Thursday, September 22, 2011

Cooking challenge

I have a real challenge for all of you out there.  As well as posting about the Hunger Challenge, I also contacted the food bank which was sponsoring it and have been corresponding with a very nice woman.  In our discussions about the very real difficulties of surviving on very little money, she pointed out a difficulty that had honestly never even crossed my comfortable middle-class mind.  Many of the people whom the food bank helps have very little by way of kitchens.  More than a few people are trying to get by with just a microwave and a hot plate.  (Now I know high-rent studio dwellers do this all the time, but I'm sure even they will agree that it is a very different experience.)  She asked me if I had any simple, low cost recipes that she could share with her clients.

And frankly, I'm stumped.  I've never had to cook this way, and it would be a very steep learning curve to be able to do so.  While I'm going to continue to try to come up with some ideas, I have a feeling that some of you out there can help.  What are some recipes that could be made to feed one, two, or three people that use inexpensive ingredients, but can be made using just a microwave and hot plate?

To me, this impaired ability to prepare food is as big a hurdle as obtaining the food.  So much low-cost cooking requires making things yourself.  And to make things, you need a way to do it.  I feel completely humbled by the richness of my very functional kitchen.  I have always been thankful for it, but am thankful in a very new way.

So how about it readers?  Share your best recipes and I will forward them to the food bank.

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Believe me when I say that I am completely aware of the irony in what I'm about to share.  I have a new article up at the web magazine I write for about my experience cleaning out the abundance or toys in my house. Feel free to click on it... and you don't even have to read it if you're tired of hearing me go on and on about this subject.  Toy Clutter:  How One Mom Regained Control

2 comments:

LawMommy said...

That is tough. I use my microwave for conveniece (to heat things up, to defrost things), but almost never for actual cooking.

The only dish I can think of that I make in the microwave is bean and cheese burritos. (Which involves putting a can of refried beans in a microwavable bowl, heating it for a minute, and then adding a bunch of cheese and heating it for another minute, and then adding some salsa, stirring the whole mess up, heating some more if necessary (yeah, it's ugly) and then spreading it on flour tortilla shells.

I shared this once with a friend of mine whose parents are from Mexico and he told me I was disrespecting the beans. And also that canned refried beans were not worth eating. BUT, it's actually pretty tasty, if you are hungry and not really familiar with what homemade refried beans taste like.

Jenny said...

What about crockpot recipes? I know it's not safe to assume that everyone has a crockpot/slow cooker, but maybe they do... and that kinda opens up some more possibilities.

In the microwave:

Add some seasoned sliced chicken {no bones} to a shallow dish with about 1/2 - 1 inch water. Steam until the chicken is cooked through.
In another microwave safe dish, steam noodles or instant brown rice.
Add the chicken to the noodles/rice and season all with a little butter or olive oil, salt, pepper, and lemon {fresh lemon, the bottled juice, or lemon pepper all work}.
Frozen or canned veggies such as peas are nice on the side or mixed in.

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