Freshman Friday: Avocado Egg Salad

Welcome back for another edition of Freshman Friday, a weekly installment using only kitchen appliances that can be used in a dorm and food stuffs that can fit in a mini fridge.

Eggs are amazing. Hard boiled, soft boiled, over easy, over hard, and, of course, scrambled with cheese. In any iteration, these portable protein powerhouses (oooh, natural alliteration) are one of that staples for any fridge, big or small.

So, how do you cook the eggs without leaving your room? Well, if you want over easy, over hard, or fried, I’m still working on figuring that out. I’ve already showed you that eggs can be scrambled in the microwave. So all that’s left are boiled eggs and for that, a rice cooker is very handy.  A rice cooker should not be limited to making only rice (and actually, since I prefer brown rice, I haven’t used my rice maker to make rice since I got it). In fact, a rice cooker can be used to cook anything that needs to be boiled or steamed. I’ve cooked pasta and eggs, in addition to steaming vegetables (fresh and frozen) and some frozen (though thawed) dumplings. So get one, post haste and let’s get cooking!

Avocado Egg Salad on Rice Cake

Avocado Egg Salad

Avocado Egg Salad Ingredients

Adapted from Australian Avocado

Ingredients

  • 4 Eggs (Missing from the photo because they were still boiling)
  • 1 medium sized avocado
  • 2 stalks of celery
  • 1-2 tbsp of sweet relish
  • 1-2 tbsp of dill pickle juice
  • Various seasonings (I used pepper, Old Bay, and garlic powder)

Directions

  1. Boil your eggs, obviously. 
  2. When cool, chop your eggs into pieces. For ease, I like to cut my eggs in half, lay one half down (flat side down), cut in one direction, and, while squeezing the egg to keep it together, rotate and cut in the other direction for a loose dice.
    IMG_0366  Dicing Eggs: Step 2
  3. Put eggs in bowl. Next, slice open the avocado and slice the celery. For this recipe, I would suggest getting a slightly overripe avocado (an avocado that is very soft when squeezed) unless you have a blender. For this recipe, I used my Magic Bullet (six years and still going strong!) to blend my avocado chunks into a mayo like texture. Once done, add avocado and celery to eggs and mix.
  4. Next, add your sweet relish and dill pickle juice. I use a 1:1 ratio (meaning I add them evenly). If you’ve never made egg salad before, I suggest starting with the smaller amount, tasting, and either adding more or leaving it alone. Finally, season to taste and mix.

Avocado Egg Salad

Now, you can enjoy your egg salad right away, but I prefer to let it cool in the fridge and then top a rice cake with a slice of cheese and a quarter cup of salad. This is not the best looking recipe, but the avocado provided a creaminess similar to mayo and my addition of spices (and the pickle juice) helped to round out the flavor.

Final Verdict: Delicious

Lasagna Soup

I am in love with my crockpot. Completely and totally infatuated. Once, my boyfriend broke the liner of the crockpot (the part you can remove to clean) and I was devastated. But I got another and have been slow cooking to my little heart’s content. What I love the most is putting ingredients into the crockpot, going to sleep, and waking up to at least a week of delicious meals. It’s one of the easiest things to start learning how to cook because it is very, very difficult to screw things up. So enough talking, on to the recipe!

Lasagna Soup-Finished

Lasagna Soup- Adapted from Family Fresh Meals

Ingredients

  • Ground beef or sausage (I used Mild Italian Sausage)
  • 3-4 cups of beef broth
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 bulb of roasted garlic (or 4-5 cloves finely chopped)
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes (28 oz.)
  • 1 can of tomato paste (6 oz.)
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes with green chilies (10 oz.)
  • 1 can of fire roasted tomatoes (14 oz.)
  • 1 can of chopped green chilies (6 oz.)
  • Garlic powder (to taste)
  • Italian seasoning (to taste)
  • Shell pasta (uncooked)
  • Cheese (as much of the glorious substance as you wish)

Directions

  1. If you have time, brown your meat. You do not have to do this because given enough time (6-8 hours) the crock will throughly cook all meat, but browning the meat gives the dish an amazing level of flavor. Put the beef in the crockpot.
  2. Add the roasted garlic. This is another step that adds an unbelievable amount of flavor, but requires some pre-planning. But I can attest to the fact that once roasted, a bulb will stay fresh in a ziploc baggie for at least a week. To roast the garlic, put the bulb in the center of a large square of foil, cut the tip of the bulb, generously pour olive oil onto the exposed cloves, wrap the foil around the bulb, and put in the oven at 400 degrees for an hour or more. Delicious!
  3. Add the tomatoes, green chilies, water, 3 cups of beef broth, and seasoning. Stir and put the lid on the crockpot. Cook on low for 6-8 hours (or high for, I’m assuming, 3-4, but if I’m using the slow cooker, I’m going to cook my meal slowly so all of the flavors have time to come together).
  4. Approximately 30 minutes before serving, add the uncooked pasta and an addition 1/2 to full cup of broth. I didn’t and, as a result, I had to add a little bit to each serving.
  5. Serve with cheese. You could also add sour cream or green onions, but I was heading to work and did not have time for all of that.

I have not had one recipe come out of the crockpot that I have not loved and this is no exception. It’s warm and filling and easy, all the makings of a great meal in my book!

Final Verdict: Delicious

Pizza Rolls aka Giant Rolled Hot Pockets

So I’m always on the lookout for quick simple recipes that look very impressive. This recipe hit 2.5 of those needs. The only downfall is the proofing time, but if you take the bread out in the morning, it’ll be proofed and ready by the time you come home. Well, on to the recipe.

