Don’t be a-starvin’, student

Being a student needn’t mean you have to live like Old Mother Hubbard and her bare cupboard. Just by keeping a few stock items in your kitchen arsenal, the quandary of what to eat can be a little less foreboding and a lot more enjoyable. Good food CAN be made easily and inexpensively (albeit not always healthily); all it takes is a little ingenuity and resourcefulness.

Some essentials every student should keep on hand:

· Rice cooker (preferably non-stick; great for steaming vegetables, boiling water, cooking pasta, making oatmeal)

· Tea kettle (electric for your dorm room, or stove top for your kitchen)

· A good, sharp paring knife

· A large Pyrex mixing bowl

These can deliciously accompany any miscellaneous fodder that you may have around:

· Herbs and spices: curry powder, chili powder, cinnamon, salt, pepper

· Pantry: Canned tuna, can of chopped tomatoes, soy sauce, dry pasta, peanut butter, olive oil, rice, eggs, block cheese, Bisquick (for pancakes, pizza dough, biscuits, dumplings), canned chili, cream of soup, flour tortillas

Here are some inventive student-tested (and sometimes mother-approved) ideas:

Roll with it

· Flour tortilla with sour cream and crushed Doritos.

· Tortilla with peanut butter, one mashed banana, drizzle with honey.

· Drain a can of tuna. Mix in one chopped onion and 1/4 cup of blue cheese dressing. Serve inside a big lettuce leaf, fold like a taco and eat.

Rice is nice

· Ground beef browned in a skillet. Stir in one can of cream of mushroom soup. Serve over hot rice.

· One can of chili, heated, served over rice. Shredded cheese is optional.

· One can of fruit cocktail mixed with whipped cream and stir into rice.

Alotta Pasta

· Spaghetti with peanut butter, a little olive oil, and a pinch of red pepper.

· Mac and cheese with cooked hot dogs.

· Ramen noodles tossed with a pat of butter and shredded cheese. Don’t use the seasoning pack.

· Ramen noodles, preferably the mushroom flavor, WITH the seasoning pack and a dollop of sour cream. (This is the poor man’s stroganoff.)

DIY Pop tarts

Cut uncooked piecrust into four wedges and put a dollop of jam or jelly on each. Put second crust of cut wedges on top, seal edges with water, then pinch closed. Bake at 450 for 8-10 minutes.

Don’t Knock It ‘Til You’ve Tried It

· One raw egg and one tablespoon of soy sauce mixed together. Serve over very hot rice (which will cook the egg).

· One dill pickle. Drill a hole down the center length (you can use a chopstick) and insert a peppermint stick.

So the next time you walk into your kitchen, ask not what your food can do for you, but what you can do to your food. Most recipes out there invite, even encourage creativity. With a little luck, you may stumble upon a delicious creation that will get you through the next four years.

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