Everyone knows that one of the first things to go after you get to college is nutrition. Sure, you mean well, but then the homework piles up, and before you know it you’re living on Snickers, Pop-Tarts and Red Bull (known as the Nora Coon Finals Diet, perfected by yours truly during the fall 2008 semester). So, where can you find those difficult nutrients without spending much money or time? Of course a nice ribeye and some grilled baby bok choy at the Phoenix will give you your protein and vegetables, but most of us can only afford to eat there when our parents come to visit to ask why we haven’t started thinking about grad school yet.
Options two and three: the Dining Hall and dorm cooking. I’ll assume that you can probably navigate the Dining Hall, since even the first-years managed to live through a semester without dying of malnutrition (I’ll discuss it in a later column anyway). Let’s skip to option three: cooking in your dorm kitchen. Granted, the kitchens on campus are not exactly “Iron Chef America”-ready, but you can usually manage to scrounge a sharp knife and a pot with a lid from your RLC or friends. That’s all you’ll need for these two recipes (plus maybe a dishtowel or washcloth to use as potholder).
There are all kinds of arguments about what constitutes a healthy diet, and since I spent most of high school nutrition class writing a spy novel, I’m not going to try to dictate the ideal diet. However, most people agree that vegetables are good for you, and in light of that, I offer two easy vegetable recipes that require no specialized equipment or cooking talent, just the aforementioned sharp knife and pot with a lid.
Yes, these recipes make too much for a normal person to eat in a single sitting. You can invest in some Tupperware or eat with your friends.
Recipe 1: Glazed Carrots
If you don’t like glazed carrots, you clearly had some kind of childhood trauma. These will help ease that pain. For this, you’ll need: 3 cups water, 5 tablespoons butter, 3 teaspoons sugar, 1 teaspoon salt, and 2 pounds carrots. Peel the carrots (knife or vegetable peeler) and slice them into 1-inch chunks. That’s about the width of two fingers. Put everything into the pot, and put the pot on the stove on high. Cook, covered, for about 7 minutes. Then remove the lid and cook until the carrots reach the tenderness you prefer (generally about 5 minutes). Drain and serve hot. Increase the sugar if you like sweeter carrots.
Recipe 2: Pan-Roasted Broccoli
I know lots of people hate broccoli. Frankly, I’m not the biggest fan of steamed broccoli. This is different. You need a head of broccoli, 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil, ½ teaspoon of salt, and 3 tablespoons of water. Cut the broccoli into bite-sized florets, and then peel about ¼ inch off the stalk (it’s delicious) and cut it into ½ inch slices. Heat the oil in a pot or pan on medium until it shimmers and add the broccoli stalks evenly. Cook without stirring for 2 minutes. Add the florets, stir, and cook without stirring for 2 minutes more. Sprinkle with salt and then add the water, covering immediately. Cook 2 minutes more. Uncover and cook until broccoli is crisp but tender, about 1 or 2 minutes. Serve with lemon or butter or both.
Recipe for Pan-Roasted Broccoli is from Cooks Illustrated.