A New Acquaintance: the Kitchen Corner

College is a fantastic opportunity to meet diverse and unique people, further one’s education and experience and realize how long the human body can subsist on frozen pizza, cold cereal, Top Ramen, boxed brownies, and string cheese.  Then every now and again, the desire to combine ingredients and create something from scratch awakens.  Unfortunately, it is often a short-lived enthusiasm. Time constraints, complicated instructions, expensive ingredients and the need for uncommon tools (think Bundt pan) all diminish the call to the kitchen.  But there is hope, my fellow college-mates. My plan for this column is to share simple kitchen-tested recipes that are tasty, nutritious and compatible with students’ monetary and time budgets.

Breakfast is first on the menu, and this week is Power Pancakes.

Ingredients:

2 eggs

½ cup cottage cheese

½ cup rolled (you can substitute quick) oats

1 tsp. vanilla

Fruit (optional)

At eight years old, the staying power of a Pop-Tart was impressive. It kept me going all morning. Now, halfway through morning classes, and my stomach growls so noisily that much to the chagrin of the professor, I become the subject of the entire room’s focus. Contemplating the variety of breakfast options, the value of solid nutrition is unmatched. The criteria include keeping my blood sugar stable, mind alert and belly happy. Oatmeal? Let’s be honest; few enjoy warm mush while facing the reality of another early school day. Boxed cereal gets pricey, and often has high amounts of sugar content. This will spur short-term energy, but leave you low in the long run.

After a few days of breakfast brainstorming, I saw the light. I encountered my roommate cooking cottage cheese pancakes. I dubbed them Power Pancakes. These babies have around 24 grams of protein and low sugar content. Additionally, they are delicious. Now, I am not a particularly picky eater, but am unlikely to begin my day with cold, lumpy cheese. For starters, why is it called “cottage” cheese? I imagine it was crafted in some cabin on the prairie, which causes me to question the food product quality, which consequently diminishes the scant morning appetite with which I began. Or, I wonder if perhaps cottage cheese is made from cottages, which although probably high in fiber, is equally unappetizing. Aside from questions of cottage-made dairy products, these pancakes are surprisingly tasty, highly nutritious, simplistically prepared and have great staying power. Here is how you do it:

  1. Throw all your ingredients into a blender. This step is complicated, but I believe in you.
  2. Blend until just smooth, not fine. Texture is good.
  3. Heat a pan on medium-low, with a drizzle of oil or butter. If you are health-nut like I am, you can use olive oil.  It’s nutritional and you don’t end up tasting it.
  4. Pour about a ½ cup of batter into the pan.
  5. If you want fruit (blueberries are the bomb), this is where you plop ‘em on top, gently smoothing the batter over them.
  6. Cook until bubbles appear all over the surface of the pancake. Because of the density, they take longer than typical pancakes.
  7. Flip, and finish cooking. If you are too speedy on the turnover, they will not cook completely.

I like yogurt, fresh fruit, powdered sugar, maple syrup and peanut butter on mine (but not all together). Here’s to power breakfasts that get us through the day, keep our minds sharp and bellies silent! If you have ideas or questions, I would be delighted to hear them. Go conquer your morning. Give me a buzz at: entertainment@exponent.montana.edu