the same soup for a whole week, it freezes pretty well, too.

  7. #7 gfb1
    April 24, 2008

    just for the record…. zatarain’s jambalaya isn’t all that healthy (see the C+ grade here).

    the last recipe looked ok, but, let me help you out a bit.
    fry the onion first, in a little bit of oil, with some garlic, crushed red pepper, salt and pepper. if you do it the other way around — the ground meat will have less taste.

    i also like to saute the chili powder or it has a ‘raw’ taste (and use REAL ancho chili’s — since commercial chili powder often has salt, garlic powder, and, even flour (bad for the celiacs in the crowd)). also put a few tblspns of worcestershire sauce for a bit more n’awhlins flavah.

    oh yeah, frozen veggies?? not really cheaper .. buy some fresh veggies in season and on sale. the soup/chili will have more variety and keep your interest through the seasons (as well as having a tad more nutritive value while avoiding any added salt/preservatives/flowing agents found in frozen foods…)

    i’m a bit behind in recipe entries.. but, permit me to toot my horn.

  8. #8 chezjake
    April 24, 2008

    This one is variable — you can use either boneless chicken, ham, ground beef, or any smoked sausage. The recipe shows when to add each one. It’s a one pot meal if you have a skillet with a tight fitting lid. Make it “southwestern” by seasoning with chili powder and cumin. Make it Cajun by seasoning with black pepper, thyme, and as much cayenne as you want for heat.

    1 lb. meat of your choice (chicken or ham chopped in 1/2 to 3/4″ cubes, sausage sliced into coins)
    1 medium to large onion, chopped
    1 green bell pepper, chopped
    2 stalks celery, sliced thin
    2 cloves garlic, chopped fine
    1 can black beans, drained
    1 package frozen corn
    1 1/2 cups rice
    3 cups stock to go with your chosen meat (a mix of beef and chicken stock goes well with ham or sausage)
    2 tbs cooking oil

    If using ground beef, brown it and drain off the fat first.

    Then: Heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat, if using uncooked chicken, add it to the skillet along with the chopped onions, green pepper, and celery. Cook and stir just until the onion is translucent, then add the garlic (and ground beef, ham, or sausage if using them) and your choice of the seasonings mentioned above. (More black pepper is always good, I think. Do not add salt until the dish is finished.) Cook for just 1 minute more, then add the corn and drained beans, and give everything a good stir before adding the rice and stock. As soon as the stock boils, cover the skillet and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook covered for 25 minutes. Then stir and serve. This should make at least 4 generous servings.

  9. #9 vetarabbit
    April 24, 2008

    Every Monday we do a pot of chili. This recipie feeds 2 scientists for 2-3 meals, and takes almost exactly the same time to make (about 30 minutes)if you double or triple it. It turns out nice and spicy, and costs about $1 per serving.

    Sautee 1 regular or 1/2 giant yellow onion in olive oil with a buttload of dried cumin, and 1-3 assorted dried peppers or use chili powder and cayenne for more midwestern palates until the onions are soft.Dump the onions in a soup pot.

    If you’re an omnivore, brown 1lb lean ground beef (or pork or turkey) drain it, and put that in the soup pot too. If you’re a vegetarian, add an extra can of beans at the end.

    Pour in 1 16oz can of tomato sauce, or the equivalent amount of pureed fresh tomatoes. Add 2 Tbs tomato paste for extra tomato flavor. Add 2-6 cloves of pressed or chopped garlic, and 1-2 chopped fresh jalepenos.

    Cook over medium or medium high until the chili starts to boil. When it boils, add a can of rinsed black beans and reduce the heat to medium or low.

    The chili is ready 10 minutes after you add the beans, but could cook for another hour or 2 if your spouse’s class runs late or you want to finish your reading. You could also make it in the crock pot if you cook the meat in advance. Just put in the cooked meat, raw onion and peppers, tomato sauce and spices in the morning, cook it on low all day, and add the beans when you get home.

