Tag Archives: Cooking

Scene Editor, Mia Orantia, confirms that this recipe is foolproof, as she successfully recreated the dish. Buon Appetito! 
(Photo: Mia Orantia)

College Culinary: Spaghetti alla Bolognese

USF student abroad takes on Spaghetti alla Bolognese

 Three unfamiliar streets passed, covered in cobblestones and illuminated by the red and green lights of traffic signs. I found myself lost. I was lost in an unfamiliar world, passed by strangers muttering words in Italian.As my stomach growled louder, I yearned for authentic Italian cuisine. I stumbled upon a restaurant smaller than most joints found in San Francisco. As I slowly entered, a waiter said, “buona sera,” and seated me. These kind words were followed by the best Spaghetti alla Bolognese I have ever tried in my entire life.After this experience, I was inspired to recreate the dish with a personal touch. Enjoy!

Spaghetti alla Bolognese 

Prep time: 10 minutes

Overall time: 50 minutes


  • 1 onion
  • 1 pound of spaghetti
  • 4 fresh tomatoes
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 3 bay leaves
  • Extra virgin olive oil for the pan
  • 2 cups of tomato paste
  • ½ cup of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • ½ pound of ground beef or turkey.
  • 1 can of tomato paste
  • Basil


1) In a large pan, cover the bottom with extra virgin olive oil on medium heat. Cut three cloves of garlic and 3/4 of an onion into the pan, and saute them until brown.

2) Cut four fresh tomatoes into small dices and add them when the garlic and onion is browned. Add a generous amount of salt & pepper, then stir. Add three bay leaves into the mixture. Put on high heat until boiling. After boiling, set on low heat and let sit for another 40 minutes.

3) In a separate pan, cover the bottom with extra virgin olive oil on medium heat. Add the rest of the onions and garlic, and saute them until brown. Add beef or turkey to the pan, as well as a generous amount of salt & pepper. Cook until the meat is done. After the meat is cooked, pour in the tomato paste and slowly add water until consistency is no longer thick. Stir in the sauce with the meat and add basil. Let mixture sit on low heat for 20 minutes.

4) Cook the spaghetti in a large pot with salted water. Drain noodles and add the tomato sauce. Let pasta sit in low heat for 10 minutes. Plate the spaghetti and finish with the meat sauce. Yum! You’re done!

Karina’s Recipes for the Perfect Anti-Valentine’s Day Date

My least favorite time of the year is around the corner and, being single once again, I am in need of something to do that doesn’t involve chocolate hearts and pink stuffed animals. While I commend those of you who have dates this year, for those of you who don’t here are few ideas on how you can make sure you don’t end up sitting in a dark room eating ice cream by yourself.

Have a “Screw You Valentine’s Day” bake off: Get a bunch of friends together and hold a baking challenge. Nothing screams “screw you” more than a little competition. Have each friend bring a baked good and sample each of the different desserts to determine the winner. You can even have different categories such as vegan, non-vegan and gluten free. By the end of the night, everyone will be so high off of sugar that they will forget what holiday it even is.

Get a bunch of friends together for a dinner party: Make sure that you have nothing remotely close to a themed dinner. Stray away from anything red or heart-shaped. Get a bunch of single friends and make a random dish that you’ve always wanted to try. For this, think ethnic. And since you’re single, you can eat all the garlic and onions you want. Or have everyone make something and have a plethora of food that will send everyone into a happy food coma.

Try a new restaurant that has been at the top of your list: While everyone else is going out to dinner with their dates, make a date with a group of friends to try that one restaurant that has been on the top of your restaurant “to do” list since the beginning of freshman year. At dinner try the weirdest thing on the menu, and feel free to make fun of those who are on actual dates.

If all else fails, succumb to an evening of chocolate and cheesy movie watching: Sometimes you are inevitably sucked into the complete lameness of Valentine’s Day, and may want to join in the festivities. If these feelings should occur, gather friends and make these easy chocolate truffles:

- 8oz high quality dark chocolate
- ½ cup of heavy cream
- ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract
- cocoa powder, coconut flakes, and chopped peanuts (for coating)

- Bring the heavy cream to a boil in a heavy saucepan
- Chop chocolate and place in a glass bowl
- Add the cream and vanilla and stir until the chocolate melts, let sit for 2 hours until room temperature and the consistency of frosting
- Roll into small truffles and then into choice of coatings
- Enjoy with a Ryan Gosling movie, preferably The Notebook or Crazy, Stupid, Love. That’ll get you in the Valentine’s Day spirit!

