Everyday Veggies: 20 Minute Dinner

Our meal contracts ended at the end of the semester (almost three weeks ago). Because we're on campus training, we are given per diem to pay for our food.

Our budget for this week is $12/day. I know this seems like a lot, but with no cooking equipment, and very few resources (like olive oil, or spices) this is a pretty limited budget. It feels even smaller when you need to eat between 3000 and 4000 calories a day just to maintain weight.

So I've been all about cheap, easy, fast meals. (When it's 95 and you finished practice at 7PM, easy and fast are key ingredients.)

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20-Minute Dinner: Rice and Veggies
serves 2 (generously)

big pot
frying pan

1c white rice ($0.50)
a large bunch of kale ($2)
0.5 small head of purple cabbage ($0.50)
pre-chopped mushrooms (or you can chop your own)  ($2)
0.25 medium onion (optional) ($0.08)
olive oil (as much as you can pilfer from the public kitchen)
chili flakes, or whatever other spices you find in the kitchen

1. Put the rice and 2c of water into a big pot. (Use more rice to stretch this meal even further.) Turn it to high.
2. Remove the stems from the kale. Keeping them separate, chop the cabbage and the onion.
3. When the rice boils, turn it to low and add the kale to the pot. Put the lid on.
4. Heat olive oil in a frying pan. When it's hot, add the spices and onions. Cook 2-3 minutes, then add the mushrooms and cabbage. Continue cooking until the mushrooms and cabbage are softening, about 5 minutes. (If you like well-cooked mushrooms, add these before the cabbage.)
5. Add the mushrooms/cabbage to the big pot. (The rice should be finished cooking at this point.) Mix everything together and enjoy.
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This would also be good with some romano grated over the top, or with frozen spinach instead of kale. The spinach would be a lot cheaper.

Still, $5 for two very generous servings was a great deal. (More rice would have made it an even cheaper meal, albeit less nutritious, by stretching it to three servings. Unfortunately, it was the last of my rice.)

The meal was capped off with raspberry sorbet from the The Bent Spoon and chocolate-hazelnut fudge sauce, courtesy of the public refrigerator. (Everybody has left for the summer--these were clearly abandoned by their previous owners.) Free dessert! YAY!

Let me know what you think by leaving a comment or emailing me at piquantprose [at] gmail [dot] com.

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