College kitchen: Clear out your pantry

Four quick recipes to expand your cooking repertoire.

Pasta Bolognese, a quick and simple recipe for any college kitchenista.

Bridget Bennett

Pasta Bolognese, a quick and simple recipe for any college kitchenista.

Alexander Brodsky

You look in your fridge. All you see is half an onion, three cans of Hamm’s, leftover rice and a bell pepper someone guilt-tripped you into buying at the farmers market on Church Street. What do you cook? Hamm’s-braised onions?

Every cook needs a couple of recipes in their back pocket they can whip out time and time again. Having a large repertoire ensures you’ll always have a meal to fix, no matter how destitute your pantry looks.

 

Chicken fried rice

Fried rice is a perfect end-of-the-week dish. It’s simple, takes no time to cook, and you can throw just about any kind of vegetables or meat into it.

1 cup cooked white rice

1 boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1/4 inch cubes

1/2 medium onion, diced

1 carrot, diced

1 green bell pepper, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

3 tablespoons soy sauce

1 teaspoon sugar

Sriracha (optional)

Heat vegetable oil in a large frying pan. Add in half the minced garlic and fry until lightly browned, about one minute. Toss in the chicken and fry until no longer pink, stirring often to ensure even browning. Move the chicken to a paper towel-lined plate and add more oil.

Add in the rest of the garlic and the diced onion and fry until translucent, about two to three minutes. Add the carrots and bell peppers and let cook for about four minutes, constantly stirring the mixture.

Add the rice to the pan and mix thoroughly. Let the rice fry and dry out — this allows it to better soak up the sauce while maintaining their texture.

After about three minutes, add in the soy sauce and sugar and mix until the rice takes on a light brown color. Add more soy sauce if necessary.

 

Onion and bell pepper omelet

Resist the temptation to say, “Screw it, these are scrambled eggs now.” Push yourself to your limits: Make the perfect fluffy yellow omelet.

3 large eggs

1 green bell pepper, diced

1 onion, diced

Salt and pepper

2 tablespoons butter

Crack the eggs into a small bowl and gently whisk them with a fork until the yolks are entirely incorporated.

Put a frying pan over medium high heat. Add in a tablespoon of butter and wait until entirely melted. Tilt the pan to coat the entire bottom in melted butter.

Add the diced onions. Fry until translucent, about four minutes. Throw in the bell pepper and cook for another two to three minutes.

Pour in the egg mixture, coating the entire bottom of the pan. Vigorously stir the mixture until the eggs begin to solidify, about 10 seconds. Afterwards, tilt the pan around until the remaining liquid evenly coats the rest of the pan.

Gradually move a rubber spatula or wooden spoon around the edge of the omelet while lightly shaking the pan to loosen it.

When the eggs have sufficiently set, scoot the omelet to the edge of the pan furthest from you, tilt the pan and snap it back towards you, folding the omelet in half. Let sit for another 10 seconds or so. Season with salt and pepper, and serve immediately.

 

Pasta Bolognese (kind of)

The combination of vegetables here is referred to as a “mirepoix” and forms the backbone for countless soups and sauces throughout the culinary world. Throw that word around at fancy dinner parties.

Alternatively, you can use a store-bought marinara sauce and combine with the ground meat and pasta for a quick version on the dish.

1 pound linguine or spaghetti

1 pound ground beef or ground Italian sausage

1 16-ounce can of diced tomatoes

1/2 medium onion, diced

1 large carrot, diced

2 stalks celery, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

Salt and pepper

Olive oil

Dried parsley

Parmesan (optional)

In a large skillet, heat a tablespoon of olive oil over medium high. Place the ground meat in the pan and let fry until entirely browned. Break the meat up into small chunks the entire time it’s frying.

Move the meat onto a paper towel lined plate, reserving about a tablespoon of fat in the pan.

Sauté the onions, carrots, celery and garlic in the fat until tender, about five minutes.

Season with salt, pepper and dried parsley. Add in the can of diced tomatoes and bring the mixture up to a boil. Reduce to low heat and let it simmer for about 20 minutes. Periodically taste and adjust seasonings. Serve over the spaghetti with grated parmesan.

Add salt to water and boil to cook spaghetti. The salt helps flavor the pasta and remove some of the starch.

 

Rosemary roasted potatoes

A cheap and simple side dish, these potatoes pair perfectly with any meat-heavy entrée.

2 medium potatoes, preferably yellow

Olive oil

Salt and pepper

1 teaspoon dried rosemary

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.

Slice potatoes into roughly 1/2-inch cubes. In a mixing bowl, combine potato cubes, salt, pepper, rosemary and enough olive oil to coat the potatoes.

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Lightly spread a small amount of olive oil over the aluminum foil, then add the potatoes to the sheet and transfer them to the oven.

After 15 minutes, flip the potatoes over and continue baking until the potatoes are golden brown, about 10 minutes.