    I serve it with sharp cheddar, sour cream, and corn bread, tortillas, or chips (which all make it less healthy and less cheap but more tasty)

  10. #10 chezjake
    April 24, 2008

    Creole Sauce — has a multitude of uses (see notes at end of recipe), is not very expensive, is quite easy to make, and can be frozen in various portion sizes in ziplock bags with the air squeezed out.

    This recipe will make a big batch – about 2 quarts. The sauce is best made a day in advance and refrigerated overnight to let flavors blend. Reheat just before serving.

    2 tbsp. unsalted butter
    1 tbsp. olive oil
    1/2 lb smoked ham, cut in 1/4” dice (optional, but authentic)
    2 very large onions, chopped in 1/2’ dice
    2 sweet green peppers, cored, seeded, chopped in 1/2’ dice
    1 sweet red pepper, cored, seeded, chopped in 1/2’ dice
    2 or 3 stalks celery, sliced 1/4” thick. (save leaves for later in recipe)
    4 to 6 large cloves garlic, peeled and minced fine
    1 6 oz. can tomato paste
    1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
    1 cup strong chicken or veggie broth or fish stock
    2 bay leaves
    2 tsp. dried thyme leaves
    1 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
    1/2 to 1 tsp. ground red (cayenne) pepper (use cautiously, you can always add more later)
    1 tsp. salt
    Use green onions (scallions) chopped with celery leaves to garnish when served.

    In a large heavy bottomed non-aluminum sauce pot or Dutch oven, heat oil and butter over medium-high heat until bubbles subside, add ham, onions, peppers, and celery and sauté until onions are translucent but not browned. Add garlic, thyme, bay leaves, black and red pepper and sauté 1 minute more. Add tomato paste and salt and sauté 3 minutes more. Add crushed tomatoes and stock, bring to boil, stirring, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. If too thick, thin with extra stock. Taste for salt and hot pepper, adjusting as needed.

    Over rice, pasta, polenta, or corn bread with or without added chopped leftover cooked meat, fish, or poultry.
    You may also add your choice of precooked sliced sausages, with or without sautéed mushrooms.
    As a sauce for grilled, sautéed, or broiled fish, chicken, or pork.
    As a sauce for sautéed, steamed, or boiled shrimp, scallops, or other shellfish.
    As a sauce for steamed cauliflower.
    As an alternative to Italian style tomato sauce for pizza.
    Heat a few spoonfuls in the microwave to top a cheese or mushroom omelet or scrambled eggs.
    Dilute with more stock and add fresh or frozen corn for a good soup.
    Dilute with fish or seafood stock and add your choice of fish and/or seafood for a Creole Bouillabaise.

  11. #11 pxcampbell
    April 24, 2008

    This may seem a bit of work, but you can make lots of it – it keeps really well. Store the sauce separately and add it to the chicken when you microwave it to warm it up.


    3 lb skinned, boned chicken – cut into very thin 2” x 1-1/2” slices

    salt – 1 tsp
    rice wine or dry sherry – 4 tsp
    soy sauce – 2 tsp
    egg yolk – 2
    pepper – ¼ tsp

    8 cups oil for deep-frying

    Lemon Sauce:
    sugar- ½ c
    chicken broth – ½ c
    water – 4 tbs
    salt – 1 tsp
    cornstarch – 4 tsp
    sesame oil – 2 tsp
    lemon juice – ½ c

    cornstarch – 12 tbs
    flour – 4 tbs

    vegetable oil – 2 tbs

    1 sliced lemon for garnish

    Combine marinade ingredients in a bowl. Add chicken; mix well. Let stand 15 minutes.

    Combine ingredients for lemon sauce in small bowl; mix well and set aside.

    Mix 12 tablespoons cornstarch and 4 tablespoons for flour together in a medium bowl. Dip chicken in flour mixture to coat. (Depending on how much chicken you start out with, you might need more cornstarch/flour at a 3:1 ratio.)

