A few Sundays ago, I had the profound pleasure of spending an afternoon grocery shopping and cooking session with TAD’s very own Kenny Huynh—cinematographer and chef extraordinaire. You see, Kenny brings his lunch and dinner to the office almost every weekday, and it always looks so delicious. As a college student who is very familiar with the frozen foods section in the grocery store and well-versed in most Ben & Jerry’s flavors—I needed to learn his secret. From vegetables and protein, to sandwiches and pastas, it has been refreshing for me to see someone who cooks fresh, healthy meals each week.
After picking Kenny up from his bachelor pad on South Main, we wandered over to WalMart and got started. We pondered the big questions like “Should Kenny buy carrots this week?” and “Why, just why, are bananas so fantastic?” By the way, if anyone can tell us the difference between light and dark brown sugar, we’d be forever in your debt. Kenny picked up red pepper hummus (the only acceptable flavor), some limes and cilantro, romaine lettuce, chicken, provolone, and, of course, bacon.
After nearly escaping death near the milk coolers due to an unforeseen OJ spill, we ended the shopping excursion with some hamburger buns, bread, 2% milk, and a mason jar that, as Kenny informed me, would be used to pickle his own vegetables. I’m telling you—this was the most fun I’ve ever had food shopping. At the checkout line, our lovely cashier, Missy, joined in on our game of guessing the tab. For two weeks of food, my guess was $65, Kenny said $72, and Missy’s prediction was $75 dollars. After some talk of rules and the unfortunate lack of a prize, the competition commenced. Due to a misunderstanding, I don’t think we ever named a winner, but it was a spectacle with on-lookers and smiles around. We said goodbye, but not before Missy shared a girl-tip with me about how great Macadamia Oil is for your hair. (I appreciate it, girl!)
Back at Kenny’s apartment we cooked up some General Tso’s Chicken and Sweet Potato Salad. And by “we,” I mean that Kenny cooked, while I taste tested and took photographs. It was tons of fun. At the end of the day, I learned that it is much easier than I had expected to eat healthy at college. By Kenny’s method too, it’s actually far cheaper. It’ll be a slow transition for me to say goodbye to my Healthy Choice Kung Pao chicken frozen dinners, but I definitely am going to start trying these recipes. Thanks to Kenny for letting me tag along!
To get the General Tso’s Chicken recipe, check out Cooking-in-College.com! (~$20 + $10 if you don’t already own Chinese cooking oils.) http://cooking-in-college.com/2012/05/25/
Sweet Potato Salad: (~$15)
– 2 lb. Sweet Potatoes
– 1/2 Yellow Onion, chopped
– 2 tbls. Canola Oil
– 1 bunch of Cilantro
– 1/3 c. Honey
– Salt and Pepper to season
– 1 c. Walnuts
– 1 Lime
- Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Peel and cut up the sweet potatoes into roughly 1x1in pieces. Mix with the onion, season with salt and pepper, lightly coat in oil, and bake for 45 minutes.
- In a skillet, toast the walnuts on low heat. Put aside to cool.
- In a small mixing bowel, combine oil, honey, cilantro, and the juice of one lime.
- Mix all the ingredients together!