Lazy Woman’s Feast

Isabel Baskerville, Co Editor-in-Chief

Many college students may find themselves unable or unwilling to head home for the holidays this year. Budgets are tight, tempers are tense and the weather is crap. But fear not! A smaller budget and cramped apartment should be no deterrent for SRJC students looking to enjoy a meal without putting much effort into it.

I am proud to be a chronic lazy person when it comes to cooking. I can fry an egg, make mac’n’cheese and microwave like a boss, but that’s about it and to hell with anyone who doesn’t like it. This holiday season, I gave a “Lazy Girl’s Feast” for some Oak Leaf staff members. Six people had appetizers, main course and dessert with cider for $60 and nothing required any more cooking than could be done with a microwave. So with a contribution of $10 bucks a person, you can gather any number of college-going friends together for an affordable, tasty meal.

I freely admit to being a Trader Joe’s addict. It does have higher prices than if you’re buying discount brands at Safeway, yes, but if you shop for normal brands, TJ’s sells the luxury, imported foods for the same price. And its wine is tasty and cheap.

Pita chips, hummus, crackers and a couple fancy cheeses make for tasty appetizers while the rest is in the microwave. TJ’s has some amazing cheeses for low prices, though if you have a large group or just really, really like cheese you could also try Costco for lower price per pound. Hummus is a sure crowd pleaser, at least in the Oak Leaf offices, so we tend to buy the Garlic Hummus and the Spicy Hummus for a nice variety. Brie covered in chives, soft Welsh cheddar and garlic goat cheese are paired with a sourdough baguette and Social Snackers, a tasty, buttery cracker available at Trader Joe’s.

For the main course, we got two of the Turkey Tenders and mashed potatoes combo refrigerated meals, a side of scalloped potatoes and a microwave ready, pre-seasoned dish of asparagus. All was tender and tasty after a few minutes in the microwave.

Dessert was a set of red velvet cupcakes and a set of chocolate peppermint cupcakes. Everyone loves cupcakes, so you really can’t go wrong there. It also negates the need for slicing cake and using an extra plate. Fewer dishes win!

If there is something deeply wrong with a member of your party and he doesn’t like cupcakes, you have two choices. First and most sensible, lock him up in a padded room ASAP before he infects the general populace. Second, you could buy any number of tasty treats at TJ’s or Costco. There’s always a good selection to be had, as dessert is clearly the most important part of any balanced diet.

Spiced cider, found in the Trader Joe’s beverage aisle, was the beverage of choice at the feast. Pre-spiced and with a long shelf-life, this cider is pretty much the best thing about the holiday season at TJ’s. You can microwave one mug, or pour the lot in a sauce pan to warm up and ladle out to the whole group. If you’re not eating on campus like we were, then you can also partake in any number of sensibly priced but classy alcoholic beverages at hand.

Altogether, you can serve up a tasty, festive meal to any number of friends and family with little to no effort and only one stop on your shopping trip. If you’re feeling fancy and want to use an oven, I recommend the cinnamon buns for breakfast and the crescent rolls with dinner. Both are superior to their alternative brand competitors available at most grocery stores.

Oak Leaf Holiday Shopping List:

-Pita chips $1.99
-Sourdough baguette $2.49
-Tortilla chips with quinoa and black beans $2.69
-Spicy hummus $1.99
-Garlic hummus $1.99
-Silver Goat garlic goat cheese $3.99 -Brie covered in chives $3.08
-Social Snackers $2.69
-Tintern creamy cheddar Welsh cheese $3.69
-Turkey tenders and mashed potatoes $5.99
-Microwave tray asparagus $3.99

-Scalloped potatoes $3.99
-Spiced cider $2.99
-Red velvet cupcakes $3.99
-Chocolate peppermint cupcakes $3.99