My family is Greek and Italian, therefore Mediterranean flavors are in our blood. The specific ingredient that my clan can’t get enough of is the modest tomato.
My dad is a huge tomato gardener, and has spent the past 22 years (that’s only as long as I can vouch for) perfecting the heavenly fruit — remember, tomatoes are fruits not vegetables.
I vote his Cherokee purple heirlooms best in show, but all of his varieties are delicious. So delicious, in fact, that cooking them down into a sauce or smothering them over a pizza is a waste. The only way to truly understand the perfection known as my father’s tomatoes is to enjoy them in simple form.
I’m partial to housing them down with just a sprinkle of salt, but here’s a recipe that everyone can love (even if you don’t have access to my father’s tomatoes — although he does handout seedling like frozen yogurt samples).
This week, I took on the flank steak challenge. Well, it’s not so much of a challenge, more like me buying flank steak and having no idea what to do with it.
Luckily, I took some advice from my flank steak-loving roommate and turned a tough piece of meat into a juicy and delicious dinner.
Broiled Italian Flank Steak
Ingredients: (Serves 4)
- 1.5 pounds of flank steak
- 1 cup Italian dressing
- cooking spray
Today was a long day and to top it off, I haven’t been food shopping in a week. These are the nights every cooking college student dreads.
The typical starting point for my no-food-left dinners is the freezer. In my freezer, I found three boxes of English muffins, sugar-free ice pops, and, in the back right corner, two frozen hamburger patties.
Since ice pops aren’t the best dinner base, I started with the hamburger. I added a few other pantry ingredients and came up with a new and satisfying meal.
Cheeseburger Pasta Bake
Ingredients: (Serves 2)
- 2 hamburger patties
- half a box of pasta (Macaroni or Rotini)
- 1/2 cup of tomato sauce
- 1/8 cup of diced cheddar cheese
- 1/2 cup of steam-in-bag corn
- 1 mini dill pickle, chopped
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- salt, black pepper, and Cayenne pepper
Broccoli, carrots, black olives
One of my favorite dinners growing up was my mom’s famous baked potato bar. My siblings and I would come home from school and load up our personal potatoes with vegetables, cheese and sour cream.
Looking back, I realize my mom probably used this dinner as a way to get us to eat more vegetables, but it was still my favorite.
Even now, I make myself baked potatoes at least once a month for dinner. The great part about them is that they are super quick and only require a microwave. What college student wouldn’t like that?
Baked Potato Ingredients: (Serves 1)
- 1 medium sized potato
- 1/8 cup chopped broccoli
- 1/8 cup cut carrots
- 1/8 cup sliced black olives
- 1/8 cup cabbage slaw
- 1/8 cup grated cheese (any available)
- 1/8 cup mini-pepperoni
- 1 dollop sour cream (or non-fat Greek yogurt)
Every cook needs to have a few “wow” inspiring dishes in their back pocket. My favorite “wow” dish also happens to take 10 minutes to prepare.
Here’s a simple recipe that will impress any date, friend or roommate.
Light brown sugar, red curry paste, olive oil, salt and pepper
Red Curry-Glazed Salmon Ingredients: (Serves 2)
- 2 salmon filets
- 1/2 tablespoon Thai red curry paste
- 1/2 tablespoon canola oil
- 1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
- a pinch of salt and pepper
Step 1: Preheat broiler.
Step 2: Mix together curry paste, canola oil, brown sugar, salt and pepper in a small bowl.
Everyone loves pizza and everyone loves quesadillas. These two truths inspired my most recent culinary creation – the quesadilla pizza!
My roommate had left over pizza toppings from a recent pizza making extravaganza (there’s not better way to explain it, so I’ll leave it at that). I had whole wheat tortillas left from my Distrito inspired fish tacos, so I decided to combine the two to make a quick, no purchase necessary dinner.
Here’s all you need.
Quesadilla Pizza Ingredients: (Serves 2)
- 4 whole wheat tortillas
- 1 can pizza sauce
- 1 cup of grated mozzarella cheese
For a basic pizza stop there. If you want to be adventurous add:
- 1/4 cup chopped broccoli
- 1/4 cup chopped red pepper
- 1/4 cup black olives
Distrito Inspired Tilapia Fish Taco
My favorite food is fish tacos. Not just any fish taco, specifically Jose Garces‘ mahi-mahi tacos from his restaurant Distrito. I never liked fish tacos until I tried Chef Garces’ version. I was skeptical at first, but one bite turned me into a fish taco junkie.
The mahi-mahi tacos start with a freshly made tortilla that is smothered with a chipotle remoulade (a spicy tarter sauce). Then they are topped with a beautifully crisp piece of mahi-mahi, one tender strip of avocado and a tangy cabbage slaw.
Simple, bold and delicious.
I’ve found Chef Garces’ fish taco recipe online, but it’s rather involved and time consuming. College is great for teaching you how to cut corners, so I’ve come up with my own, simpler version of Chef Garces’ culinary masterpiece. Nothing can replace the real thing, but this is a successful and healthy stand-in for when a fish taco craving hits.
Distrito Inspired Tilapia Los Tacos Ingredients: (Serves 2)