    Heat 8 cups of oil in work over medium heat to 350°F. Reduce heat to low. Carefully lower flour-coated chicken into hot oil with a slotted metal spoon. Deep-fry about 30 seconds until light golden brown. Remove chicken with slotted spoon; drain well over wok. Arrange chicken on platter.

    Remove oil from wok, except for 2 teaspoons. Heat oil remaining in wok over medium heat. Stir Lemon Sauce into hot oil. Bring to a boil. When sauce thickens slightly, add 2 tablespoons oil to make glossy. Stir sauce and pour over chicken.

    Serve with white rice.

    (From: Chinese Cookery by Rose Cheng and Michele Morris)

  12. #12 agnostic
    April 24, 2008

    This is rich-tasting, not for wimps.

    Tuna, tomato, and cheese sandwich

    Canned tuna in water
    Olive oil
    Vine tomatoes

    I left it vague so you can adapt it to your budget and tastes. But if you buy processed cheese, try to get muenster (if your budget allows some indulgence, get manchego or murcia curado).

    The sandwiches are open-faced — one piece of bread per sandwich. If you really need carbs, or you have to carry them around, you can put an extra slice on top to close it off.

    Toast the bread if it’s sliced. If it’s a baguette or something, just slice it into sandwich pieces but don’t toast it.

    Cut a tomato in half and squeeze out the juice over the bread, rubbing it in too. Leave the flesh part on the side.

    Drain the water from the tuna pretty thoroughly, and pour enough olive oil into the tin to give the tuna a more solid consistency. Put the tuna onto the bread.

    Rip or cut up the flesh parts of the tomato and place them on top of the tuna.

    Place the cheese on top, putting it under the broiler of your toaster oven to melt it. Or leave it unmelted.

    Sprinkle pepper on top.

    Mmmm. When I had limited funds in Barcelona, I ate two of these for lunch and dinner. Lots of protein from the tuna, omega-3 from tuna and olive oil, more protein and calories from cheese, energy from the bread.

    Maybe I got mercury poisoning from eating so much tuna then, but a little nuttiness never hurt anyone. I don’t think canned salmon has that much mercury. Or you could just have these once or twice a week.

  13. #13 Emily
    April 24, 2008

    I’m a student vegan, so this is becoming really tough for me. I’m also from Texas, so I can’t call this recipe “Chili” because it would be a disgrace to the sacred all-meat stew of my native country. Don’t let the “veganism” of this recipe turn you off, either- it’s really filling.

    Quick Not-Chili:

    Two cans of beans (Black and Kidney, Drain)
    One can of Corn (Drained)
    One can of stewed/crushed/diced tomatoes
    One packet of chili seasoning
    Onions, Peppers, Mushrooms- whatever you have around, if anything.

    If you have onions, peppers or mushrooms lying around, in whatever quantity (leftovers from another dinner for me, usually) dice and sautee in your chili pot in some canola oil. Then pour in the beans, corn, tomatoes and seasoning. Add water or favorite broth to cover contents. Stir and simmer.

    Quantity: 4-6 meals
    Cost: No more than $4 for basic ingredients.

  14. #14 Tlazolteotl
    April 25, 2008

    Here’s a vegan one:

    You can make your own polenta very cheaply, and top it with whatever you want.

    2/3 cup corn meal (you can get it in the bulk bin for cheap!)
    2 cups water
    dash of salt

    Mix together in a covered glass dish. Microwave on high for 3 minutes, 4 times, stirring in between. I got this from Cooking Light, and its easy as can be. This makes 1 large or 2 moderate servings, and is very scalable.

    Some good toppings:

    1. savory green lentils

    1 small onion, chopped
    1 cup green (French) lentils
    1 can diced tomatoes
    1/2 cup red wine
    1/2-1 cup vegetable bullion (Better Than Bullion brand if you can find it; it’s in a jar that keeps for months in the fridge.)
    1 tsp thyme
    pepper to taste

    Soften onion in a little olive oil; add remaining ingredients, cover, heat just to bubbling. Reduce heat and simmer until lentils are soft. Add water if needed, or remove cover to evaporate extra liquid. Adjust seasoning. Enough for 3-4 servings.

