“If it takes longer to throw together than 2-minute-noodles, I don’t want to try it.”
This is the response I received on asking a good friend with low kitchen-confidence, why she disliked cooking. I wanted to find out what stood between her and the world of food, besides the kitchen door.
We discovered three main obstacles standing in the way of her culinary success: a lack of time, a lack of skill, and a fear of “too many ingredients”. All of these obstacles, of course, have incredibly simply solutions. I set out with the sole ambition to come up with four recipes that do not require copious amounts of time, ingredients, or skill; for the starving student living on 2-minute-noodles and stale Oreos.
As exams come up for many students, I decided to focus on trying healthy and delicious study snacks. Anything would be an improvement on our faithful go-to: the student-favourite, 2-minute-noodles.
I have come up with four recipes, well used by me, that fit the requirements perfectly. Each is quick, simple, and has four core ingredients (at most). They are:
- Smashed Avocado on Toast
- Tuna Couscous
- Roasted Chickpeas
- Sliced Apples with Spread
Since we all seem to be short on time, I’ll launch into the recipes.
Smashed Avocado on Toast
For one slice of toast:
- ¼ Avocado
- 1 slice of bread
- A squeeze of lemon juice
- Salt and Pepper
- Toast the bread. If you are unsure of how to use your toaster, your cooking skills may be beyond my help. Maybe read the instructions on the box.
- Scoop out your preferred amount of Avocado and put it on the toast. Smash it with a fork for maximum-effect toast-coverage.
- Season with salt and pepper and a squeeze of lemon; and you’re winning.
For one serving:
- About ¼ cup of couscous
- About ½ cup of water
- 2 tbsp. sour cream
- ½ tin tuna
- A handful of cherry tomatoes
- Coriander (optional)
- A squeeze of lemon juice
- Salt and Pepper
- Put your couscous and water in your serving bowl and leave it. In 3-5 minutes it will be softened and cooked.
- While the couscous is softening, chop your cherry tomatoes.
- From here on, it is simply a matter of assembly. Salt, pepper and lemon juice go onto the couscous, sour cream next, followed by tuna, tomatoes, and then coriander. If you are not on the hatred-of-coriander train, you have a meal.
- 1 tin chickpeas
- Olive oil
- Seasoning of your choice. I’ve used paprika, cumin and lemon (left) and honey, cinnamon and lemon (right). This last combination of flavours is also known (by myself only) as the pancake chickpeas.
This recipe takes slightly longer to make if one counts the roasting period of the chickpeas (20 minutes), so I would suggest putting them in the oven before hopping into the shower or watching an episode of Parks and Recreation.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C
- Rinse the chickpeas in a colander, before placing them in a baking tray with a swig of olive oil and a sprinkling of salt.
- Put the chickpeas in the oven, even if its not yet fully preheated. We can’t all wait around for an oven to reach temperature.
- After about 20 minutes, or when they look golden brown, take the chickpeas out of the oven, place them in a bowl and add your desired flavour! If you’re unsure, think of your favourite popcorn flavour and try to emulate that. The two vital ingredients are lemon juice and salt.
The beauty of this recipe is that you can completely tailor it to your own palette. Whether you prefer sweet or savoury cuisine, this recipe is flexible enough to mould to your desires.
Sliced Apples with Spread
- One apple
- A spread of your choice. I recommend butters of the peanut and almond variety.
- Any topping of your desire, if a topping at all. I’ve used cinnamon and mixed seeds for variety.
- Slice the apple horizontally. I prefer this slicing method as it enables the apple to imitate a cracker, making it the perfect vehicle for your spread.
- Spread on your jam or butter. Almond butter is my most favourite topping, but as it costs the equivalent of three kidneys, it is not always available to me.
- Sprinkle on your topping. You could use raisins, chocolate chips or honey, if you are not feeling inclined towards the cinnamon/mixed seeds suggestion.
I can’t stress enough how simple these recipes are. The most advanced kitchen skill one needs is knowledge on how to use a tin opener, and even that skill becomes redundant if your tins have tabs to open them.
Whether you are able to whip up a three-course meal with an hour’s notice, or your kitchen antics have been known to strike fear in the hearts of men, these recipes are for you. They are quick, delicious, and healthy (for the most part).
As appealing and comforting as 2-minute-noodles may be, these snacks beat them by a country mile. Have a go; maybe you’ll surprise yourself.