Gourmet chefs may scowl at the invention, but the microwave is the single most important appliance in a college student’s life. Most of us would starve without one.
Microwave junkies tend to stick with the basics: Easy Mac and frozen dinners.
However, with less than $20 worth of food, a package of disposable Ziploc bowls, a few plastic spoons and the trusty microwave, anyone can make a three-course meal that puts Chef Boyardee to shame.
Parmesan White Beans with Spinach and Basil
This dish is all about cheese – obscene quantities.
1 16 oz. can canellini beans (such as Goya)
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1 cup baby spinach (more or less, depending on taste)
1 tablespoon dried basil
Mix together the beans and 1/2 cup of the Parmesan. Heat for 2 minutes. Stir in the spinach, basil and remaining cheese, and heat for another 2 minutes.
Simply Fresh Pita Pizzas
The sweet tomatoes contrast nicely with the heavy bean dish.
3 medium pitas
1 16 oz. can Italian seasoned, diced tomatoes, in thick sauce (such as Contadina)
1 clove garlic, chopped in half
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup grated Parmesan
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
Mix together the tomatoes and basil and heat for 1 minute. Meanwhile, rub the pita bread with the chopped garlic. Stir the olive oil and red pepper flakes, if using, into the heated tomatoes. If desired, finely chop the garlic and add to the tomatoes. Divide mixture between the 3 pitas. Top with mozzarella and Parmesan. Heat each pita until the cheese melts.
Caramel (or Vanilla) Peaches
Quite possibly the quickest dessert ever.
1 cup frozen sliced peaches
1 cup pancake syrup
1 pint caramel or vanilla ice cream
Mix together the peaches and pancake syrup, and heat for 1 minute. Scoop the ice cream into bowls, and top with peach mixture.
All recipes use high power.
Cooking time should be adjusted for super strong or super pathetic microwaves.
Though the beans can be eaten as an appetizer, they are best served with the pizzas.
The sweet tomatoes will compliment the rich cheese sauce.
The meal can easily be transformed into a four-course ordeal: buy a prepackaged Caesar salad in a bag and serve as the first course.
So long as your guests aren’t starving, the addition of salad and an extra pita should make the meal big enough for four.
If the dessert is too heavy for your tastes, heat 1 cup frozen blueberries and serve over vanilla frozen yogurt, or buy a good fruit sorbet (such as Haagen-Dazs) and serve alone.
Just got paid?
Add a touch of cheapskate class with a $10 to $15 bottle of Merlot.
Try Lindemans, Rosemount Estates (Diamond Label) or Barefoot.
Rachel Barbara can be reached at Rbarbara@temple.edu