Single Serving Puppy Chow

Last semester, I tweeted “Puppy chow and How I Met Your Mother on Netflix are the only things getting me through dead week right now. #Ihaveaproblem #somuchpuppychow.” My cousin from New Jersey read that tweet and thought I was legitimately eating food … Continue reading

Substitute Sandwich

The dining center at my school seems to just give up on the weekends. Saturday lunch and dinner is mediocre at best and the dining center only serves food until 2:00 pm on Sunday. My boyfriend was visiting and we didn’t want to go out to lunch, but I also didn’t want to subject him to the weekend food at the dining center. I was browsing Food Gawker and found a Turkey Focaccia Club recipe and decided that was exactly what I wanted for lunch. He agreed that it sounded good, so we left my dorm to go buy groceries.

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Microwave Granola Bars

In high school I think I made friends in some of my classes based solely off the fact that I had a seemingly constant supply of granola bars and Fruit by the Foot in my bag.

My parents frequented Costco, so we had boxes of the Fruit by the Foot and granola bars so big we had to keep them on top of our fridge instead of in the pantry. Each day I grabbed two granola bars and two Fruit by the Foot. I didn’t always need both, so I would let them accumulate in my purse until I was put into a group and I offered the treats to my classmates. Or sometimes someone would mention that they couldn’t wait for lunch, and I pulled out my supply of Fruit by the Foot and asked whether they wanted Strawberry or Color By The Foot.

I could pretend the reason they approached me was because I was charming or interesting or funny, but I think they mostly started talking to me because I was willing to share my snacks. And that is okay with me.

I let that habit die once I went to college, but lately I’ve been eating a lot of granola bars again. Every Tuesday I have class from 9:30 in the morning until 2:30 in the afternoon with no time to eat lunch. I value sleep too much to get up to eat a healthy breakfast before class, so I have become reliant on granola bars. They are relatively cheap, easy to grab and bring to class with me, and I enjoy eating them. They don’t have a distinct smell that would make everyone around me hate me. They aren’t particularly loud. They are perfect to eat in a lecture.

And, apparently, they are easy enough to make in a dorm. This recipe from Bakerita requires more equipment (read: basic items such as bowls, spoons, and measuring cups) than most students have in their dorm, but it is entirely doable. Even if you still only have non-microwaveable bowls. I honestly have no idea what those bowls could be doing to me. Every time I use them I expect to open the microwave to a bowl that has cracked in half. Since that hasn’t happened yet, I’m going to continue to use them until I can sneak one of my parent’s old bowls back to school with me.


Homemade Granola Bars
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup peanut butter
2 cups quick cooking oats
1 cup crispy rice cereal
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2-3 tablespoons mini chocolate chips


Stir the cereal and cooking oats together in a bowl


In a microwave safe dish, stir together butter, honey, and brown sugar. Microwave for 3 minutes. The bowl will be HOT and the mixture should be bubbling.


Add the vanilla–this will cause the mixture to bubble up again. This worried me at first, but it ended up fine. Stir in the peanut butter until the mixture is smooth and fully combined.


Mix the dry ingredients and the peanut butter mixture together. Pour it onto whatever plate or pan you have and pat down until it is one even sheet– I put mine in a disposable serving tray I had leftover from when I made taco dip.


Finish by refrigerating for half an hour or let sit at room temperature for about two hours.

I really enjoyed this recipe. To be honest, I really did not want to deal with cleaning out a honey or peanut butter filled measuring cup in my tiny dorm sink, so I just guessed how much to put in. I am not a huge fan of honey, so I put more peanut butter than I did honey. The results are absolutely delicious.


The Hy Vee brand granola bars (right) I have are easier to take to class and they are much more solid. The homemade granola bars fall apart relatively easily, but I much prefer the taste. They are chewier than the other bars. I will definitely be making this recipe again.

Pasta without a Pasta Boat

As I mentioned in my Creamy Bow Tie Pasta post, I just recently realized that making pasta in a dorm is completely possible. For some reason, although pasta is my favorite food to eat, it never occurred to me in my 1.5 years in the dorms to just try boiling pasta in the microwave. So I finally tried it today.

It works.

I measured out the water for two servings in my Pasta Boat and found that for one cup of pasta, you need five cups of water. I poured the water and the pasta in a microwave safe bowl and microwaved it on high for 18 minutes.

The pasta came out just as well as it does in the pasta boat. However, the bowl got so hot I had to use a thick sweatshirt of mine as a makeshift pot holder. It was also very hard to drain the pasta without a strainer. I ended up putting my pasta into my Pasta Boat just so I could put the lid on and easily strain it.

From now on, I will continue to use my Pasta Boat. But it is nice to know my recipes can still be made in a dorm for those who don’t have a pasta cooking container.

This time I added Oscar Mayer Deli Fresh Buffalo Style Chicken Breast. For some reason, I cannot find a link to this anywhere on the Oscar Mayer website. Maybe this is like Oscar Mayer’s weird cousin that they’re ashamed of? I’m not sure. I just know that I love anything buffalo chicken, so I decided to try it. The chicken strips are 110 calories for 3 oz and are precooked. I am back to not having a working camera, or else I would show you what they look like. Walmart’s picture looks different than what I am seeing in front of me right now– the edges on mine are bright orange, but the shape of the chicken is the same.

