When I was in college and living in the dorms, I was forced to have the 19 meals per week plan. When I first arrived at college, I was still a vegetarian, and hoped to lose weight rather than gain the freshman 15. The food selection was pretty poor at my school, even for dining hall standards. Unlike larger schools with multiple dining halls, mine had one, and it seemed like the same things were offered all of the time. One can only eat salad bar crappy pizza for dinner so many nights in a row...
Luckily, our dorms had decent kitchens with a stove and oven, and no one else on the hall ever used it. Whenever I wanted to cook, I had the kitchen to myself. The only problem was the kitchen was on the opposite end of the hall. I also only had 1 santoku knife, 1 cutting board, a pot, and a nonstick skillet. Not only was I limited by cooking method, but I was also working for $5.25/hr. in the admissions office, so cheap meals were also key.
My husband and I met the second night at school our freshman year, and we were pretty much inseparable after that. We pretty much split our dinners between the dining hall, going out to eat, and cooking. He immediately became my sous chef, and was great at running down the hall to my dorm room when I'd forget an ingredient, and then he was also great at helping me clean up. So yes, he eats well each night, even way back when we first started dating... but it comes at a price! He's still fetching ingredients, pots and pans, and doing the dishes. I get so reminiscent about the good old college days... onto the dish!
One of the first meals I ever cooked up for us was this Southwest Sweet Potato Hash. It was easily made in one pot, had a few cheap veggies and eggs, and for the seasoning, I used a packet of chili seasoning (which I have replaced with jarred spices). I can't tell you how many times I made this and had to ask around the hall for a beer. No one ever believed me when I told them it was to deglaze my pan!
So tell me, did you cook in college.... or was your dining hall great?
Southwest Sweet Potato Hash
1 large sweet potato
8 oz. button mushrooms, sliced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 yellow bell pepper, diced
1 small red onion, diced
2 ears of corn, kernels cut off cob
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp. ancho chili powder
2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. coriander
1 tsp. smoked paprika
Salt and fresh black pepper
1 cup beer, whatever you have on hand
Pierce sweet potato with the prongs of a fork, wrap in a damp paper towel and microwave for 5 minutes.
Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, add 1 tbsp. EVOO.
As you chop vegetables, add to the skillet, starting with mushrooms, peppers, onions, corn and garlic.
Allow vegetables to caramelize for and release liquid, about 8 minutes, then season with salt and pepper.
Dice sweet potato, make a well in the center of the skillet and add sweet potato cubes, brown sweet potato pieces and season all vegetables with chili powder, cumin, coriander and paprika.
Turn heat to medium-high, add beer, reduce until almost evaporated.
Plate hash, wipe out pan and return to medium heat.
Spray with nonstick cooking spray, crack eggs into pan and cook for 3-4 minutes.
Season with salt and pepper, flip and cook to desired doneness.
Serve over hash, top with hot sauce.
Recipe notes and variations:
-I used to serve this over grits, and didn't add corn, but because I had a few ears of corn on hand, I added that rather than serve the hash over grits.
-Occasionally I would add some shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, and minced cilantro to the top of the dish
-JJ especially liked when I added ground sausage to the hash or crumbled bacon on top