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College Student who needs help!

Hello everybody! I am a college student who needs some healthy, fast and inexpensive breakfast, lunch, and dinner ideas. The challenge is that I do not have an oven. All I have are a stove, a rice cooker and a microwave. Currently, I have been eating eggs and bacon for breakfast. For Lunch, I usually make a turkey sandwich. Finally for dinner, I usually eat rice +grilled chicken. That is all i know what to cook. I need some variety. Please help me with your knowledge of food! Thank you!

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  1. If that's all you're eating, you certainly don't need laxatives. That said, why don't you try some nice shrimp scampi over pasta? Or try the chicken piccata, chicken w/ sundried tomatoes, chicken marsala, chicken louisa, or greek chicken and potatoes recipes at http://www.epicurius.com. They are all in my personal cookbook and very good. They also have some very good beef recipes on there. Go under the "advanced search" option and you can customize the search to what you have available.

    2 Replies
      1. re: maplesugar

        Thanks, sugar. My spelling always was terrible :)

    1. www.myrecipes.com has an excellent search engine that also allows searches for the type of cooking(baked/micro/broil etc)... you could start there for inspiration. How big is the microwave and does it have convection heat? And can we assume you have at least a bar fridge?

      I'm sure in a little while you'll be inundated with ideas... you've definitely come to the right place :)

      1. Get an inexpensive toaster oven.

        4 Replies
        1. re: Antilope

          Yes, you beat me to this suggestion. Toaster ovens are excellent. While our kitchen was being remodeled we use one with great success. Under used and appreciated by many.

          1. re: Antilope

            Inexpensive is always good, but if you're gonna get one, get a good one. They have decent-sized convection toaster ovens at www.cooks.com. You can do a lot with those. Sorry to have lost mine to my ex.

            1. re: Antilope

              I love my WalMart toaster oven. I bake frozen stuff in it, and it comes out great. Those individually frozen biscuts are greatness for the single person.

              1. re: GenieinTX

                I live in Thailand where people don't use/have ovens. I bought a table-top toaster, one that gets really hot. It's a bit larger than a regular toaster and has a convection setting too. I've made pies, tarts, bread, pita, pizza, cookies, cupcakes, apple crisp - you name it. Works fine, heats up super fast, and takes up very little space. It's great.

            2. Here are some things I used to whip up while in college, and still eat now when work picks up:

              1. Israeli couscous with chopped vegetables and toasted nuts
              2. Fried rice: the fridge cleaner
              3. Black bean soup with grilled cheese or croque monsieur/madame
              4. Sandwiches: egg, Marmite, and cheese; tuna; grilled eggplant, ham, and other standard sandwich vegetables; avocado and prosciutto; I think any sandwich is your friend
              5. Bolognese to serve over the darndest things
              6. Curry of all kinds -- you can pick up the asian kind in blocks, or Indian in jars
              7. Pasta: carbonara; tossed with olive oil, s&p, roasted garlic; artichoke hearts, sundried tomatoes, pine nuts, goat brie, and capers; with a garlic & chive cream sauce;
              8. Soba noodles in ginger broth with chopped egg, mushrooms, and vegetables; tossed in peanut sauce (there's a recipe on CH, but haven't tried it) and chicken
              9. Soups and chilis -- let them bubble away while you're studying
              10. Braised turkey legs: you can have a variety here, with Indian, Asian, Mediterranean, etc influences.
              11. Stuffed vegetables: peppers, bell peppers, tomatoes, onions, etc
              12. Sauteed mushrooms
              13. Quesdillas -- fill with whatever your heart desires (kimchee and spam, anyone?)
              14. Huevos rancheros
              15. Burritos & breakfast burritos -- these freeze well, without the sour cream/guacamole

              I also found out early on that the George Foreman grill also makes some mean panini!

              I feel for you; after my freshman year, I could never look at "deli sandwiches" (ie, with the standard sliced meats & cheese). Ever. Again. Do you have a freezer? I used to make a bunch of sandwiches, pasta dishes, stuffed peppers, etc one weekend, and all I had to do was zap them in the microwave.

              1. A few things that come to mind are sauteed boneless chicken breasts dipped in flour or bread crumbs with some lemon juice. A quick black beans and rice. Just drain a can of black beans, add it to sauteed onions, some spices and put over rice. Don't forget pasta. You can do a quick tuna sauce with oil packed tuna and capers. You can make meatballs in a saute pan.

                1. I'm thinkin' that crock pot and pressure cooker are good. With them you can make soups - many kinds of soup, depending on what's available. There are many soup cookbooks around, but you might just look here http://www.soupsong.com/index.html for more soup than you can shake a stick at.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: yayadave

                    I find a roaster to be a handy substitute for a crock pot and canner plus it has a thermostat so it's easier to follow recipes written for an oven or stovetop. One can also make baked goods in them. Just about the only thing one can't accomplish in a roaster is broiling.