I added the chicken to my cooked mostaccioli and then poured four cheese Alfredo sauce over it. I stirred in some pepper and Cheddar Jack cheese and microwaved for 45 seconds.

The buffalo chicken doesn’t add a huge kick to the pasta unless you have a full piece in every bite. Otherwise, I would say it is worth trying. Is it as good as normal buffalo chicken pasta? No. But does it satisfy a craving for it with little effort? Yup.

For those lucky enough to have a kitchen, here is the recipe that inspired me to pick up buffalo chicken strips in the first place. It is from How Sweet It Is. When I get to visit my boyfriend and use his kitchen, that recipe is almost always what we make. It is the best buffalo chicken pasta we’ve tried so far, and one of the recipes with the least ingredients that I’ve seen, which is always nice for people on a budget.

Pasta Boat Bow Tie with Creamy Tomato Sauce

I have used my pasta boat six times since my last post about it. Five of the six times were within one week. Having pasta so readily available to me is probably not the most healthy thing. I had opened a jar of Alfredo sauce and just could not bring myself to throw it out. My mom has always been very strict about expiration dates–that sauce should stay in my fridge three to four days, tops. My dad on the other hand has used Miracle Whip months past the best if used by date because he just can’t eat a sandwich without it. I followed my dad’s example and ate it on the fifth day. Not quite as worrisome as months old mayonnaise, but my mom still would not approve. And I’m alive to tell the tale (while on that subject, nothing seems to have come from my possibly toxic bowl either).

Anyway, I thought I’d share how I eat my pasta in my dorm. My dad insisted that I didn’t need dry spices because 1. the jars of sauce are already seasoned and 2. I don’t have a stove, therefore they won’t have time to simmer. I said that I wanted them anyway because my palate is not sophisticated enough to notice the difference pre-simmer and post-simmer. I won.

The process is so simple that pictures really aren’t necessary. I just got a camera back though and I really wanted to take pictures. So here they are!

Pasta Boat Bow Tie with Creamy Tomato Sauce
(makes one generous serving)

What you need:
Pasta boat*
I cup farfalle (bow tie) pasta
1/3 cup red sauce (I use Ragu because it is smooth and what I ate growing up)
1/2 cup Alfredo sauce (I LOVE Classico Four Cheese Alfredo. You can use whatever brand you’d like though)
1/8 teaspoon oregano
1/8 teaspoon italian seasoning
1/4-1/2 teaspoon garlic power
salt
pepper
handful of shredded mozzarella cheese (this was a last-minute decision and I forgot to take a picture of it)


My pasta boat!


The pasta was perfectly cooked after 18 minutes in the microwave. It was worth the wait.


Pour the sauces into the bowl. If you enjoy tomato sauce more than Alfredo,  you can switch it up so there is more tomato sauce than Alfredo.


Stir the sauces together until the color is uniform and add the salt, pepper, garlic powder, italian spices, and oregano.


Stir the seasonings in completely and then top with shredded mozzarella. Microwave on high for 45 seconds, stir the cheese into the pasta, and then microwave for another 45 seconds to 1 minute.


The finished product. Absolutely delicious.

*I realized recently (read: right now) that I could probably boil pasta without the boat, i would just have a harder time straining it. I haven’t tested this because my bowls are not microwave safe, but I am going to try to get new ones over break to see. It takes 18 minutes for 1 cup of bow tie pasta to cook in the pasta boat, so I would assume it would be the same in any other bowl with the proper amount of water.

My “Chopped” Salad

I’ve mentioned before that there is no room in my mini fridge for one-time use items. That is what makes my recent impulse buy somewhat surprising. I usually try to buy the least expensive items I can, as long as it doesn’t make me skimp on quality too much. I’m also very picky.

And yet I bought goat cheese anyway.

I was trying to think of something interesting to put on top of a salad. I was sick of my usual bagged American blend and ranch dressing. So when my boyfriend picked up a container of goat cheese and said, “this looks kinda classy” I decided to buy it.

I love the show Chopped on Food Network. Enough that I had a dream that I was on the show and got chopped after making a barbecue potato chip encrusted chicken with a spinach salad. My boyfriend will name off ingredients and I have to say how I would put it together if I were on the show: Okay, you have tilapia, rice cereal, cherries, and serrano peppers for a main dish. What would you make?

I’m not sure that we ever really know if what we make up would actually taste good. But we get a lot of entertainment out of it.

Anyway, I see goat cheese used a lot on Food Network, but I’ve never actually tried it.  I decided goat cheese would be my secret ingredient for the night. I put it together in a salad with some other toppings I had on hand. The end result was extremely satisfying and  made me feel like I was in a nice restaurant, not sitting on the floor in my dorm eating from a plastic bowl. And I think a fancy feeling yet extremely easy recipe is something everyone needs once in a while.

My “Chopped” Salad–for two servings
romaine lettuce
1/2 an apple, chopped (I used a pink lady apple)
a handful of pistachios (no shell), chopped
a handful of goat cheese crumbles
raspberry vinaigrette

Mix all the ingredients together and enjoy your fresh, delicious salad.


Sorry for the bad quality of the picture–My camera has been out of battery and I haven’t had a charger with me at school. The salad was so pretty looking, I just had to take a picture with my phone.