The College Gourmet

During the crisp, windy days of fall, warm spices like cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice may be the answer to a college student’s longing for a home-cooked comfort meal. But who has the time to prepare a full-blown fall dinner with a full academic schedule?
Read on for some easy and quick recipes that offer a little taste of the comfort of home that you can take with you on the way to class, or even as a full meal.

Makes two dozen muffins
These muffins, whether served warm or at room temperature, are a great way to get the comfort-food feeling while on the go. For best results, use buttermilk instead of milk for more of a rich flavor. As a tip, do not use whole spices in this recipe as they may be too strong. Your local grocery story has a wide variety of ground spices to choose from.

2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon allspice
2 large eggs
1/3 cup milk or buttermilk
1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
optional: pecans, walnuts

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder and all dry spices.
3. In a large bowl, beat together eggs, buttermilk, butter, maple syrup, vanilla, sugar and pumpkin together. Sift in dry ingredients, stir until blended. Optional: add nuts.
4.Spoon into greased muffin pans, filling muffin cups almost all the way to the top.
5. Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of muffin comes out clean. Remove muffins from pan and cool completely before serving.

Makes eight servings
Instead of using a large pot, this recipe can also be made in the microwave in individual servings. Just add a small pinch of ground allspice and ground cloves instead of using them whole, and microwave for one minute or until hot. Stir the mixture with a cinnamon stick.
This recipe also tastes great with 1/4 to 1/3 cup of rum, which you can add to the pot while cooking.

1 64-ounce bottle of apple cider
3 cinnamon sticks
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon whole cloves
1/3 Cup brown sugar

1. In a large pot, combine apple cider and cinnamon sticks. Heat for five minutes. Add allspice and cloves.
2. Stir in brown sugar and bring to boil. Reduce heat, then keep warm. Strain out whole spices before serving if desired.

Makes six hot dogs
This quick and easy Monday Night Football-type recipe gets a twist from hot dog carts and vendors in downtown Los Angeles.
You can also add two tablespoons of barbecue sauce while cooking the hot dogs for a hint of those summer barbecues.

6 hot dogs, preferably all-beef
6 hot dog buns
6 pieces of bacon
1 teaspoon butter

1. In a nonstick frying pan over medium heat, melt butter.
2. Prepare hot dogs: wrap each hot dog in a piece of bacon. Use toothpicks to hold in place if desired.
3. Cook hot dogs in butter until bacon is golden brown and fully cooked.
4. Add to hot dog buns, garnish if desired.

Note: If using a George Foreman Grill, omit butter from recipe. Hot dog buns can be toasted in a preheated oven at 375 degrees or toaster while the hot dogs are cooking.

With these warm, fuzzy recipes, you are sure to feel like you are straight back by the fireplace or sitting on the old couch next to dad and watching the game. Though this may not be the fittest fare, it’s cold weather, big sweater time. Don’t worry about the calorie count for once!