Everyday Meals for the Everyday Person

Living in a two-bedroom loft with a roommate who’s a 200+ lb. college football player, and myself being a former college baseball player, you can imagine what our kitchen must look like. If you were to visit our “luxurious” college loft you would find the complete opposite, a spotlessly clean kitchen most of the time stocked with enough food and kitchen utensils to cook a gourmet meal on a college budget.  My roommate who is lucky enough to have a meal plan due to his athletic scholarship never has to worry about prepping a meal or cleaning a dish. He can walk down to dining hall anytime of the day and eat enough food to last the average person a week. Although he reaps the benefits and convenience of having access to the dining hall, he is not always excited to dine there. Every now and then he will complain of missing the prime hours entering the dining hall to find the scraps left, or lack of variety from eating the same thing every other day of the week. Often as he’s leaving for class, practice, or an outing with friends, he’ll find me in the kitchen prepping for an epic meal and he’ll say the same thing every time before he leaves out the door “Damn boy, looks like your about cook something amazing." I’ll laugh and say something modest like “I just hope it's edible” usually he’ll return when I am plating my dish and stare in amazement and utter something along the lines of “Man, I wish I knew how to cook like that”. I told him anybody can be a great cook all you need is, the right utensils, a recipe or guide of some sort if you're experimenting, and an appetite. After talking we planned a day for me to show him some basic cooking skills and cook a meal together.

During a recent meeting with my Collegiate Eats team, we were discussing upcoming events, website updates and content topics, our Blog Mom and creator of Collegiate Eats shared this amazing cookbook with us The Quick Six Fix by Chef Stuart O’Keeffe. I thought what better way to show my roommate the cooking ropes than to pull a simple, easy recipe from this cookbook. Stuart O’Keeffe is an Irish celebrity chef and TV personality widely known for his appearance in Food Network's “Private Chefs of Beverly Hills.” The cookbook focuses on stress-free and mess-free meals that are simple and easy to make and even easier to cleanup. Chef Stuart starts of by sharing his philosophy on the tips to making quick, easy and delicious home cooked meals, and a simple guide to keeping your pantry stocked with every day must haves. He has also included weekly meal plans, and several themed menus from picnics to dinner parties; all of which can transform even the most basic of cooks into a top notch home chef with an arsenal of recipes to pull out at any time that will impress friends and family.

The overall organization of the book is very simple to follow it’s broken down into sections based on entree/main dishes or which I like to call your proteins, with supporting sides and salads dishes to accent every flavor. Each recipe is true to the name of the book keeping the total ingredients required for each meal to six or less. As we scoured the book looking for a recipe to try out, we found it very hard to decide. The cookbook is filled with so many appetizing recipes that are so simple to make you want to try them all out. 

Browning the chicken thighs with garlic and parsley
After spending several minutes salivating over pictures, we finally agreed to make the very, very, garlic chicken, which turned out to be a tasty success. We tweaked the recipe slightly by cooking it on the stove top completely instead of the oven, and used a smaller amount of garlic than suggested. We browned whole chicken thighs in a skillet, and added whole garlic cloves which we later mashed into tiny pieces. After the chicken was fully cooked we glazed and garnished the chicken with garlic bits, butter and parsley, and coupled it with baked sweet potatoes. My roommate was surprised that a meal so good, so tasty, and somewhat fancy could be that simple to make. As we laughed and cracked jokes over our meal, the light bulb went off that cooking is really that hard and realized that he, too, could be an expert college dorm room chef.