Times can be lean, especially for a college student worried about loans or a newly minted graduate. Mom and Dad can always help but these five, extremely affordable and delicious recipes can help a struggling artist or entrepreneur maintain their dignity, self reliance and pride.
Tomato, Pepper and Onion Omelet
I admit that a little breakfast sausage or jalapenos help this recipe but, in a pinch, this is a delightfully healthy way to start the day. A standard omelet preparation begins by beating the eggs and preparing the vegetables. No need for fancy slicing techniques, just dice them up haphazardly.
To cook, heat the pan and fry the eggs with a little butter until they somewhat solidify. Don’t wait too long. Next, drop on the veggies. Now, wait and wait some more. The vegetables need time to soften and the eggs won’t be harmed by the extra warmth. When the onions start to glisten, fold the eggs over, press to enfold and give them another thirty seconds. Plate and enjoy.
Ham and Grilled Cheese Sandwich
Another quick and easy recipe that will thrill the boys after a night out is a down and dirty grilled cheese sandwich with cheddar cheese. Unfortunately, for those on a budget, this sandwich is truly remarkable with genuine Parma ham and real, unpasteurized English cheddar cheese. Nevertheless, the inexpensive substitutes available in any American supermarket will do just fine in the wee hours.
To start, place some butter on one side of a hot pan and a slice of ham on the other. When the butter is melted, add two slices of bread and place the cooked ham on the top of one. After thirty seconds, flip the other slice and add the cheese. When the first slice starts to smoke, flip it and the ham onto the top one with the cheese. Another fifteen seconds, remove and you are good to go. Repeat as necessary.
Chicken and Refried Bean Tortillas
Just so your kids know that this meal doesn’t come in a box from the freezer, teach them how to make it from scratch. They’ll get twice as much food for half the price. For two people, five pieces of boneless chicken with some “Mexican” seasoning will suffice. Bake in an oven at 350 until done, usually twenty minutes. In the meantime, heat a can of jalapeno flavored beans in the microwave and lay out ten corn tortillas.
When the chicken is done, cut into rough slices. Then layer the chicken and beans onto the tortillas, roll and give them a ten second shot in the microwave. Anything from pico de gallo to sour cream will enhance this dish but the flavor stands on its own.
Pasta with Marinara Sauce
You have done your children a disservice if you have never let them throw pasta at a wall to see if it will stick. Every decent cook knows that this is the true test of “doneness” for pasta. Also, don’t forget to teach them the meaning of al dente. Next, coach them to find a prepared pasta sauce that they like. There is no shame in this as there are dozens of decent tasting sauces on the market. Still, the addition of some fresh ingredients will substantially improve the taste of any store bought sauce.
Start by searing a quarter pound fresh, lean ground beef. When thoroughly cooked, drain the grease and add to the simmering sauce. Next, fresh tomato, onion, green pepper and garlic should also be added. Coordinating the completion times of the sauce and pasta is the most difficult aspect of this recipe.
A final note on serving this dish. Do not under any circumstances cut up the spaghetti into little pieces and mix with the sauce. The sauce is merely an accompaniment and the pasta should be enjoyed whole and unadulterated.
Chicago Style Hot Dogs
Anyone can boil some hot dogs, open a can of so called chili, microwave some cheese product and dump the whole mess onto a cold, hard bun. That process produces an almost inedible conglomeration of noisome ingredients. It also takes longer to prepare than this recipe.
In short, fire up the burner and fry, yes fry, the hotdogs. Unless they’re frozen, three to four minutes on high will do the trick. While waiting, cut some kosher dills and tomatoes the long way. Also retrieve, the mustard from the fridge. After the requisite three to four minutes remove the dogs and cover with some paper towels. Immediately drop the buns onto the heated pan and turn to high. Watch for a little smoke and then remove the buns.
Next, place all the ingredients go onto the bun: first the dogs, then the pickles and tomatoes and, lastly, the condiments. Now, in under seven minutes you are ready to eat. In the interest of full disclosure, I never make this recipe without the addition of celery salt. Although this condiment busts the budget on this dish, it improves it immeasurably.