Silver Chips Online

A Back-to-School Night feast

Healthy, easy options you don't need parents to make

By Julia Wynn, Online Connections and Food Editor
September 16, 2009
That night has come again - Back-to-School Night. You and your parents have switched places so that they can discover the teachers and learning material you interact with on a daily basis. Chances are you are home alone, possibly with other siblings, daunted by the fact that your parents have bequeathed to you the responsibility of preparing the last meal of the day. It may be tempting to open a container of Cup Noodles, but keep in mind there are more interesting alternatives that are just as easy to whip up! Here are three simple and tasty recipes you can turn to this Thursday.

Make-your-own burritos
This Mexican staple is almost as good as Chipotle and is much cheaper. The variety of ingredients allows you to pick and choose which elements to include.

Prep time is about 30 minutes. Makes about three servings.

Kitchenware:
- 1 small pot with lid
- 1 medium sized pan
- stove
- 2 bowls, one for microwaving corn and one for mashing avocado

Ingredients:
- 1 1/3 cup water
- 1 cup rice
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 avocado (optional)
- 1 cup frozen corn (amount may vary depending on taste)
- 1/4 lb. of beef
- 1/2 of an onion
- 1 can of black beans
- tortillas (one per person)
- salsa

Preparation:
1. Boil water in pot and add rice when boiling. Cook on low heat for about 20 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, turn stove top to medium and put olive oil in pan. When small bubbles appear, add the meat, tearing it into bite-size pieces. Cook for about five minutes, or until the meat begins to turn brown.
3. Thaw corn in microwave on high until warm. Slice the avocado into about eight pieces and mush it into a guacamole-like consistency.
4. Cut onions into small, edible pieces. Add to beef. When almost brown (about five more minutes), add black beans, but remember to strain the liquid beforehand.
5. Let simmer for about three minutes.
6. Place all the elements into a tortilla and enjoy!

Pasta carbanara
If you're in the mood for Italian, pasta carbanara is sure to satisfy your craving. The combination of hearty bacon and eggs adds an element of comfort to the versatile pasta.

Prep time is about 20 minutes. Makes four to six servings.

Kitchenware:
- 1 large pot
- metal or wooden spoon
- paper towels
- 1 colander
- 1 large serving bowl

Ingredients:
- 1 lb. pasta (spaghetti or linguini works best)
- 1/2 - 1 pound of bacon
- 2 green onions
- 3 eggs
- 1/2 - 1 cup parmesan cheese

Preparation:
1. Fill pot about 3/4 full with water. Add a pinch of salt. Bring to boil.
2. Meanwhile, cut bacon into inch-long segments, place on a paper towel and cook in the microwave for six to eight minutes (for half a pound of bacon).
3. Add chosen pasta to boiling water and cook for seven to nine minutes or until only a little firmness remains.
4. While pasta is cooking, slice green onions into centimeter-long segments.
5. Drain pasta in colander when finished cooking.
6. Crack the eggs into the serving bowl itself and whip them until they turn into one, fairly consistent color. Add green onions, bacon and pasta.
7. Stir until mixed.
8. Serve and enjoy!

Lemon-baked chicken
Although the cooking time can reach 55 minutes, this recipe takes little effort. Most of the time, the chicken is baking in the oven, giving you the chance to do homework. If you're intimidated by the idea of cooking meat, think again. This recipe requires almost no cooking skills!

Prep time is about five minutes. Cooking time is 45 - 55 minutes. Makes four servings.

Kitchenware:
- 1 deep baking dish
- oven
- aluminum foil

Ingredients:
- 4 chicken breasts (or as many as there are people)
- 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 pinch of basil or oregano
- 1 can of mushroom soup

1. Set oven to 350 degrees.
2. Place chicken in baking dish.
3. Add lemon peel, lemon juice, herbs and mushroom soup.
4. Season with salt and pepper as necessary.
5. Cover with foil and bake in oven for 45 - 55 minutes until bubbles emerge in the soup.
6. Dig in!

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