Posted by: Sara S. | March 25, 2009

Downturn Dish: Quick bites

During our undergraduate years, I often found Waverly Lutz cooking up something in one of our college’s small student kitchens. Whether it was late-night banana bread for everyone or red bean buns on a Saturday afternoon just for me, Waverly loved making food. She prided herself on preparing simple meals with inexpensive, in-season ingredients (we were college students after all). Below, Waverly shares some of her favorite fast recipes that are great as snacks or small courses for your guests.

Almost Apple Pie (about $5)


Apple of choice




Lemon (optional)

Pre-heat oven to 350°

Take each apple—1 or 2 or 3 depending on how hungry you are or how many people you are serving—peel it and remove the core (be sure to keep the apple intact and just take out the core).

Place your cored, peeled apples in an oven-safe dish.

Fill the center of the apple with raisins.

Drizzle some honey on top and in the center.

Sprinkle cinnamon over the apples, and add some lemon juice (optional).

Bake the apples until soft. The time that the apples need to bake depends on the type of apple you choose. If it is a hard apple like a Granny Smith, it might take around 45 minutes. It if is a soft apple, like a McIntosh, it will take about 20-30 minutes. When the apples are soft, they are done. If the apples look like they are getting dry before they are getting soft, put some water in the pan with the apples.

Grains, Greens, Beans (about $10)


Grain or Pasta of your choice—prepared according to package directions

Leafy green vegetable of your choice—suggestions for preparation below

Beans of your choice—beans from a can are recommended unless you have time on your hands and can spend hours boiling beans

Prepare your grain or pasta of choice. (I always find that adding a little salt, pepper and olive oil to the boiling water before the grain or pasta is added, helps with the taste.)

Take your greens, rinse them; don’t dry them.

Chop greens into a reasonable size. (Greens cook down, so one bunch of greens will usually feed about two people. If you are really into vegetables, one bunch might just feed one.)

Chop up two cloves of garlic.

Put about 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet or wok and heat over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and wait until you hear the garlic “speak” (the little sizzling and popping sounds), then add your greens and your rinsed beans (when using canned beans rinse them off before using). *If your greens look like they are burning, add a little water to the pan to help them wilt rather than fry. Add salt and pepper to taste. A splash of soy sauce or balsamic vinegar also makes for a delicious dish. Put greens and beans over your grain and enjoy!

My Favorite Combos:

Whole wheat pasta, arugula and white kidney beans

Whole wheat couscous, broccoli rabe and chickpeas

Barley, spinach and red kidney beans (with a little cheddar)

Millet, collards and black-eyed peas

Angel hair pasta, Swiss chard and black beans

Quinoa, kale and pinto beans.

Coconut Yam Soup (about $10)


3 large yams or sweet potatoes

1 15 oz can of coconut milk

1 inch piece of ginger * use more if you like more heat to your soup

2 cloves of garlic

4 cups of vegetable broth

1/2 to 1 tablespoon of cumin *depending how much you like it.

Peel the ginger and grate.

Chop up garlic.

Peel and dice yams.

In a soup pot, place some olive oil or vegetable oil (about 2 tablespoons) and put over medium heat.

Add the ginger and garlic and cook until you can smell them both.

Add the yams and stir to coat with oil.

Add the vegetable broth.

Bring the soup to a simmer and then let the yams cook until they are soft.

Remove the soup from the heat and transfer to a blender. Blend until smooth and then return to the stove.

Add the cumin and the coconut milk.

Add salt and pepper to taste.

Nachos are for Artichoke Lovers (about $10)


1 bag of blue cornmeal tortilla chips

1 jar of marinated artichoke hearts

1 15 oz. can of black beans

Cheddar cheese

Salsa and avocados (optional)

Pre-heat oven to 350°

Place the chips on a cookie sheet. (To make clean up easier, place a piece of tin foil on the cookie sheet first).

Chop up the artichoke hearts and place on top of chips.

Then add the black beans and salsa.

Finally, sprinkle cheddar cheese on top to taste.

Bake in oven until cheese is melted.



  1. A favorite cheap and quick meal (that I had for lunch today) – pasta carbonara! Pasta, bacon, an egg and a bit of Parmesan. Steam some veggies over the pasta pot and you have a side dish, too!

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