So folks, this year if you’re single on February 14th, take the day as an opportunity not to wallow but to get together with friends. Of course anything that deals with food is music to my ears; so don’t hesitate to try something new and fantastic this Tuesday!

A Student’s Guide to Grocery Shopping

Rainbow Market-
Thai jasmine rice- $1.45/lb
Pinto beans- $1.43/lb
Oats- .78/lb
Walnuts- $8.65/lb
Almonds- $7.95/lb
Farfalle pasta- $2.09/ lb
Peanut Butter- $4.15/lb
Olive oil- $3.40/lb

Trader Joe’s-
Natural Chicken Breast $4.99/lb
Eggs- $1.79/ dozen
Joe’s O’s- $1.99
½ gallon milk- $3.69
Grain bread- $2.99
Baby carrots- $1.99
Bananas- $.19/each

Richmond New May Wah (Clement St.)-
Apples $1.19/ lb
Spinach $.99/ bunch
Avocado- $1.29
Lettuce 2/ $1.00
Sweet potatoes- $.79/lb

I practically live in grocery stores for a good majority of the week. I was never really taught how to shop for food and it’s in my nature to want to buy everything that I see on the shelves. When I actually get home and look through the things I purchased, I find that most of the things are good for a snack or baking experiment but won’t actually carry me out through the week. Shopping on a college budget seemed impossible for me to do at first, but finally, with the help of coupons, sales and planning, I have finally gotten the hang of it.

Staples and Pantry Items
The best thing I can recommend for students shopping on a budget, is to stock up on staples and buy in bulk. Not only is this the most economically friendly section of the grocery store, buying in bulk also allows you access to exactly how much of each item you need. Since there’s no packaging, the product is usually cheaper too!

A few things to stock up on:
- Beans- one of the most economically friendly sources of protein, pair it with rice for an easy meal
- Rice- rice is super easy to make in a pinch and is very versatile
- Oats- oats are a great source of whole grains and can be prepared for breakfast or baked in cookies!
- Nuts- great source of healthy fat and protein- also great for on the go snacking! Put them in the freezer to make them last longer.
- Dried pasta- one of the most inexpensive complete dinners to make and, like rice, is versatile.
- Olive oil- another source of healthy fat and a necessity for cooking.
- Spices- add flavor to any meal instantly.
- Bread- this makes great on the go sandwiches and toast for breakfast.

Stores that have a good bulk section:
- Whole Foods (Haight and Stanyan)
- Haight Street Market (Haight and Ashbury)
- Rainbow Market (13th Street and Folsom)- this is my favorite store for bulk!

Have you ever bought a huge head of lettuce thinking that you were going to make a salad but when you (finally) get around to making it, you discover that the entire thing has gone rotten? The best tip I’ve gotten about produce is to buy it either the day you’re going to eat it or just a few days before (like for apples and oranges). This prevents you from wasting spoiled produce and money.

Tips for good produce:
- Shop locally at Farmer’s Markets- a lot of vendors have extremely low prices compared to super markets and the produce is fresh and in season. Often times, they are also extremely nice and load me up with extra produce after finding out I’m a broke student
- Volunteer on Fridays in USF’s community garden between 12PM-4PM- volunteer for an hour during these times and you can have a chance to pick your own seasonal produce at the end of work!
- Shop for produce on Clement St. and in the Mission- prices for produce are the least expensive in these two areas and you can find a variety of fresh and exotic fruits and vegetables.

Protein and Dairy
It seems that most college kids live off of carbs and snack foods. The biggest challenge on a budget is getting adequate protein. Not only is meat and dairy expensive but also there is only so much tofu and peanut butter a person can eat before they start to go crazy.
- If you or a friend has a Costco card, buy in bulk and split the costs. and products- not only is it almost half the cost of a regular store, meat can be frozen to make it last longer
- If you like tofu, it is a great source of protein and is under two dollars per container. Since it really doesn’t have flavor in it’s own, it’s also very versatile and can be dressed up or down.
- Don’t forget about legumes- beans and lentils are a great source of protein and cost almost nothing
- Shop based what’s on sale. Check the weekly fliers for what’s on sale and base meals off of what you find.
- Eggs are also one of the best sources of protein. Not only are they inexpensive, but you can also make them tons of different ways!
Snacks and Treats
Of course you need more than just the basics. I’ve found that the best place to go for snacks is Trader Joe’s. They have all the chips, crackers and treats you could want at very reasonable prices.