                  2. I don't have an oven either. I have a 6 quart roaster, convection oven, and a tiny rice cooker. Oh, and an electric skillet. I would also recommend getting a small convection oven, better than a toaster oven.

                    The appliance I use the most is the rice cooker. I reheat left overs in it, use it to saute single servings of food including ground beef for tacos, make quick soups, curry etc. I can both boil pasta and heat up the sauce in it. One can also steam food on top while making a batch of rice below. My rice cooker is red and cost $15 at Target.

                    I use the roaster as my oven and as one would a dutch oven for stock and large amounts of stew which I can and freeze for later use.

                    The convection oven would get more use if I baked more. Back in my college days I made a lot of pizza, both frozen and homemade. Homemade pizza doesn't cost nearly as much as frozen, it's a great way to save money. You can also make lots at one, or make individual sizes and freeze for later. Don't get the wolfgang puck one, mine is crap.

                    I use the skillet for obvious bacon and eggs and to sear meat before I put it in the roaster. Great for stir fry. It quickly reduces sauces. Mine came with a dome top and roaster rack so theoretically I could roast in mine as well, but frankly the lowest heat setting is too high for this to be a more flexible appliance. YMMV.

                    Another way to use ingredients you already have on hand is refried rice.

                    Do you also have a grill to make your grilled chicken? That would open up even more possibilities.

                    What do you eat outside of the home you would like to learn how to make?

                    1. Thank you for all your responses! I have checked out many of the links. They are mucho helpful. I might ask my house mates if they would pitch in for a toaster oven. To anwser dishchrista question I want to cook simple homecook meals. I really do not care what it is. I love food. I am ready to take on any challenge. Thank you very much!

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: I_need_laxatives

                        I used to love throwing frozen veggies into my boiling pasta water for the last 4 minutes or so. Bring it back up to a boil, cook until the pasta is al dente, drain, and use lots of parmesan, butter, and/or olive oil on top. Works well with rice too, but I never had a rice cooker, so I don't know how to add veggies to it.

                      2. Picadillo---my graduate school basic: ground beef, onions, garlic, green pepper, golden raisins, sliced green olives stuffed with pimento. Served over rice. Some people add a dusting of cinnamon. My Cuban roommate said never add tomatoes.

                        1. Sausages and green veggies are a no-brainer combo. Add a starch and there you go.

                          1. When I was in college, I would make big vats on the stovetop of rice and beans- if I was feeling lazy, it was just a can of Rotel tomatoes, white rice, a can of drained/rinsed black beans, and some garlic and onion powder. Mix together, add enough liquid (twice as much as your rice), bring to a boil, put the lid on, turn down to a simmer, and cook for 20 minutes. Eat with sour cream, salsa, cheese, and tortillas (or tortilla chips) .

                            These days, I saute fresh onions, garlic, green chiles, in the pan first, use fresh beans of all kinds, brown rice, cumin, fresh cilantro and a little oregano, fresh corn and tomatoes... whatever seems handy. And good cheese on top. It's still one of my favorite super-easy comfort foods, and I can make a batch to eat plain, or in burritoes, AND I can roll it in warm torillas, wrap them individually, freeze in a ziplock, and have a microwave healthy lunch for a few weeks.

                            1. If you have a rice cooker you can cook A LOT of things in it.

                              I cook my oatmeal in it every morning - 1 cup oatmeal, 2 cups water, pinch salt; serves 2 generously.

                              I cook barley in it for soup. You can also cook it with salsa, or onions and serve it instead of rice. You can saute onions in your rice cooker, by putting in a little oil, and your chopped onion, and it will turn itself off when they are cooked. Then add your grain and liquid and turn on again.

                              I cook lentils in it. Add them to soup or salads. You can cook rice and lentils together, and top with steamed veg (or put them right in too) and serve with a simple sauce, maybe from a bottle.

                              You can add pieces of chicken and vegetable to your rice, and cook it in the rice cooker for a one-pot casserole style dish.

                              I know there is at least one cookbook out there with recipes for cooking in a rice cooker.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Ferdzy

                                Got a rice cooker? You got it all.

                                Here's how I make beef stew in mine:
                                Toss some beef in flour, then brown in the rice cooker for 8-10 minutes on high.
                                Add a chopped onion and brown until golden.
                                Add browned beef.
                                Add a chopped carrot.
                                Add a chopped potato.
                                Add a clove or 2 of garlic.
                                Add a cup of red wine.
                                Add a cup of water
                                Add a handful of dried field mushrooms if you've got 'em.
                                Add sea salt
                                Add pepper
                                Add marjoram
                                Add rosemary
                                Close the lid and cook on high until it kicks off, then let it slow cook for another 2-3 hours withe the lid closed.

                              2. GUYS!!! I GOT A TOASTER OVEN!!!! SO, I will be trying a lot of recipes you guys have wrote down! THANK YOU!!! I am so excited!