Opinion | Cooking should not be costly or time consuming

By Rayna Wuh, Columnist

Moving into my first apartment, I, like many others, had to start thinking more about food. As the worst cook in a family full of people who make elaborate, flavorful dishes, I had never felt the need to spend much time in the kitchen.

I felt apprehensive about being able to cook at the same level without committing too much time. In my limited experience, I have found that little mistakes in cooking often do not adversely affect results, and you can gradually improve and find new ways to customize dishes. I have realized that it is possible to reduce the total amount of time spent on making food, while still having delicious and nutritious home-cooked meals.

In my first week of living in an apartment, I tried several successful dishes that yielded the biggest bang for my buck and my time.

Pasta, one of the first entrees I prepared, can easily be taken to the next level without using premade sauces. By eyeballing and combining a few kitchen staples like olive oil, garlic, onions and tomatoes, you can make a fresher, more appealing version of a common favorite.

The pasta is delicious and vegetarian if it is kept as made, but you can also eat it with chicken, shrimp or other sources of protein to personalize the meal. Using just one box, you will have plenty to share and leftovers to freeze. With just a few minutes in the microwave, the pasta tastes just as good as when it was first made. Fresh few-ingredient pasta is a meal that keeps giving for days or even weeks to come.

Fried rice is made with several of the same steps as the pasta, and it is perfect to make using leftovers. It also shines in its ability to be customized with different proteins, fresh or frozen vegetables and whatever else you may have in your kitchen. Like pasta, fried rice is a tasty, filling and cost-effective way to utilize all kinds of leftovers.

For dessert, chocolate chip cookies are quick to prepare. If you pace yourself, they are treats that can be shared over several days. While precision is often a crucial aspect of baking, chocolate chip cookies are very forgiving. Even without all of the correct ingredients or supplies, baking can also be a fun and satisfying activity.

Overall, you can enjoy more meals catered to your specific tastes even with the simplest modifications. Although the semester gets busy fast, going into the kitchen with slightly elevated recipes and techniques can be a valuable use of time and a cost-friendly alternative to constantly eating out.

 

Rayna is a sophomore in LAS.

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