Other Useful Tips
- Never shop hungry- you’re more prone to buying things you don’t need.
- Plan what you’re going to buy in advance- as tiring as this advice is.
- Check your local junk mail fliers for coupons and store sales- often times, the grocery store also posts weekly deals on their websites
- Buy items that are useful in more than one meal- for example, if you’re buying tortillas for quesadillas or tacos, use them the next morning with scrambled eggs for a breakfast burrito.

Shopping and eating well on a college budget sometimes feels overwhelming and impossible. With planning and shopping around, though, it is easy to eat decent food that stays within budget!

Tasty Treats for the Spookiest Season

My favorite time of year has finally settled in and restaurants and bakeries are in full swing of selling pumpkin flavored everything. The air has begun to turn brisk in the evenings and sometimes there is nothing better than curling up in the evening with a book and a hot drink. Even better are all of the fall goodies that you can make! Below are easy recipes for my top five favorite Fall treats.

Spiced Apple Cider
To me, nothing is more seasonal than a mug of hot apple cider. Not only is it amazing on a cold night but also it is easy to make and can be prepared in big batches for entertaining.
Bring 1 bottle of apple cider to a boil in a medium saucepan. To the apple cider add 2 tablespoons of whole cloves, 1 tablespoon allspice and 2 cinnamon sticks. Boil for 5 minutes and immediately strain through a sieve into a glass pitcher.

Pumpkin Cookies
This is my grandma’s recipe for pumpkin cookies. She would let us mix in the chocolate chips and always let me eat the raw cookie dough (something my mom wouldn’t!)
Preheat the oven to 350º. In a medium mixing bowl, beat together 1.5 cups of butter, 2 cups of brown sugar, 1 cup of granulated sugar, 1 egg, 1 can of pumpkin and 1 teaspoon of vanilla until thoroughly mixed. In a separate bowl, mix 4 cups of flour, 2 cups of oats, 2 teaspoons of baking soda and 2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice (equal parts of cinnamon and nutmeg work if you don’t have the spice mix). Mix wet and dry ingredients together and add 2 cups of dark chocolate chips. Mix until thoroughly incorporated (no dry clumps of flour!). Place spoonfuls onto greased baking sheets and bake for about 10 minutes or until golden. Remove from the trays and cool on wire racks.

Pumpkin Spiced Granola with Pumpkin Seeds and Pecans
This delicious granola is easy to make and eat!
Preheat the oven to 325º. In a large bowl mix together 2.5 cups of oats, 2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice, 1 cup of chopped pecans, 1 cup of pumpkin seeds (pepitas) and a pinch of salt. In a saucepan on low heat, mix together ½ cup of honey, 1 small can of pumpkin, and 1 teaspoon of vanilla. Whisk until the honey just starts to become runny. Mix honey mixture into oat mixture and spread in an even layer on a baking sheet. Bake for 25 minutes stirring every 10 and then add in pepitas. Bake for another 20 minutes or until golden.

Homemade Caramels
Make these in advance and wrap them in wax paper for a tasty Halloween treat!
In a large saucepan, melt 1 cup of butter. Add 1 package of brown sugar and a pinch of salt to the melted butter and stir. Add 1 cup of light corn syrup to the mixture and gradually add 1 can of sweetened condensed milk to boiling mixture making sure to consistently stir. Boil for about 15- 20 minutes until mixture reaches a dark golden color and starts to firm. Stir in 1 teaspoon of vanilla and spread mixture into a buttered baking dish. Wait for caramels to cool and cut into squares.

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds with Rosemary and Sea Salt
As a kid, I used to carve pumpkins with my parents. We would always roast the seeds afterwards in humongous batches that would be gone within a few days!
Preheat the oven to 325º. Mix 1.5 cups of raw pumpkin seeds, 2 tablespoons of melted butter, and 1 teaspoon of salt and spread over a baking sheet in one single layer. Bake until golden brown stirring every 10 minutes. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of crushed rosemary on the seeds halfway through baking. Serve warm.

What to Make if…

The only part of cooking that I really dislike is figuring out what to make when I’m hosting other people. Between picky eaters and food allergies, it seems like I can never please everyone’s palates or stomachs. After a lot of experimenting with different recipes and combinations of food, I have finally come up with a few dishes that have proven to be crowd pleasers. Try out some of the recipes below that are not only quick to whip up but are also simple to make!

