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U Must Be Cooking! Making shakshuka on campus

All over campus you see reminders that we should cook and eat healthy meals throughout the day. But with busy academic and social schedules, it can seem impossible to cook healthy meals that are also cheap and tasty.

That’s where I come in. My main goal is to not only provide a healthy recipe for a delicious meal, but a recipe that can be adjusted for almost all budgets. Plus, I have made sure that all of the ingredients for this dish are able to be cooked in the microwave, so even students without a kitchen (or just with a tiny one) can make and enjoy this dish.
Shakshuka (or Shakshouka) is a tomato-based stew that is simple to make but will also impress any first date. It originated in the Ottoman empire and, like most ancient foods, adapted and changed depending on what culture came into contact with it. While the recipe below is one that I like the best, this is really a dish to make yours: make it spicier by adding cayenne, or more flavorful with smoked paprika and coriander; add other vegetables like potatoes and artichokes, or even add meat like ground beef or lamb. With that in mind, let’s get cookin’.

Shakshuka with Feta
(Adapted from the New York Times)
3 tablespoons olive oil ($2-4 for 16 oz bottle)
1 large onion ($1)
1 large green bell pepper ($0.75)
3 garlic cloves ($.50 per head)
1 teaspoon cumin ($3 for 5 oz container)
1 teaspoon cumin ($3 for 1.5 oz)
⅛ teaspoon cayenne ($3 for 5 oz)
1 28 ounce can of diced tomatoes ($2)
¾ teaspoon salt*
¼ teaspoon black pepper*
5 ounces crumbled feta cheese ($2)
6 large eggs ($1 for 6, $2.50 for dozen)
Brown rice ($2 for 2lb bag)
Hot sauce (optional)
(Total: ~$22.25 for about 6 servings, based on average prices at Shoppers.*I did not price the salt and pepper as packets can be found throughout campus, but if not, add $1 for a set)

Tools and utensils:
Sharp kitchen knife for dicing vegetables
A cutting board
Measuring spoons
Can opener (I recommend getting a good one!)
Oven mitt (or thick towel)
1 large skillet
1 oven safe dish (at least 1 inch deep)
1 medium sauce pan

For microwave-only cooking:
2 large microwave safe bowls, and 1 medium size microwave safe bowl.
(You can buy all of these at a dollar store or the grocery store.)
Start by chopping your vegetables. Peel and then dice the onion, then set it aside. Next, rinse the bell pepper, remove the insides, dice it and set aside. Finally, peel and mince three cloves of garlic.

If you are cooking in a kitchen:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Then, on your stove top, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the diced onion and bell pepper until very soft (about 20 minutes). Add the minced garlic and cook until tender, which is another 1-2 minutes.
Stir in cumin, paprika, cayenne and cook for 1 minute. Pour in the canned chopped tomatoes and season with ¾ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Simmer until tomatoes have thickened (about 10 minutes). Stir in crumbled feta.
Gently crack eggs into the skillet over the tomatoes; do not break the eggs on the edge of the counter, but flat on the counter, so that the shell does not get into the eggs. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer the skillet to oven and bake until eggs are set, or about 7-10 minutes. When you remove the skillet from the oven, use oven mitts or a folded towel, and be careful not to get burned. Serve with optional hot sauce and side of rice.

Brown Rice (on the stove):
Add 1 cup of rice into saucepan with 2 cups of water. Boil on stove top until water boils. Once it is boiling, simmer at lowest temperature for about 20 minutes, or until tender. If the water evaporates before rice is done, you can add an additional cup of water. Make sure to stir the rice while it is cooking so it doesn’t burn on the bottom. (White rice, like Jasmine, follows the same guidelines and takes less time to cook but it is not as healthy as brown rice.)

For microwave-only cooking:
Dice onions, green peppers and garlic. Place in a microwave safe container. Lightly coat with olive oil and mix. Cover the microwave-safe dish with its lid and microwave the mixture on high for 5 to 7 minutes. Mix them again and cook uncovered for another 2 to 3 minutes, or until they are tender and soft. Stir in cumin, paprika, cayenne. Combine the canned chopped tomatoes and season with ¾ teaspoon salt and ¼ pepper.
In a separate bowl, gently crack 4 eggs into it. Pour in ⅔ cups of water. Cover the bowl or mug with a microwave-safe plate. Place in the microwave and cook on 80 percent power for 60 seconds. Check the egg. If it is not done yet, return to microwave and cook on 80 percent power in 20 second bursts.
Carefully add the eggs to the top of the tomato dish with a spoon or spatula. Sprinkle with feta cheese and serve with the brown rice.

Microwave Brown Rice:
In a microwave-safe baking dish or medium bowl, combine 1 cup long-grain white rice, 2 cups water, and ½ teaspoon salt. Microwave, uncovered, on high (power level 10) until the rice is tender and the liquid is absorbed, 15 to 18 minutes.