    2. Mediterranean veggies
    1 zucchini, end trimmed, cut in half lengthwise, and sliced
    5-6 sundried tomatoes in oil, chopped
    fresh spinach
    pine nuts

    Saute zucchini and sundried tomatoes in a little of the oil used to pack the tomatoes. When the zucchini is soft, add the spinach and wilt it, then toss in a handful of pine nuts. Enough for 1-2 servings, scale up if desired.

    3. Mexican spiced black beans
    1 small onion, chopped
    1 can black beans
    1/2 tsp cumin
    1 or 2 roma tomatoes chopped (optional)
    chopped cilantro (optional)
    sliced avocado (optional)

    Soften the onion in some olive oil. Add the black beans and cumin. Add the tomatoes if you want. Heat through. Can be served over polenta topped with cilantro and avocado. Makes 1-2 servings, scale up as desired. You can also add some red pepper with the cumin if you want it spicy.

  15. #15 Pat
    April 25, 2008

    For breakfast cook in a frying pan:
    EVOO or EVOO/butter mixture
    veggies like mushrooms, peppers whatever is left over
    Eat 1/2 and then wrap the other half in a multigrain tortilla and eat it for lunch.
    This gets you veggies every morning.

    Every weekend I roast a couple trays of veggies, then add them to whatever other meals I eat during the week. They’re also good in the above egg recipe.

  16. #16 Brian
    April 25, 2008


    God, I hate what Rachel Ray has done to our society.

  17. #17 Lenora
    April 25, 2008

    http://www.recipefinder.nal.udsa.gov has about one hundred recipes developed for people living on food stamps. The recipes are actually easy, nutritious and cheap. I use the slow cooker lentil one alot.

  18. #18 Mary
    April 25, 2008

    Mary’s cheatin’ chana masala: (cheatin’ because it saves a bunch of steps on the sauce)

    1 small jar salsa (hotness to your taste)
    1 can chick peas
    some salt
    1 pan to heat them together

    Heat them together for a while until the chickpeas are cooked and soft. Add the Chana masala spice powder from the Indian grocery store (comes in a box called chana masala). Add to taste. Heat a little more. You are done.

    Goes great with some basmati or some naan. (Actually, I would recommend a rice cooker here–very quick and perfect rice every time. Get one with a steamer basket so you can steam veggies or dumplings sometimes too. Also quick.)

    Of course, when you have time, fresh tomatoes and all the other ingredients are better. But fast and pretty healthy the cheatin’ way.

  19. #19 Ted
    April 25, 2008

    Whenever you do get enough energy to shop then stock up on some stuff that’s easy to make so that when you come home it’s around. Good stuff to have in the cupboard: brown rice, pasta, a couple of cartons of low sodium chicken broth (I like the Imagine brand myself), a couple of cartons of parmalat chopped tomatoes, cans of sardines if you like them, olive oil, Progresso Lentil Soup, whatever kind of beans you like – Red, white, butter beans, spices that you like – marjoram, basil, cayenne pepper, cumin, curry powder, black pepper, cilantro go a long way for me. Keep garlic and a few onions around it takes a long time for them to go bad. Have a couple of lemons too. Have some good grated parmesan in the fridge.

