On some of these nights, though, my friends and I try to cook. This is more difficult than it might seem because I live in a dorm with a shared kitchen devoid of all cooking basics (flour, sugar, um, spoons?). Stocking an entire kitchen just to make one meal is expensive and time consuming. Thus, I've been trying to come up with tasty, hearty foods that can be cooked on the cheap in my rudimentary kitchen. Tonight, with much success, I made this chili:
Communal-Living College Chili RecipeTo be enjoyed with the single bowl and spoon you keep in your dorm. It's probably that same bowl from Target that everyone else has. (This isn't a joke; at least half of the people in my dorm, including myself, have this bowl and its coordinating plate.)Ingredients:2 tbs. "something greasy" (olive oil, canola oil, veggie oil, etc.)1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes (not drained)2 stalks celery, chopped3 cloves garlic chopped (or equivalent amount of garlic powder)3/4 large red onion, chopped1 15 oz. can kidney beans (drained)1 15 oz. can black beans (drained)1 15 oz. can chick peas (drained)1 15 oz. can corn (drained)some salt1/2 packet McCormick's chili seasoningHeat your "something greasy" in a large pot over medium heat. Stir in your onion. Cook until onion is soft, then add garlic and celery. Cook a little more. Add salt.Pour in can of tomatoes (this will make the mixture look gross and watery). Bring mixture to a boil. When celery begins to soften, pour in the rest of the ingredients. Continue to cook on high until your mixture looks less like soup and more like chili (water from tomatoes will evaporate). When most of the water has evaporated, turn down heat and simmer until mixture actually looks like chili.Make one box of Jiffy corn muffin mix (follow the directions on the box). Optional toppings: sour cream and shredded cheddar.
I adapted this recipe from one that I found here. The best part about chili is that you can leave out anything that you don't like, and throw in things you already have. The entire meal (including chili, cornbread, cheese, and sour cream) fed four people and cost a total of $21 to make. Kitchen implements used in preparation: 1 bowl, 1 pot, 1 pan, 1 knife, 1 whisk (for stirring/serving, we didn't have any spoons...)
One of the most entertaining parts of college daily life is seeing how people adapt to living in weird, communal conditions with little spending money. I've seen doorstops made out of everything from duct taped beer cans to dog eared copies of Das Kapital. A friend of mine can produce a dozen or so dips from the contents of the meal-plan salad bar. It's interesting to me how living in identical 10'x12' boxes with limited resources leads to so much creativity....