Cooking 4 Shea

The new dorm has a kitchen! Lord help us!  Just kidding, Shea.  But, here are a few things to help you get started in cooking for yourself.  There are:

Tips for Cheaper Eating
Our Simple Family Recipes
Things to do with 1 Box Prepared Mac-N-Cheese
Stuff to Do with Rice
Websites That May Help
Simple Recipes from Akamarti
Liv’s Recipes

Tips for Cheaper Eating

It is ALWAYS Cheaper to get it frozen and heat it up yourself than to go to a restaurant!  While you should not rely totally on convenience foods, you can not go wrong here.  Make it a night in with friends and watch a movie. Tell them you are making dinner but they need to bring soda/drinks/popcorn/candy!

Eat a can of veggies too! Then put away the leftovers of the high fat, high carb stuff like meats & noodles. By adding a can of veggies for .50c and making 2 meals out of your meat/noodle dish, you will eat better and save $.

Salads: Eat them with meals or as a meal. Pour right out of the bag. Top with chick peas, veggies, sliced meats, cheeses, pasta salads.

Soup stretching: add a can of veggies to whatever soup you have.  It makes it more stew-like.  Add more water if needed.

Beans = Meat: Both are proteins.  Open a can of pinto or black beans and use them as your protein item instead of meat.

Portions: Pay attention to portion size and the number of portions in a product.  You don't eat just one portion/serving necessarily; you need several servings per food group, per day.  How much is ONE serving? Consult the Food Pyramid to figure out how much you should be eating.  In addition to this, eat slowly. Take a drink between bites. Take small bites.  This helps you not to pig out totally and saves money because you eat less and have leftovers. Need help with portion sizes for things that don't have labels? Check out Calorie Counter.


Our Simple Family Recipes

Dump Cake

2 boxes jiffy muffin mix or one box cake mix (you pick the flavors)
1 can pie filling (make sure it will go with the flavor of the muffin or cake mix)
1 stick butter
Preheat oven to 350

  1. Grease casserole (can use spray)
  2. Dump in pie filling
  3. Sprinkle muffin or cake mix evenly over filling, pat down gently
  4. Melt butter in microwave; drizzle over muffin or cake mix
  5. Bake 45 minutes or until golden brown

Especially good with ice cream. We liked using a matching muffin mix/pie filling combo like both apple cinnamon or both blueberry.

Cake Mix Cookies

1 cake mix, any flavor
2 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil

Combine all ingredients. Mixture will be thick. Drop by spoonfuls onto greased baking sheets. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 7-9 minutes. Do not over bake; they are ready when edges are a tiny bit browned. Cool on pan for a minute before removing to paper towels or brown paper bags (like I use). Makes 24 cookies.

Note: Add a ½ cup of chocolate chips, nuts, toffee or candy pieces, etc. for variety. Also can sprinkle top with sugar before cooking.

Chili Dip

1 can chili no beans (that means only meat…but you could use the beans type if you wanted)
1 8 oz block of cream cheese or Velveeta (generic is fine too)

  1. Chop cheese into chunks into quart size nuke-able bowl.
  2. Pour chili over cheese
  3. Nuke 1 to 2 minutes & stir
  4. Repeat step 3 until cheese is melted
  5. Serve with tortilla chips

Can be made fancy if poured into a serving bowl and topped with chopped onion, sour cream, and/or shredded cheddar.  Do not nuke for more than 2 minutes or it could burn.

Little Hot Dogs

3 lbs meatballs, hotdogs, or sausages cut into 1 to 2 inch pieces (ANY type or combo is FINE – we have tried them all!)
1 bottle BBQ sauce (ANY)
1 8 oz jar jelly (ANY, but grape is cheapest & easiest – you can also mix and match to empty out the last bits of several jars)

  1. Pour jelly into crockpot & stir it like crazy to get it unjellied
  2. Pour BBQ sauce in and stir it with jelly
  3. Put meats in crockpot
  4. Set on low for 5 hours or high for 3 hours.

Italian Meat Sauce

1 lb ground beef
1 onion chopped
1 can spaghetti sauce
1 can diced or stewed tomatoes (if you want)
Garlic powder
  1. Brown meat with onion in fry pan or pot, drain out grease (not in the sink! Save a coffee can & put it under sink for that)
  2. Add sauce/tomatoes & as much garlic powder as you like
  3. Simmer 30 minutes or so in pan or pour into crockpot and put on low all day or high 4 hours.

Ways to serve: Serve over whatever noodles you have prepared. Ladle it over bread.  Mix it with small noodles, shredded mozzarella and/or a cup of cottage cheese. Bake in oven (350 for 45 minutes) and it is baked ziti. Always good with salad on the side!

Crockpot Chicken

2 lbs chicken – boneless, skinless breasts are good, but whatever you have. You can even do this with small whole chicken, just rinse & put neck down in crockpot.
1 dry soup mix – garlic herb is best, but any is fine
½ cub water (ONLY ½ cup!  Trust me!)

  1. Rinse chicken & layer in crockpot with soup mix, sprinkling a bit over every piece.
  2. Pour in water
  3. Cook on low for 6 hours, more is OK.

You can remove the chicken and add ½ cup rice to the broth. Let it cook till rice is tender, add water if needed.  Serve with chicken.


Things to Do with 1 Box Prepared Mac-N-Cheese.