    Here are some quick easy recipes:
    1 onion
    1 or 2 ribs celery finely chopped
    some herb that you like
    Chop & sautee these until they’re soft (five-ten minutes, don’t keep the flame too high)
    add some baby spinach stir until it wilts (a minute or two)
    add a can of progresso lentil soup (low sodium if possible)
    simmer these together for about 15 minutes.
    Make a full package of pasta that you like while it simmers
    when it’s cooked mix them together, add some nice olive oil and some worcestershire sauce, some parmesan cheese. This makes numerous hearty meals. It’s good cold and hot.
    chop two bunches of scallions
    sautee them on a low heat with olive oil, marjoram, and basil, cover them as they cook, make sure they’re really soft (maybe ten minutes), if you have it add a glug of red wine
    add a carton of parmalat chopped tomoatoes
    bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for 20 minutes
    cook linguini, spaghetti, spaghettini, fresh tortellini or ravioli of the refrigerated pasta variety (I always cook the whole thing, then there are leftovers)
    eat it w/ the sauce and some parmesan cheese
    if you like sardines:
    make a hefts serving of angel hair or spaghettini
    dump a can of sardines in olive oil on top
    add the juice of half a lemon and an xtra glug of olive oil
    add some grated parmesan and pepper, mix and eat
    chop two bunches of scallions (this works better in a large sautee pan than a sauce pan)
    sautee them w/ olive oil and marjoram until soft
    finely chop a carrot or two, add those and cook until they’re not crunchy anymore
    if you like, a small slices zucchini work well in this too but not necessary
    add a can of northern white beans
    stir it around
    add some chicken broth, say 1 1/2 cups (low sodium preferable)
    simmer covered for a while till the whole mess thickens
    chop a handfull of fresh flat leaf parsley & add it at the end, cooking just a minute or two more till it wilts, then turn off the heat.
    This is good on pasta, it’s good on rice, it’s great on chicken breasts or fish.
    Before you eat whatever it’s on top of – squirt some lemon juice on it. Parmesan works well w/ it too.
    Buy pre-flattened pre boned chicken breasts, called cutlettes by some
    put some wax paper down on the counter
    dump a couple of tables spoons of flour, add some powdered cumin and cayenne pepper, mix w/ your fingers
    heat a frying pan on med heat w/ some olive oil in it till it shimmers
    coat the chicken w/ the flour mixture – no liquid is necessary
    cook them about 4 minutes on each side, cut into them and make sure they’re not pink
    sit them on a plate
    either eat them plain w/ lime juice
    top them w/ some good salsa
    add that scallion, carrot, white bean mess mentioned above on them, or
    chop two bunches of scallions
    sautee in the olive oil w/ heat lowered a bit, until soft but still green – 5 minutes
    chop a full bunch of flat leaf parsley
    stir that in, cook a minute or two till soft
    add a 1/2 cup of chicken broth and a splash of white wine if you have it, raise the heat a bit and scrape your pan getting off all the brown bits, boil a minute or two, and add the juice of half a lemon. You’re done. Eat up.

  20. #20 HP
    April 25, 2008

    1 cup of long-grain brown rice
    1 can of kidney beans (or black beans or whatever you like)
    1 can of diced tomatoes*
    1 tomato-can full of water
    Hot sauce to taste

    * You can substitute salsa for the canned tomatoes, but it costs more, and you pick up more sodium and preservatives.

    Dump everything in a saucepan. Stir and bring to a boil. Cover it and turn down the heat. Go study for an hour. Eat as much as you want, and then eat the rest later.

    I lived on this for a couple semesters, and my health actually improved.

  21. #21 Liz
    April 25, 2008

    This is one of my staple bring-for-lunch dishes – I cook it on the weekend, and it make about six lunches. I buy a large cabbage, chop the whole thing, and freeze half of it, to save prep time for the next batch. The spices are a bit of an investment if you don’t have them on hand, but I think it’s worth it.

    Tunisian Vegetable Stew, from The Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home
    1 onion, diced
    2 tablespoons olive oil
    half of a large cabbage, chopped
    1 large green bell pepper, diced
    2 teaspoons ground coriander
    1/2 teaspoon turmeric
    1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or to taste)
    2 (16-oz) cans tomato, chopped and undrained
    1 (16-oz) can chickpeas, drained
    1/3 cup currant or raisins
    1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

    In a large skillet, heat the olive oil and saute the onions for 5 minutes or until softened. Add the cabbage and salt to taste; saute at least 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add in the bell pepper, coriander, turmeric, cinnamon, and cayenne; stir and saute for 1 minute or so. Add in the tomatoes, chick peas, and currants/raisins; stir to combine and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes or until vegetables are just tender. Add lemon juice and salt to taste; stir. Serve over brown rice.

