Cooking with friends - college style

Posted by Body Peace Corps on Wednesday, October 24, 2012

With the latest social media trend, Pinterest, I find myself constantly pinning delicious dishes I want to try.  When I actually click on these recipes, I find myself disappointed at the amount of time, ingredients, and special utensils involved.  Those who know me know that I LOVE to cook, but finding time to prepare meals while juggling school and work requires a considerable amount of time and planning. Not to mention that cooking for one often results in me eating the same thing, every day, for about five days in a row.

Recently however, I realized the joy of cooking with friends! The purpose of this post is to encourage everyone to give friendship meals a chance. Not only do you get to enjoy great conversation, but you also split the work and supplies in half. I’m proposing that we change our “college life” culture and make preparing and sharing meals together a normal activity.  There are many social, emotional, and physical benefits of sharing food and preparing your own meals helps you to feel connected to what is going in your body. 

My friend Caitlin came over a few weeks ago on a chilly Saturday. After raiding our refrigerators and pantries for any vegetables we had, we set out to make a hearty vegetable stew. We took the “no direction” approach and just started chopping and throwing the veggies into a big pot of vegetable broth. We felt like we were back in elementary school making “concoctions” because there was no recipe to follow. After about 20 minutes, my apartment began to fill with a mouthwatering aroma and we anxiously awaited the results.

We were pretty excited that our meal hit three out of the five major food groups: vegetables, grains, and protein!

This makes for a great fall/winter meal. I recommend it with a big crusty piece of whole grain baguette. The beauty of this dish is that you can use whatever ingredients you want and you can be creative. I’ve listed below some ideas to get you started for this delicious fall friendship stew.

What you’ll need:

  • A friend!
  • Pandora radio (I recommend Ingrid Michelson radio)
  • Several cups of vegetable broth (I like to water mine down if you use the store bought kind)
  • Whole grain baguette
  • A large pot
  • Storage containers

Select a variety of vegetables and herbs, we used:

  • Garlic  
  • Yellow onion
  • Red onion
  • Carrots
  • Can of corn
  • Can of kidney beans
  • Potatoes
  • Tomatoes
  • Yellow, orange, and red peppers
  • Celery
  • Asparagus
  • Parsley
  • Oregano
  • Salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot, bring vegetable broth to a boil. Chop the vegetables and toss into broth, keeping in mind to chop the items that take longer to cook first, like potatoes and carrots. After adding all the vegetables, reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. Divide the stew between you and your friend in storage containers. Eat some of it now and freeze the rest to use in the winter months!

So next time a friend asks you to go out to eat, I challenge you to propose the cooking with friends alternative. You might learn to really enjoy it, and if all else fails, there is always take out!

Check out this website to learn more about the benefits of cooking with friends and for future ideas!

Written by: Lauren M. Johnson

Tags: cooking  friends  stew  soup  college  easy  fall  winter  vegetarian 
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