First, eat 1/3 to ½ the Mac-N-Cheese with dinner the first night.  The next night, do one of these with leftovers.

ADD 1 lb Browned Ground Beef
Mix together with Mac-N-Cheese and do any of the following for a complete dinner (makes 2 to 4 servings so it will last for a couple meals)

  1. Stir in one can condensed tomato soup.  Just like beef-a-roni.
  2. Stir in one can condensed cream of whatever (you pick) soup.
  3. Stir in some salsa.
  4. Add a canned veggie.  The whole can!

ADD any of these combos to the Mac-N-Cheese
Stir in one can condensed cream of whatever (you pick) soup.

  1. Add some Peas & Chopped Ham

  2. Add some broccoli flowerets (cooked)

  3. Some Chopped Chicken.

  4. Some Chopped Ham

  5. Bake in baked casserole dish, topped with shredded cheese.


Stuff to Do with Rice

Recipe for Rice: 2 cups water, 1 cup rice. Boil water, add rice, stir, put on lid, simmer 15-20 minutes or till tender.

Souped-up rice: same as above except, instead of water, add 1 can cream of whatever soup and 1 ½ cans water. Cook the same, stirring occasionally.

Top a pile of rice with: (heat them up first or nuke the whole plate)

  1. Canned beans (black beans and chopped onions, YUM!)
  2. Can of chunky soup.

Websites That May Help

Aaron’s Easy Recipes
Click on the links to the left to check out other categories.  The main page opens to chicken recipes.

Busy Cooks at
Lots of options here including 4 and 5 ingredient foods and whole meals!  Also one titled EASIEST recipes.

Cooking 101
Lots of good links to basic kitchen questions, not only recipes. Check out the lessons.

Their recipe index has pulldown categories; there is one titled Easy/Quick Meals

Cooking by Numbers
Check off the ingredients you have and it will come up with recipes you can make without having to run to the store.

Favorite Brand Name Recipes
There are tons of recipes here, not all are just a few ingredients.  This list is 6 or fewer ingredients. It also has photos!

My favorite recipe sites are:

The recipe searches are great, you can even narrow down the ingredients.  The recipes may not be easy; they are from Gourmet & Bon Appetite magazines.

If you love something you got in a restaurant (usually chain stores only) this site will tell you how to make it.

Here is a crockpot site (may be a bit overwhelming…tons of recipes)

Crockpot Recipes


Simple Recipes from Akamarti

My son had only a one burner stove....not a lot you could do on that!

Boxed macaroni and cheese...add a can of chili for chili mac which we call pastafazoole and thought we invented. LOL!

Top Ramen (noodles) to which you add hard boiled egg, chives, dried veggies or drained veggies or canned chicken.

One day a week he made it a point to hard boil a bunch of eggs!

Stew in a can...not much you can do with it. Heat and eat.

Tuna pan and you have it. I add mushrooms and more veggies.

All of the hamburger helper meals are one dish, stove top.

Pasta-roni Angel Hair Pasta...drain a can of chicken and add to it. Side dish of veggies, of course!

Buy a packaged salad and add tomato and julienne sliced meats. Or hard boiled egg...or croutons...

Hot dogs are always fast and easy...I note I have slipped into thinking in camping mode rather than using basic ingredients...I try to do as little as I can when camping.

Ah..a camping recipe that cooks really quick. Costco or Sams club has these premade hamburger patties. Fry (I broil at home) up the amount you can eat. Remove from pan and drain off grease. Using gravy mix...(I always add mushrooms and sometimes dried onions and always chives and a few dried green peppers) mix up a couple cups of gravy. Plop the patties in it and let them cook gently for a little bit. Using (perish the thought...but for camping I do!) instant potatoes...Make the amount you will eat in another pan.. Voila, "Salisbury steaks" and potatoes. You CAN add veggies...but we prefer them on the side.

My absolute favorite camping recipe...that we eat a lot at home. Stir fry. I buy bags of frozen veggies. I buy chicken tenders. I quickly stir fry the tenders...I break them apart somewhat in the pan. I then add a drained can of mushrooms and some chopped onion. Stir that quickly. Then, I add the veggies and let it all cook for a while, peeking and stirring often. I whip out the Minute Rice and get it going. By the time the rice is done, I add teriyaki sauce to the veggie/chicken/mushroom mixture and we have dinner. You can also do Chinese noodles as the side dish or bean sprouts or whatever appeals to you.

Gently fry (boneless is best) pork chops until done. Add either tomato sauce and whatever ingredients appeal to you, or canned spaghetti sauce. Let it simmer for a while. Serve with whatever side dish you like. The chops just fall apart and absorb the tomato flavor. We usually do it with a side of spaghetti noodles.

Sloppy Joes are quick. Fry your hamburger and drain and add the canned sloppy Joe mix and throw it all on a bun. Takes just minutes.

Let me think of ACTUAL cook in the kitchen things and get back to you....I think I may have gotten toooooo simple here!


Liv’s Recipes

In keeping with Marti's camping

If there's an oven here's a really simple thing

Use aluminum foil put into it
Chicken or hamburger patties
whatever veggies you want basically
add salt pepper..any other seasonings
cook 350 for maybe 30-1 hr
open up foil..toss the food on a plate and throw away the aluminum pots or pans to clean!!

I have tons also..but saw Marti's camping thing and had to run with it ;-)~~~Liv