  22. #22 blue
    April 25, 2008

    Easy Chicken Tortilla Soup (not authentic)

    I like this one because it tastes good, makes a lot of soup, and is easy. It can also be easily made vegetarian by substituting vegetable broth and omitting the chicken. I’ve used beans, instead.

    1 tbsp olive oil
    1 large onion, chopped
    1 green bell pepper, chopped
    1 habenero pepper, chopped (use 2 if you want it extra spicy; use gloves!)
    1 small can diced chilis
    2 small cans (or 2 cups) spicy V8
    1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
    2 cups chicken broth
    2 cups beef broth
    2 cups water
    2 tbsps Heinz 57 sauce
    2 tbsps chili powder
    1 tsp ground cumin
    1 lb or so chicken breast (cut up)
    3 handfuls of tortilla chips
    1 med can corn (or about 1 1/2 cups)
    cilantro (optional)
    sour cream or yoghurt (optional)

    Heat the oil in a large soup pot. Fry the onions, bell pepper, habenero, and diced chilis until soft. Add the broth, water, tomatoes, V8, spices, Heinz 57. Heat until simmering. Add the chicken. Then break up and add about 3 handfuls of tortilla chips. Simmer for about 45 minutes.

    Add the corn. Add more chips if you like. Serve with chopped cilantro and sour cream or yoghurt. Makes enough for two people to eat for at least 3 nights.

  23. #23 Janne
    April 25, 2008

    Meatballs and Mashed Potatoes, Swedish Microwave style – can be done in any lab or study hall with a microwave:

    * Frozen premade meatballs (very cheap in any supermarket), 8-10 or so. Can be unfrozen and brought to the lab beforehand.

    * Mash Potato powder (again, cheap and keeps forever)

    Put the meatballs and about 2dl water in a bowl. Nuke for 3-4 minutes until thouroughly hot. Whisk in Mash Potato powder with a fork. Add ketchup to taste. Eat.

    It takes five minutes, and you’re left with a bowl and a fork as the only washing up needed.

  24. #24 fusilier
    April 25, 2008

    See if you can find an old (as in 1975) copy of John Brown’s “The Foodstamp Gourmet.) He’s very detailed in what utensils you need, what the preparation time is, and the actual cooking time. Illustrations by R. Crumb and Gilbert Sheldon

    We always liked Stuffed Cabbage Mercedes Benz, piperade, and cassoulet.

    James 2:24

  25. #25 klgregonis
    April 25, 2008

    This recipe freezes well.

    Can of spinach
    Can of garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
    clove or two of garlic, to taste.
    can of diced tomatoes (optional)
    tuna or chicken, canned or leftover (optional)
    Your favorite curry powder or curry spices, about 2 tsps. You may need more spices if you add the optional meat and tomatoes.
    Your favorite vegetable oil (t tbsps)
    salt and pepper to taste.

    Chop and saute the onions and garlic until soft and brown (be careful not to burn the garlic. Add the spices and saute for about 30 seconds, then add the spinach, saute until some of the moisture evaporates. Add the chickpeas, garbanzo beans, tomatoes and meat, stir, and cook till heated through.

    Serve over rice or couscous.

    You can use other beans or greens with this as well, or substitute frozen spinach, cauliflower, add potatoes or green peas, etc.

  26. #26 coblogger kate
    April 25, 2008

    jake, you’ve found your new calling:
    The ScienceBlogs Diners’ Collectible Handbook of Recipes.

    toss in some molecular structures as figures, to spice things up.

  27. #27 ira wyatt
    April 25, 2008

    Bean soup:

    2 cups whatever kind of beans you like. I like to use black beans and black-eyed peas.
    4 whole carrots, chopped
    1 large yellow onion
    3-4 cloves fresh garlic
    ~2 cans of vegetable or chicken stock

    soak beans overnight. (or buy ’em canned)
    throw everything into a crock pot, cook for about 4 hours or until everything reaches desired consistency.

