Many of the single geek guys I know are not very handy in the kitchen. They tend to live on pizza, ramen and things eaten straight out of the can. I know that I’ve been guilty of these same habits for far too long. I’m beginning to learn that cooking isn’t all that difficult – even for those of you whose brain is wrapped around some piece of code.
Have you heard of a slow cooker? Who knew these things could literally save lives? It takes about five minutes to throw something in there and turn it on. You can then go back to your work (or games!) for 6-8 hours. Pull yourself away, dump the food onto a plate and its time for noms! I’m not kidding, guys. This is pure genius.
Are you a fan of cheese? Take a couple of boneless, skinless chicken breasts (yes, you can use the frozen kind) and put them in the crock pot. Dump in two cans of nacho cheese soup and two cans of cream of chicken soup. Mix it all up and let it cook for about six hours on low settings. You don’t need to add any seasonings or other ingredients. This cheesy fabrication will fill you up and keep you happy for hours.
Again for chicken fans – cook some chicken breasts with your favorite salsa. When it’s finished, it will be a snap to shred the meat up and use it on sammiches or on top of a mound of mashed taters. Good gravy this is simple.
Speaking of gravy – did you know that the store usually carries a roast ready to go into the slow cooker? Check the meat section… they’ll have a roast, the seasoning packet AND the veggies in one tidy little package. Dump the roast in the pot, add some water and the seasonings and start cooking. A few hours later, you can toss in the veggies and let them roast another couple of hours. Voila! You have just made one hell of an awesome meal. (This one is an excellent way to impress a *girl*)
What ways do you keep yourselves fed, guys… NOT counting the pizza, top ramen and canned junk?
Being a single guy living alone, I’m able to eat anything I want for dinner. I admit to eating some strange things now and then, but this stuff takes the cake.
Someone suggested I try Ramen Noodles. Okay, fine! I headed to the store and found out that you can buy like a case of these little packets of food stuffs for around a dollar. I only bought one, though, to see if I would even like it.
After opening the package and taking a bite, I couldn’t figure out why they tasted so plain. It says “Chicken Flavor” right on the front! Thank goodness the chat room pointed the way to the little packet of flavoring still inside the original package.
Dumping half of that in my mouth didn’t really make it taste like chicken, though. It just tasted like I licked a big block of salt. What’s up with that?
I don’t know what I’m doing wrong here, but I don’t think I’ll be crunching on these again any time soon.
This is TheSlimJim’s submission for the HP Magic Giveaway. Feel free to leave comments for this article as you see fit – your feedback is certainly welcomed! If you’d like to submit your own how-to, what-is, or top-five list, you can send it to me. Views and opinions of this writer are not necessarily my own:
You know of them. I bet you have heard of the infamous 12-13 cent (or 10 cent if you skimp and go for the Wal-Mart brand) packet that is the staple of every college undergraduate’s diet. Those salty noodles have been stuffing my belly for years (and keeping me slim in the process), and in those years I have prepared Ramen a couple ways ranging from boiling it in a pot on a stove to boiling it in a butter bowl in the microwave. I have also flavored my Ramen in some various fashions from bouillon cubes to string cheese (which did not end up tasting good) to even Ranch dressing in Creamy Chicken flavored Ramen (oh, and I go for Maruchan, BTW, they haven’t failed me yet). The method I currently use is what I have been using for the past year with great results.
This method involves:
1 (or 2 if you’re hungry) Ramen Packet(s) (any flavor, I generally use beef)
1 Butter Bowl (a large bowl also works, but only if preparing one packet, and be sure it’s microwave safe)
Water (I surely hope you can find this somewhere)
Microwave (to actually cook the Ramen)
Now, on to the method:
Open the packet(s) of Ramen and lay the seasoning packet aside (if you have an extra packet that has dried veggies, you can just dump those, I imagine). If you are preparing two packets at one time, I would break the noodle block in half where the break is parallel to the direction the noodles lay.
Insert your noodle block(s) in the container. Hopefully this isn’t too hard. Because I use a butter bowl, I generally try to lay them in side by side so as to fit them all in the butter bowl.
Fill the container with water, but not to the brim. I generally fill it with water up to about an inch from the top of the butter bowl.
Place your container in your microwave and set it for 3 minutes on HIGH. This time may vary for you. One time it took me 9 minutes on an old microwave just to get the noodles aldente.
After it is done, turn the noodle block(s) and place back into the microwave for another 1 to 2 minutes to ensure that your noodles are cooked evenly.
When that is done, take the container out and drain the water off until the water is a little less than level with the noodles. I keep some of the water so that when I season it, I will have some soup left over after I’m done with the noodles.
Season the noodles with your seasoning packet(s) and mix thoroughly. If you want, you can experiment here (but only at your own risk!) and add steamed shrimp, chives, or whatever else you might want in it.
Once that is done, enjoy the frugal, sodium-laden noodle soup of joy!
UncleJohn is a long-time community member, as well as a halfop in our live chat room. He is a bachelor, and sent in some tips on how to cook for just one.
Cook large meals that make good leftovers. For instance, cook the spaghetti sauce separate from the noodles. The sauce can be reheated, and added to in order to make other unique meals throughout the week. One example is my famous Hoagie and spaghetti sauce sandwich topped with chedder cheese.
Top Ramen Ramen noodles are your friend. Ramen by itself isn’t very good. You can use the plain Ramen noodles in meals, instead of buying actual spaghetti noodles. This can save a few bucks. These are cheap and easy to fix. The noodles tend to cook a lot faster then actual spaghetti.
Slow cookers Get yourself a slow cooker. You can cook stews, chili, and other large meals in these. Slow cookers will keep your food warm for a long period of time. The best part is the whole “dump it in and forget it” part. Once everything is in the pot, the slow cooker will do the rest.
Make “TV dinner” style meals You can freeze these, and heat them up whenever you need or want to. When you’re not in the mood to cook anything, zap one of these instead of an actual unhealthy TV dinner, or grabbing fast food.
Get yourself a vacuum sealing system These really work, and will keep your leftovers fresh for least a week. I wouldn’t trust them for any longer then that though.
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