Sunday, November 3, 2013

81. Cooking on a Budget

"University is expensive." I'm sure most of us can agree to that. Not only are there tuition to pay, but there is also textbooks, food, and board. Let's not forget the application and admission fees as well. They just seem to be extorting money whenever and however possible. With so much of students' money going towards all these big fees and hidden overhead fees, how can we still have a fulfilling meal that's enough to keep us going through those long nights of studying (or cramming)? Fear not, there is a quick and simple solution I am about to show you.

The answer to your questions will be answered, and the solution is: soup. Ever since the beginning of the school term, I have discovered just how versatile simple cups of water and a few ingredients are. With the right seasonings, this soup will be highlight of your breakfast, lunch, and/or dinner!

The best thing about this "recipe", is that there is no restrictions or specific measurements. You can adjust it however you want and use anything you like. But, for this post, I will show you how I usually make my soup, as well as the Secret Formula I have trial-and-error-ed over and over again to find that perfect balance. Let's not waste anymore time.

1. First things first, boil water on whatever heat setting you want (if you can prepare the ingredients fairly quickly, put the setting on high, if not, then put the setting on low).

2. Next, prepare the ingredients:
- Carrots
- Potatoes
- Tomatoes
- Baby Bok Choy
- Bean Sprouts
- Mushrooms

3. Wash, peel, and dice to bite sized pieces.

Tip: Do not use green potatoes. They are poisonous and may give you food poisoning, and if consumed in large quantities, you will have an outer-world experience (ie. death).

So, chuck all the green potatoes away!

4. Once the water has boiled, chuck everything in the pot except the bean sprouts (unless you like mushy bean sprouts) and wait until it boils again.

5. In the meantime, you can get the Secret Formula (spices and sauces) ready:
- Ground pepper
- Salt
- Sesame Oil
- Vinegar

6. Once the water has boiled again, put a tablespoon of each in and adjust to taste. For the vinegar, a little goes a long way, so you don't need to put more than a tablespoon in.

7. After that, add in the bean sprouts and turn the heat off after a minute or two.

8. Then it is ready to be served. I like to have rice with my soup.

Not only is the soup healthy (no oil needed!), it is also super simple to prepare and is ready in 15 ~ 20 minutes. All these ingredients are pretty cheap and can be bought at your local grocery stores. You do not have to stick to the ingredients shown - play around and discover your own perfect Formula!

Some suggestions for other ingredients are:
- Tofu (for some protein)
- Noodles (substitute for rice)
- Eggs (more protein)

Now you know how to cook a simple, yet delicious and healthy meal on a budget. Enjoy!