Monday, July 12, 2010

Say No to Rice Kitchen!

As many of us leave the comforts of home for rented houses or apartments along the streets of East Lansing, one of the scariest aspects of this newfound independence is the kitchen. While some of you may be an Emeril or Paula Deen in the making, most of us are lazy college students whose closest encounter with Bobby Flay is flipping through the TV channels on a lazy summer day.

If inexperience or fear isn’t your excuse to avoid cooking, then what is? Since we will all be busy come fall with classes and extracurriculars, time is not to our advantage. If you have time to call up Rice Kitchen or Pizzahouse and sit around waiting for the bell to ring like one of Pavlov’s dogs, you certainly have time to cook a homemade meal. Not only does homecooking cut the time and cost of food, it is a lot healthier. The list of health problems that come as side order to restaurant food is scary and depressing: high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes, and heart disease are only a few. The high amount of calories, trans fat and cholesteral in these foods is alarming and certainly not friendly to any diet. Cooking for yourself will improve your health and bulk up your wallet, not your waistline.

Here are some recipes that will take less than 30 minutes, are less than 400 calories per serving, and are easy no matter your experience in the kitchen!

Loaded Pizza

You’ll Need:

12” Boboli whole-wheat thin pizza crust

1 cup tomato-basil pasta sauce (Try Muir Glen)

2 cups shredded part-skim mozzerella

15 slices turkey pepperoini

½ cup chopped roasted red peppers

½ cup chopped green olives

2 cloves garlic, minced

½ teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 jar (6 oz) artichoke hearts, drained

How to Make It:

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Cover the crust with sauce and then cheese. Sprinkle with the pepperoni, peppers, olive, garlic, pepper flakes, and artichokes.

Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until the cheese is melted and bubbling. Serve immediately.

Makes 4 servings/ Cost per serving $3.00/ 300 calories per serving

Chicken Fried Rice

You’ll Need:

1 Tbsp vegetable oil

4 scallions, green and whites separated, chopped (Scallion greens are best used for garnish at the end, whereas the white should be used as onions to built the flavor)

1 Tbsp fresh ginger

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 medium zucchini, diced

2 carrots, diced

2 cups bite sized broccoli florets

2 cups mushrooms, stems removed, sliced

½ lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs, sliced into thin bite-size pieces

4 cups cooked brown rice

2 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce

2 eggs, lightly beaten

How to Make It:

In a large nonstick skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. When the oil is lightly smoking, add the scallion whites, ginger and garlic and cook for 30 to 45 seconds. Add the zucchini, carrots, broccoli, and mushrooms and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, using a spatula to stir the vegetables throughout. Add the chicken and continue cooking for 2 to 3 minutes, until the pieces are no longer pink.

Stir in the rice and soy sauce and cook for another 5 minutes, allowing the rice to get crispy on the bottom. Create and empty space in the middle of the pan and add the eggs. Use a spoon or the spatula to quickly scramble the eggs until light and fluffy, then stir them into rest of the ingredients. Serve garnished with the scallion greens.

Makes 4 servings/ Cost per serving: $ 3.57/ 390 Calories per serving

Recipes are from Eat This, Not That! Available in bookstores nationwide.

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