Cooking with Mark

Cooking with Mark

by Mark Pleiss

As an expert in the world of food, it is my job as not only acollegiate journalist, but as a culinary connoisseur to providewholesome food ideas for those of all situations. This is neveranymore difficult than during the period of the year we Americanslike to call Turkey day.

During this festive time of the year, young college students,just like your selves, often return to their homes for a large mealand old-fashion frolic with family. In my case, this is inevitable.As I write this very column, my father, who commenced turkeyprocedure the day after the fourth of July, is adding one ofseveral hundred thousand layers of glaze to the turkey privilegedenough to be worked upon by Bob Pleiss.

But as I mentioned earlier, I know not all are as blessed. Manycollege students stay in the dorms over Thanksgiving for reasons oftheir very own. These students shouldn’t feel left out and I havebrought it upon myself to supply them with a more than adequateholiday feast. I have kept in mind that most aren’t equipped withViking Range Grills or any sort of cooker greater than one thatuses microwaves. Given this, I’ll commence with my Thanksgivingfood ideas.

As with any good, proper cooking taught by mother, we must firstwash our hands. But, because college is no place for good cookingor motherly advice, we’ll simply skip that step. Everyday can beunsanitary cooking day if you put your mind to it. Think of this asan advantage of not being with family.

Now let’s cook. A good, self-satisfying meal will need goodappetizers. Here is a little idea that has gotten me through many ahungry night. But you will enjoy the immense flexibility of thefood socially.

Buy a simple package of flour tortillas, I’d recommend thecheapest brand. Next, you’ll need a jar of pickles. Stay clear ofthe overly sized or sliced types. The third ingredient is simplecheese. I’d recommend Kraft Singles or shredded cheddar. Finally,purchase a small jar of humus spread.

Allow the tortilla to mingle at room temperature for a fewminutes before carefully spreading a hearty amount of humusthroughout the tortilla. Next, place the cheese throughout thetortilla and put it in the microwave for 30 seconds. Once thecheese has melted, place the pickle in the middle and wrap thetreat to perfection. I often seal the concoction with a drip ofhoney to assure the roll stays rolled, but that’s at the consumer’sdiscretion.

Other fun a-la-carte ideas to add to the roll-up include addingany left over cold cuts that have been sitting in the fridge forGod knows how long or pieces of chicken you can steal fromPfeiffer.

Now that the appetizers are ready, let’s cook up our maincourse.

Given that this is Thanksgiving, the next meal is fairlycomplex. But remember, it’s still easier than cooking a turkey andhaving to put your arm up its butt to remove multiple long squishyorgan things.

Sadly, turkey isn’t on the menu. If you want turkey, buy somecold cuts. But this meal will not disappoint. I’d like to takecredit for it, but the recipe was actually provided by our friendsat My heart and not-so-scholarly citation goesout to you. Check the recipes given on the page for the exactdirections on making a proper Thanksgiving Chicken Casserole withnothing but your microwave.

Please remember, dealing with chicken in a place such as a dormmay result in sickness and imminent death. I can’t emphasis enoughthe importance of a clean area. Lysol is a good friend.

For side dishes, frozen vegetables can be defrosted and nuked.This should keep most seekers of good health happy.

Finally, we’ll arrive at dessert. By far the greatest desert outthere that is easy to make and still classy enough for Thanksgivingis Jello pudding. Though seemingly an oxymoran, Jello pudding issimple, delicious and only needs a refrigerator. If you don’t havea refrigerator, you can use mine.

There you have it, a delightfully tasty meal at a light expenseand workload. However many people you eat with will obviously varythe amount of products you must buy. So treat the recommended dosesof food with care.

And as a final comment on the side, given that it isThanksgiving and you are alone, I’d also pick up some cheap boxwine or something that you can drown in while watching CharlieBrown’s Thanksgiving Special. I’m certain it will be playing mostof the evening. Gobble Gobble.

Chicken Casserole

1 (10 oz) package frozen mixed vegetables

2 1/2 to 4 pound broiler fryer chicken

1 teaspoon Bouquet sauce

2 cups cooked egg noodles (4 oz before cooking)

1 (10 3/4 oz) can cream of celery soup

1/4 cup finely chopped onion

2 tablespoons milk 1 teaspoon instant chicken bouillon

1/4 teaspoon dry mustard 1/4 teaspoon salt dash pepper

Defrost vegetables in package on high for 2 1/2 to 4 1/2minutes. Set aside. Place chicken in 3 quart casserole breast sidedown. In custard cup melt butter at high for 20 to 45 seconds.

Add Bouquet sauce. Brush back of chicken with half of buttermixture. Microwave at high for first 3 minutes.

Reduce to medium and microwave for remainder of first half ofcooking time. While chicken is cooking, combine remainingingredients in small bowl.

After half of total time, drain fat from casserole. Turn chickenbreast side up, brush with butter sauce mixture.

Arrange noodle mixture around the chicken. Microwave forremaining time or until chicken is tender and legs move freely.Stir noodle mixture before serving.

Chicken cooking time: 11 to 13 minutes per pound.

Yield: 4 servings