Meals In A Microwave: A Guide to Dorm Room Cooking

5 02 2007

Someone mentioned food in the comments a couple days ago, so I thought I would do a food post.  I’m off my campus meal plan because there’s not any/enough kosher food on campus for me to live on (there’s a deli that’s now supervised, which would be fine every once and a while, but it’s only open 4 and a half days a week, and really, how often can you eat deli?) I have Shabbos lunch and dinner with Chabad or Hillel, but that still leaves 6 days a week where I’m cooking on my own.

I do some cooking in the dorm kitchen (yes, I’m willing to use the treif stove and ovens as long as their clean.  I’m the only one eating the food, and I have to kasher all my stuff when I convert anyway, so it’s not worth it to stress out over that right now), but the kitchen is small, only one of the burners works at any given time, and you can never tell which one it will be.  I’m not kidding, you have to turn them both on, wait two minutes, and then hold your hand over each to see which one is hot.  (It’s funny when you’re not trying to cook on them. )  This means I do most of my cooking in my room using my microwave and rice cooker(which I recently figured out how to set up to keep water warm all Shabbos!  Hot tea on saturday morning is just about the best thing ever!).  After almost 5 months, I think I have a pretty good selection of food worked out.

Morning Star Farms- They make soy based burgers, “bacon”, chicken nuggets, etc.  They don’t taste like meat, but if you eat them with the expectation that what you’re going to eat is a texturized soy thing, they’re quite good.  Just don’t expect it to taste like a burger.  The one exception to this is the soy bacon, which (while it tastes nothing like pork bacon) tastes exactly like turkey bacon. Yum! The big advantage is that they have something like 15-16 grams of protein per serving. 

Near East everything-  Lots of rice pilaf and couscous boxed dishes, they make great lunches.  No protien, but they’re yummy, and healthy, and turn out really well in the microwave.  Also, they’re all kosher, even the meat ones and the cheese ones!  Sesame Ginger rice is my favorite, and the toasted almond rice pilaf is also wonderful.

Wacky Mac-  Microwave the noodles in enough water to cover them for 10 minutes, and then drain, add milk and the  bright orange cheese-ish stuff, and you’ve got lunch!  Faster than anything but the burgers.  It’s not terribly healthy, but it’s still good, and it’s the best mac and cheese I can have.  The only decent kosher Cheddar I’ve found is the Tillamook Kosher Mild Cheddar, and I can only find that on the West Coast.  :(

Nachos!- I’ve found acceptable kosher shredded pizza cheese here.  ‘nuf said. 

Microwave risotto-  This is, in all honesty, my favorite meal.  One batch is enough to last me a full day, and it’s delicious. 

  1. Microwave about a 1/4 cup chopped onion and 2 tablespoons of butter in a 9 inch microwavable pie dish for 2 minutes or so (the butter should be mostly melted)
  2. Add 1 cup arborial rice, stir and microwave for another minute and a half.
  3. Pour in 3 cups vegetable broth (Chicken broth would also work.  You would substitute olive oil or margarine for the butter in step 1 to keep it kosher.) Microwave for 12 minutes, stir and then microwave for another 10 minutes.  Rice should be mostly cooked by the end of that, if not microwave for 2 minute intervals until it is.  (these times are for my small microwave, they would probably be different in a different microwave, and it may take a bit of experimenting to work it out)
  4. While the rice is cooking, chop up whatever vegetables you want in the risotto.  I love adding carrots and onion with chick peas, but squash, bell peppers, etc would all work.  You can really add whatever you want, experiment!  After the rice is mostly cooked, add the veggies, stir and microwave for another 2 minutes to cook the vegetables. 

This serves two people for a dinner (well, it served me and my friend for dinner, with a tiny bit left for lunch for me.  Perhaps it would serve 3 for dinner if the people had normal appetites) and more if it were a side dish.  Anyway, it’s delicious, give it a try. Let me know how it works out! 

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8 responses

6 02 2007
mominisrael

You can make soups, quiches,and all kinds of casseroles in the m/w. I recommend the Well-FIlled Microwave Cookbook for techniques (but it’s not kosher).

6 02 2007
TikkunGer

hey, I like the new look.

I saw yesterday that you had added me to your blog roll and I was happy about that but today I see that I am no longer up.

that’s a bummer

6 02 2007
Emily

MomInIsrael – I have The Microwave Gourmet, which has a bunch of different recipes that I can adapt. I’ll have to Interlibrary loan the one you recomended though!

TikkunGer- Yeah, the other template was having display issues, so I switched to this one, which I think is easier to read to. Anyway, there WP did funny things with displaying my sidbar stuff, but I’m pretty sure it’s back up now.

6 02 2007
Chaviva

Do you eat the morningstar bacon? I can’t eat anything with any type of fake pork or fake shellfish or anything … it seems like skirting the true meaning of kashrut.

6 02 2007
Emily

Chaviva – The bacon, yes I do. Fake shellfish I don’t eat, but that’s largly because I’ve been allergic to shellfish most of my life, and so the smell of it makes me feel sick (fake or not). I think you can see it as skirting the true meaning of it, but it’s 100% within the letter of the law. I feel like there are already so many rules that anything that’s still allowed is fair game. If I start avoiding foods that seem outside of the deeper meaning, then where does that stop? Is using margarine ok instead of butter in meat dishes? What about drinking soy milk with a burger? For me, the deeper meaning of kashrut isn’t to deprive myself of things I enjoy, it’s to make sure that my faith is a part of the choices I make eating. I do follow all the rules, but I don’t feel bad about enjoying the full range of foods within those limits. Also, for what it’s worth, the “bacon” tastes nothing like pork, it tastes like turkey bacon (which is only like pork bacon in name and the fact that they both come in strips). Obviously you shouldn’t eat anything you’re not comfortable with, this is just my take on the issue.

7 02 2007
tnspr569

Very impressive!!

7 02 2007
Emily

Tnspr569- What you don’t realize is that last semester I more or less lived on rice and microwave instant indian food (which was more likly than not kosher, since it was veggie, and had a heksher, if not a really reliable one). It’s taken me 5 months to work out how to do get the whole cooking thing to work for me. :)

14 10 2008
Jack

You need a new stove top. That’s an electrical wiring problem….. in an appliance that could already burn the house down. =] Ah, but this is more than a year old… you probably bought a new one since then.

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