1. This one’s a stolen tip from my housemate but a great one nonetheless! Keep a bowl of frozen grapes in your freezer for the perfect cold and refreshing treat or, better yet, as a succulent ice cube for your wine to keep the perfect temperature without watering down the flavor.
2. Throw an egg on it! It might be a copout, but if you aren’t too stoked about that bag of top ramen or your fifth grilled cheese for the week, you can add a delicious layer of depth by simply throwing a sunny-side-up egg into the mix. The extra protein will ensure you feel satisfied and the salty, and gooey yolk will add an unexpected richness to the savory dish.
3. Own a crockpot. If you don’t have one already go out and buy one, and your life will forever be cleaner, tastier, holier, all of the positive “-er” words you can think of. An inexpensive purchase of as little as $15.99 for the basic ones (perfect for a college student). Simply throw in a bunch of ingredients in the morning and, by night, without doing anything you have a beautiful and composed dish just sitting there waiting for you!
4. Another kitchen essential: a cookbook! I know the internet pretty much has squashed the idea of owning instructional books when Siri can answer all your questions, but there is something magical about having a book of on-hand recipes. If you see a cookbook that looks interesting, get it! Use the book to help you decide what to shop for. Make your kitchen a creative haven and try something out of your comfort zone every once in a while; it’ll make you a better cook and a more inventive one when it comes to your own staple recipes.
5. In a rush? Use your Keurig to make a cup of noodles! You save time by not boiling water, and it heats it up just enough without making it scalding. That way, you can enjoy it right away.
6. As a vegetarian, I eat a bunch of eggs (often scrambled), but this can become tiresome and lacking in flavor. To make your scrambled eggs richer, mix in a spoonful of sour cream to make for a more velvety texture.
7. Something I once found strange but now swear by is a simple reheating method my boyfriend introduced me to. To defrost or reheat something in the microwave without drying it out, simply place and uncovered microwave-safe cup of water in the microwave while heating. This keeps the food moist and can actually reheat it quicker.
8. A fun and creative way to test if your pasta (fettuccine, spaghetti linguine or any other long, skinny noodle) is ready is by taking one of the noodles and throwing it at a wall. If it sticks, your pasta is ready!
9. I’ve heard a fable that chewing gum while cutting onions is supposed to reduce the amount of tears, but I must have super sensitive eyes because the only way that I can combat the crying is to place them in the freezer for 3-5 minutes before chopping them.
10. Straight from the mouth of Simone Dupuy, Nexus copy chief: “The food you cook is only as good as the water you cook it with, so use filtered water.” This certainly rings true here in Santa Barbara where our tap water is especially hard and has an alarmingly high level of calcium. Don’t let your coffee maker get calcified!