Dorm Rat Cooking: A boring stir-fry

This meal requires a little more equipment than the last few I’ve done.

To make this meal, you need:

  • Frying pan
  • Cutting board
  • Sharp Knife
  • A heat source
  • A way to make rice (I have a microwave rice cooker and a microwave)


Per person served:

  • .25-.5 lb diced chicken (thighs are good for this and cheap)
  • ¼ c diced onion
  • 1 T minced garlic (I use the stuff you squeeze out of a bottle when space is limited)
  • ¼ c thinly sliced carrots
  • ¼ c broccoli flowerets
  • ¼ c sliced red peppers (In reality, you can put almost any veggies you like in this, but you want ¾-1 c veggies per person)
  • 1/8 c Kikkoman Stir fry sauce (In real life I never do this, but make my own. When I have limited space in a kitchen, this stuff works great)
  • 2T oil. (I use Peanut oil for stir frys in Real Life, but for all-purpose cooking oil, olive works out great)
  • ½ c rice
  • 1 c. water

Cooking the rice

This little plastic microwave rice cooker does the job. Typically, I use two cups of water per cup of uncooked rice and microwave on high for 13-15 minutes. You’ll have to experiment with your own microwave, as power can vary.

Stir Fry

For the stir fry, you heat the oil first, then add the meat and aromatics (in this case onion and garlic. Fresh ginger is amazing in this, but I was being lazy). When they start sizzling (Call it five minutes or so), add the carrots. After a couple of minutes, add the broccoli. I don’t like broccoli too tender, so give it about three or four minutes, then add the peppers.

When the peppers are as tender as you like (not very, in my case) add the stir fry sauce. Heat it up for about a minute and a half, then serve over the rice.

Dorm Rat Cooking: Sausage Time!

Here we have another great meal when you have few utensils and little space. Make this delicious pasta dish in a deep-frying pan; it doesn’t even require a colander!

You only need the following kitchen equipment:

  • Heating source (Hot plate or camping stove. I’d even attempt it over a fire, but it’d need to be a hot one)
  • Cutting board
  • Sharp knife
  • Deep Pan

Basil Fettuccini with Sausage

(serves two. Scale up for larger party)

  • ½ lb Italian sausage, sliced
  • ½ lb Fettuccini
  • Handful fresh basil, torn or chopped into pieces
  • ½ large red pepper
  • ¼ c onion sliced fine
  • 2T Minced garlic or 2 cloves garlic sliced fine
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 2 ½ c water
  • 3 T olive oil
  • ¼ c grated parmesan cheese

Drizzle olive oil in the bottom of the pan. Arrange ingredients according to the picture. The important thing is to have the pasta in the middle as flattened out as possible. Pour in water and turn on high heat. As the pasta starts to soften, you need to stir or shake the pan frequently. If you’re using something like Fettuccini, you’re going to need to cook it for about fifteen minutes. If you’re using spaghetti, you’ll want a little less water, and you’ll want to cook for less time. Be careful not to use something like angel hair or the sausage will never have a chance to cook thoroughly.

When the pasta is soft, and the water has thickened to more of a sauce, add parmesan cheese and serve.

This meal is easy and quick. You don’t need a lot of equipment, it uses fresh ingredients, and it takes less than half an hour. My kind of meal!

After we ate, I commented that it might be better if you browned the sausage first, then added the water and other ingredients. But still, quite easy and tasty.

Dorm Rat Cooking: Intro

I’d mentioned I was going to be cooking some meals in a very limited kitchen for the next few months. A friend of mine said it sounded like I was going to be a dorm rat, and I liked the way that sounded, so I went ahead and totally stole the expression for this series.

I’ll be experimenting with several different menus, and different kinds of equipment you can fit in a small space. These meals will not only work in a small, not very equipped kitchen, but in an RV, or other situation where you have little prep space and few burners. (I only have one).

For the meal I made tonight, you will need:

  • A hot plate of some sort.
  • A sharp knife
  • A cutting board
  • A deep pan with a lid (I bought mine at K-Mart for about 18 bucks. It has a Teflon coating and is steel, so it works with my induction cooker).
  • A sink to wash up. My sink is about the size of a bar sink.

I am going to be making a lot of one-pan meals over the next few months. The other utensil I will be making extensive use of is a crock pot.

Bratwurst and Potatoes

  • 1 lb bratwurst
  • 2 medium potatoes
  • ½ medium onion
  • 1 T minced garlic
  • 1 large red pepper
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 T olive oil

The key to this recipe coming out well is lower heat and patience. Heat the pan with some olive oil and add the brats. Cover and while they cook, prep the potatoes by dicing in 2-inch cubes. I didn’t have a potato peeler, so I just scrubbed them well and left the skin on. Hey, it’s more nutritious that way, right?

Add the potatoes and cook covered on a medium heat for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally (especially if you’re not using a Teflon pan) or shaking the pan semi-frequently.

Add the onions and garlic, and cook covered another ten minutes, stirring or shaking occasionally. When the onions start to brown a little, and the potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork, add the peppers and cook uncovered for another three to five minutes, depending on how crispy you like your veggies.

This serves two to three people, depending how hearty your appetites. IF you’re cooking just for yourself, adjust volumes accordingly.

My husband’s comment was that this was <unprintable>ing delicious.