Date Night: Salmon with Mashed Sweet Potatoes and Sautéed Spinach
So your significant other is coming over and you want to make something that is different than your typical weekday meal. Instead of giving up and succumbing to Thai takeout (again), try this easy salmon recipe.

• Preheat the oven to 350° and coat two salmon fillets with a olive oil and a mixture of 1/3 parts honey and 2/3 parts soy sauce (quantities can be changed based on preference) plus 2 tablespoons of crushed ginger. Bake for 15 minutes on a oil coated, foil covered tray or until fish starts to flake.
• Boil 2 sweet potatoes (peeled and cut into small chucks) until fork tender. Add 4-5 tablespoons of butter and mash until creamy.
• In a pan, heat olive oil on medium high heat and add 5 cups of fresh spinach to the pan. Stir until wilted.

Girls Night: Fusilli Pasta with Shrimp, Zucchini and Broccoli (serves 4)
I love getting together with a bunch of friends and catching up while eating something delicious. This pasta dish is easy to make (and eat!) so you and your friends can have plenty of time to talk!

• Boil half a bag of whole wheat fusilli and set aside.
• In a large sauté pan, heat olive oil on medium high heat. Add chopped white onions until brown, then add cubed zucchini and chopped broccoli and cook until tender.
• Add one pound of defrosted and rinsed jumbo shrimp to the vegetable mixture and cook until heated through. Add about a quarter- half cup of balsamic vinegar and cook until reduced. Combine pasta and veggie/shrimp mixture and drizzle olive oil on top.

Keeping it Vegan: Tofu with Brown Rice, Sautéed Tomatoes and Kale
Cooking for vegans is difficult for me. I don’t want to lose flavor just because I have limited ingredients to choose from, but also don’t want to create a mess of flavors that don’t pair well together. This simple tofu recipe is sure to please any vegan and who knows, your non- vegan friends might enjoy it too!

• Prepare 2 cups of brown rice and add sesame seeds and sautéed red onions to the rice.
• In a pan, heat olive oil on medium high heat. Add kale and halved grape tomatoes until the kale has wilted and becomes a vibrant green color. Mix kale and tomato mixture with soy sauce and ginger.
• Cube a block of extra firm tofu (after removing some of the moisture with paper towels) and place in a steamer for about five minutes. If you don’t have a stovetop steamer, place the cubed tofu on a microwave safe plate and put a damp paper towel over it. Microwave for about 2 minutes. Combine a mixture of chopped basil and red onion and place over the tofu. Sprinkle black sesame seeds on top and lightly drizzle with olive oil.

These meals are super easy to make and can be altered to cater to different preferences, so even if you’re cooking for someone who isn’t mentioned, you still have some great jumping off points. Don’t be afraid to experiment with the ingredients and create each dish as your own- you never know, you may even find that you have a secret love of tofu!

Getting Fancy With Ramen

While the USF cafeteria may serve better food than the average college campus, sometimes the offerings get monotonous (especially on weekends, when there is little more than salad and baked potatoes). However, with a little creativity, there is no reason why our taste buds should be bored. Whether you like to cook or are just in the mood for something different, there are plenty of options for making your own food entirely from ingredients that can be purchased on campus with Flexi.

Because Ramen noodles are so cheap, college kids have gotten a reputation for buying them with whatever scraps of income they have left. Even though Ramen comes in multiple flavors, it’s never the most exciting culinary experience. When seasonings that come with the noodles gets so accustomed to your tongue you cannot taste it anymore, it’s time to, in Emeril’s words, “kick it up a notch!”

Today’s recipe is for Antipasto Ramen. This recipe came from the Ramen Noodle Recipes section at www.budget101.com. If this one doesn’t tempt your taste buds, check out that website for 23 more Ramen variations.

You can get all of the ingredients below from Outtakes in Lone Mountain, courtesy of your Flexi account.

1 package of Ramen noodles – $0.55

Pepperoni from 1 package of Lunchables – $2.00
1/3 cup Italian dressing – $2.00
1⁄4 cup black olives – $2.00
1⁄4 cup red onions – $2.00

Total cost – $8.55 in Flexi
Cooking directions:
Boil Ramen as directed on the package then drain it. (You can use a water boiler). Let stand for about 2 minutes so the pasta cools. Chop or rip pepperoni and add into the Ramen along with the olives and red onions. Add Italian dressing to taste.

Total time – 10 minutes