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Mug down

Homestyle food in a dorm room microwave

Special to The Battalion

Published: Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Updated: Tuesday, October 16, 2012 19:10

Photos by Sheila de Guzman

Guzman creates a dorm-friendly meal with chicken, corn, mashed potatoes and vegetables.

Sheila de Guzman

This instant, warm remedy made with ginger, honey and lemon juice, soothes sore throats and congestion.

Shiela de Guzman

Students who lack an oven can create a single-serving cake with only three ingredients.

Inspired by the limitations of dorms and the cold weather, I’ve decided to share a meal-in-a-mug, a cake-in-a-cup and a soothing concoction for anybody else suffering from a sore throat. These aren’t mind-blowing recipes, but every now and then we need to be reminded of simple and cheap meals that we can cozy up to.

 

            For as little as $10, you can have one or more meals that can be as lean or as filling as you want. Rotisserie chicken costs between $5-$6, which makes it a good value. Pick up a bag of Ore-Ida’s Steam n’ Mash potatoes in the frozen food section for about $2.50. Smooth mashed potatoes calls for some milk and butter; so be sure to pick those up too. Then quickly grab some canned veggies such as peas or sweet corn for less than a dollar. Put a layer of mashed potatoes in a large mug or bowl and you can either top it off with the chicken and veggies or mix it all up. Like I said, it’s not mind-blowing, but it’s a quick and cozy comfort.

            Replace the chicken with steamed veggies for a vegetarian option. Put chopped zucchini and yellow squash in a microwaveable bowl and pour about a tablespoon of water. Press a paper towel onto the veggies so that it’s wet and heat up for about a minute or two, checking tenderness throughout. After draining excess water, I like to add a dash of garlic powder and Tony Chachere’s, but seasoning is up to you.

            Want a little sweetness? Why not make a small cake? I found the recipe for a cake-in-a-mug off of The Hidden Pantry blog and it’s a little piece of joy! Simply mix together 1 box of Angel Food cake mix and a box of any flavor cake mix; I chose a yellow cake mix. Depending on the size of the cup, combine 3 tablespoons of the cake mix with 2 tablespoons of water and stir lightly. Stir enough so that the dry ingredients are incorporated with the water, but no more than that. Over-stirring causes the cake to come out like a sponge. Microwave for about a minute and voila: an individual dessert at any time you want. You can even add a sprinkle of cinnamon or a tablespoon of hot chocolate mix to kick it up. When the cake cools off, I smear a layer of raspberry preserves and put a dollop of fresh whipped cream on top

            A warm drink to go with your cake is a special concoction I make for when I have a sore throat. I peel and cut up ginger, putting about 2-4 small chunks at the bottom of a mug. I drizzle a healthy helping of honey (about 1 tablespoon), add dashes of cinnamon (maybe about 1 tsp.) and warm up the base for about 30 seconds. Then I add the juice of half of a freshly squeezed lemon and cut some wedges to put in the base. Fill up the mug with water and heat up again for a minute. Now you can have a soothing drink to go with your cake and feel good about your “dorm-cooked” meal. 

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