    Should feed about 3-4.

    Since a couple of chili or pseudochili recipes have already been posted, I won’t bother with mine since it’s nothing special but here’s a tip: leftover chili can be mixed with pasta (or couscous) to make it stretch further.

    Veggies and Pasta with Hot Sauce
    This is for one person/ one (largeish) serving but you can easily make multiple servings at once.

    ~3/4 cup uncooked pasta (I like to use whole grain rotini for this)
    2 whole carrots
    1 small-to-medium bell pepper in whichever color you prefer (green is usually cheapest but I prefer red bell peppers)
    ~ 1/4 large yellow onion
    ~ 1/2 a tomato or ~8 grape tomatoes cut into quarters
    ~ 2tbsp olive oil
    hot sauce

    Start heating water for the pasta on high. Chop the carrots and peppers first and start sauteeing them in the olive oil. Whenever the water for pasta starts to boil, turn it down to medium and add the pasta. Chop onions and add them to the other vegetables and then do the same with the tomatoes. Once the vegetables start to look mostly done, add hot sauce to the vegetables to taste and turn them down to low or medium-low and let it all simmer until the pasta finishes cooking.
    Drain the pasta and then just pour everything together onto a largeish plate or bowl.

    If you like your food really spicy, you can also include fresh peppers of whatever variety you prefer.
    You can also add meat if you like: either sautee it with the vegetables or cook it separately and add it later.
    You could also halve this recipe and use it as a side dish, I suppose.
    Or you can use rice instead of pasta and soy sauce or stir-fry sauce instead of hot sauce, in which case it’s also nice to add some pea pods if you can get them fresh.

  28. #28 agnostic
    April 25, 2008

    I’m surprised how little attention people give to protein, especially animal protein. I know it’s fashionable, but we’re talking about your health.

    There’s a study from Australia showing that Creatine improves the IQ scores of vegans (word on the street is that it does nothing for meat-eaters, so it simply restores vegans to baseline).

    So make sure to add a heaping spoonful of that into all of these rabbit food recipes.

  29. #29 Liz Ditz
    April 26, 2008

    The student eating dilemma has a long history. I recommend MFK Fisher’s How To Cook A Wolf

  30. #30 dieselrain
    April 26, 2008

    Lamb’s Quarters are springing up right now in most of the U.S. Excellent green, cooked like spinach. Or uncooked as a salad green. Very mild taste but vitamin-rich. So much of it growing, a meal’s worth can be collected in 60 seconds. Also easy and nutritious: dried beans soaked overnight (develop lacto-bacillus) and slow cooked next day. Add bits to the beans. A hundred different ways to fix beans. And lentils. About time for cattail flowers in part of the U.S.: pick before the flower (the “cattail”)erupts from its leaves, shuck out the flower, cut off stem and cook the cattail as you would asparagus. Free, nutritous, tasty.

  31. #31 ira wyatt
    April 26, 2008

    Re: agnostic: protein

    For protein, as long as you’re not vegan or lactose intolerant, you can always just drink milk along with your meals. Or soy milk, if you like it.
    Alternately, eat a lot of legumes: cans of mixed nuts, sunflower seeds, that sort of thing, which you can incorporate easily enough into meals if you want.

    Animal protein doesn’t have to be the focus of every meal, but for those who want it to be, it’s easy enough to add in to a recipe that doesn’t explicitly call for it.

    *I should probably add here that I’m not actually vegetarian, I just don’t have a freezer in which to store raw meat so I tend not to cook with it very often.

  32. #32 (((Billy)))
    April 26, 2008

    This is one I used in college, and still use today:

    Grilled Tacos

    put two or three store-bought corn tortillas on a dry, non-stick griddle. Sprinkle on about a quarter cup of shredded cheese (Jack or really sharp cheddar (though feta comes real close to queso asedero)) and let the cheese begin to melt.