Pizza Rolls

adapted from What About Pie

Ingredients

  • Frozen bread dough (chosen for ease, if you have a pizza dough or bread recipe you love and the time to do it, by all means, do it!)
  • Deli pepperoni (much larger than regular pizza pepperoni; I needed a little more than 1/2 lb. for two rolls)
  • 2 cups italian shredded cheese blend
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Garlic powder
  • Italian seasoning
  • Olive oil

Directions

Proof your dough (this is a fancy way of saying let your dough sit on the counter and rise). Below my dough after about four-five hours. What A Pie suggests (and I second) spraying the side of the plastic wrap that will touch the bread with cooking spray. I also put sprayed parchment paper under the dough.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Next, roll out your dough into some form of a rectangle. I had a bit of a difficult time working with my second roll. In hindsight, I should have walked away from the dough for a couple of minutes and let it calm down, but I didn’t. Ah well, you live you learn, right?

Pour about three tablespoons of oil onto your dough and spread it. Sprinkle on your seasonings and lay down your pepperoni. On my first roll, which was far more cooperative, I managed to get five rows of four. Put your cheese on top of your pepperoni and roll. What A Pie put melted butter on top of her rolls (and they turned out gorgeously), but all the butter in my fridge is spoken for so I used a little more oil, some seasoning, and more cheese (because you can never have enough cheese :-D). Repeat with second (or third) roll and put them in the over for approximately 25 minutes. *Note These will rise more in the oven, so make sure you have room between your rolls and the top rack or top of your oven.*

Look at this deliciousness.

These were amazing straight out of the oven and even better for lunch the next day. I cooked two rolls and after two meals for two people, I still have about 3/4 of a roll left.

Final Verdict: Delicious

Lunch: Bacon Cheeseburger Wrap

Who loves a hot, juicy cheeseburger? *Raises hand.* Who can successfully keep a burger patty together when flipping it? *Crickets.* Well, luckily, Emily Bites, has solved that problem with her bacon cheeseburger wraps. Seriously, this recipe is awesome. The bacon and beef took the longest time, but from start to finish was about 25 minutes. Ready, well let’s go!

Bacon Cheeseburger Wraps (adapted from Emily Bites)

Ingredients

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  • Ground beef (I used 80%/20%, but next time, I’m going to try some ground turkey and could even see this being successful with soy crumbles.)
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Cheese (I used sliced American and it was amazing, but I could see this being great with any type of easy melting cheese)
  • Tomato (optional)
  • Bacon (optional)
  • Burrito size tortillas
  • Various spices to season your meat or “meat” (I used my ever present ground pepper, garlic pepper, and garlic powder.)

Directions

  • Begin by cooking your bacon. I bake mine. To do so preheat your oven to 400 degrees and (1) line a baking sheet with foil, (2) spray the foil with cooking spray, (3) place the bacon on the foil, (4) cover with pepper (option, but necessary if you talk to anyone who has had peppered bacon), and (5) bake for 17-20 minutes.
  • Slice your onion, if using. In a skillet, begin by sautéing your garlic and onions. You want your onions to be soft before adding your meat.
  • Once the onions are soft, add your meat, to brown.
  • When your meat is 3/4 cooked, add your spices.
  • Once the meat is cooked, drain (if necessary).
  • If your tortillas are stiff, microwave between damp paper towels for 10-15 seconds.
  • Put approximately 1/2 cup of the meat mixture in the center of a tortilla. Your measurements do not have to be exact, but err on the side of less meat, you do not want your burritos to explode.
  • Top your meat with cheese (I used two slices), bacon (six 1/2 slices), and tomato.

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  • To close your wrap: (1) bring the sides in so they (slightly) overlap (you may have to push your wrap contents down so they are not spilling out) and (2) fold the bottom flap up and turn the whole thing over. If you have done this correctly, you’ll have a square like shape, seam side down.
  • In a clean skillet, place the burrito seam side down and cook for 3-4 minutes. Flip and cook for another 3-4 minutes.
  • Remove and enjoy.

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You may notice that there are no toppings on this. I felt that there was no need, but others in my household felt ketchup was necessary. Your decision.

Final Verdict: Delicious

Freshman Friday: English Muffin Pizza

Welcome back for another edition of Freshman Friday, a weekly installment using only kitchen appliances that can be used in a dorm and food stuffs that can fit in a mini fridge.

Last week, breakfast. This week, lunch. I can’t say this is how it will work out every week, but if it works, it works, right?

So, for me, lunch often needs to be quick to make and easy to carry. Enter stage left, english muffin pizzas. They require ingredients that can be left in the fridge for weeks, can be put together in less than 5 minutes, and, depending on your eating habits, can be consumed in less than 10. So, all this prattle about a quick meal is a little counterintuitive, huh? Well, onto the recipe.

English Muffin Toaster Pizzas

Ingredients

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  • English muffin (as many as you want)
  • Cheese (I used shredded mozzarella)
  • Sauce (I used canned tomato sauce and added some parsley and Italian seasonings, but if you have prepared sauce, go ahead)
  • Toppings (I used pepperoni, you may use whatever you like, but remember you’re limited by the width of your toaster)

Directions

  • Split your english muffin.
  • Spoon on your sauce. I used about 3/4 of a tablespoon. You can use more, but apply with caution, you don’t want to have to clean out your toaster. I’ve never done it, but I can imagine, it’s not pretty.
  • Add your cheese and toppings.
  • Turn your toaster on its side and put one muffin slice on each level. Here, I had to push down on my pizza a bit to get it to fit.

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  • Toast to your hearts content. I did one round at level 3.5, but next time, I will do two rounds, rotating the muffins between toasting rounds.
  • Enjoy!

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This method can also be used to make delicious grilled cheese sandwiches. Toast away!

Final Verdict: Delicious.

If there is something you’d like to see created for Freshman Friday, let me know. See you next week!