    Meanwhile, chop up some onion, sweet pepper, a little fresh chili pepper or some canned green chilies and sprinkle on the tortillas and (if you have it (which I rarely did in college) some fresh cilantro).

    Fold the tortillas and keep flipping them over. The idea is to lightly brown the tortilla without burning them or making them too chewy.

    Serve with some salsa.

    Gives you grain (tortillas), protein (cheese), fat (cheese) and vegetables (peppers and onions).

    You can also add some cooked hamburg, sausage, a pork chop or some chicken (shred the pork or chicken with a couple of forks).

  33. #33 marble
    April 27, 2008

    Agnostic, I think the emphasis on vegetable protein is because people are trying to provide economical recipes for students. In our area, even chicken is getting to be astronomical.

    Eggs are cheap. Here’s a nice frittata recipe that will provide a day or two of leftovers. Or it can, itself, be made with leftovers – you can put pretty much anything into a frittata.

    2 tsp olive oil
    1 lb. cooked potatoes, cut into small chunks
    Apx. 2 oz. ham, pancetta, or cooked chicken, in small chunks
    4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
    8 large eggs
    Salt and pepper
    1/4 c. grated Parmesan

    Heat oven to 350 degrees F. In 12″ nonstick pan with ovenproof handle (such as a cast iron pan), heat olive oil on medium heat.

    Add potatoes, meat, and garlic; saute until browned. You could add 1/2 cup peas at this point; thawed, if they were frozen.

    Whisk the eggs and pour into the pan. Season with salt and pepper. Cook over low-medium heat, not stirring but occasionally sliding a spatula around the rim of the pan, until nearly set in the middle.

    Sprinkle with the cheese and bake 4-5 minutes until fully set.

  34. #34 DuWayne
    April 29, 2008

    A crock pot is a cheap/healthy food essential. It’s not hard to make something reasonably tasty with minimal prep.

    My personal favorite is to take a couple of the grains I have as a base. Quinoa and amaranth are really good ones. Add any of a variety of spices, pretty much whatever floats your boat.

    I tend to shy away from a lot of meat dishes, because my partner is a vegetarian. TVP is much cheaper than meat anyways and you can flavor it however you like. When I am making things that momma isn’t going to eat, I like to reconstitute my TVP with chicken or beef broth.

    Throw in some veggies – fresh or frozen provide the best nutrients but canned are cheaper. When we still had a garden, momma and I were very keen on dehydrating veggies. When they’re going into the stock pot anyways, it really doesn’t matter and many veggies will keep very nicely that way.

    A huge help is having a hermetic sealer, though that alone is beyond the reach of many students. I like to use the foil packs, as they can be stored without refrigeration. The nice thing about the vacuum sealed packs is that they can simply be thrown into a pot of boiling water and left to heat up – then you cut open the bag and serve.

    I would end by noting that home made does not mean healthy. Several of the recipes listed here are not all that healthy

  35. #35 WeBMSTR
    May 17, 2008

    OK, cook some pasta, preferably a spaghetti or linguine.

    Heat up some olive oil in a pan.
    This is one I used in college, and still use today:

    Grilled Tacos

    put two or three store-bought corn tortillas on a dry, non-stick griddle. Sprinkle on about a quarter cup of shredded cheese (Jack or really sharp cheddar (though feta comes real close to queso asedero)) and let the cheese begin to melt.

    Meanwhile, chop up some onion, sweet pepper, a little fresh chili pepper or some canned green chilies and sprinkle on the tortillas and (if you have it (which I rarely did in college) some fresh cilantro).

    Fold the tortillas and keep flipping them over. The idea is to lightly brown the tortilla without burning them or making them too chewy.

    Serve with some salsa.

    Gives you grain (tortillas), protein (cheese), fat (cheese) and vegetables (peppers and onions).

    You can also add some cooked hamburg, sausage, a pork chop or some chicken (shred the pork or chicken with a couple of forks).

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