Living in #8 was not my first experience living on my own outside of the dormitories; last year, I took spring semester courses and sublet a one-bedroom basement studio for two months.  My diet, for a number of reasons, shrank until I was approaching anorexia–luckily, spring semester ended, I moved back home with my parents, and my mother oversaw that I regained normal eating habits–but one of the lessons I learned was how to cook for one.

Cooking for one is very different in that your only obligation is to yourself; my problem, and I imagine most people are similar, is that I’m lazy.  To be responsible for three meals a day is sometimes kind of daunting, and it’s so easy, especially on a college campus or busy town, to just stop by a restaurant or diner and grab some takeout, or just pop a TV dinner into the microwave and nosh on that for the night.  That route, however, is definitely unhealthy, and when you enjoy food as much as I do, sometimes, the craving for some home-cooked, healthy, fresh goodness is insatiable unless I bust out the knives and the pots and do it myself.

In #8, we’ve got a pretty snazzy way of navigating feeding.  Because our kitchen’s small and impossible to fit more than two people comfortably, we don’t do a lot of communal cooking like they do in some of the local co-ops.  What we actually do is assign at the beginning of each semester one night where each of us is responsible to cook dinner for the others, and then, because of our varying class schedules, breakfast and lunch are individually executed.  As a college student, then, most of my cooking repertoire is portioned for one; the easy thing about one-person recipes, though, is that it can easily be multiplied!

While I’ll occasionally wake up early and make breakfast for everyone, lunch is always my own affair.  A lot of times, it involves reheating leftovers, but I usually have enough time to make something from scratch.  Below is what I call my ‘Lazy Pasta,’ a combination of tri-color fusili (the orange corkscrews are from tomatoes, and green from spinach), blanched spinach, diced tomatoes, sliced salami… and cream cheese and pasta water, swirled together for an easy, near-ridiculous, “white sauce.”

I was clearing out my refrigerator last year, and all I had left were a package of cream cheese and a box of pasta.  It kind of reminded me of macaroni and cheese, so I experimented in throwing the two together, and it then transformed into an easy way to dress up noodles.  Having all of my nutrition in one bowl is also convenient, for eating and for clean up.

Lazy Pasta

Ingredients
3/4 cup dried fusili (or 1 serving of your choice of pasta)
1/2 cup fresh spinach
1/4 cup chopped salami (ham would be yummy too)
1 small tomato, seeded and diced
2 tablespoons cream cheese
salt&pepper, to taste
pasta water, as needed

Directions

Boil lightly salted water and prepare pasta as directed on the box!  My fusili calls for 8 minutes until al dente…

…so at 6 minutes, I also add in the spinach to lightly blanch it.

Take out a few tablespoons of the pasta water and set aside for the sauce later.

Drain the pasta and spinach, and then put it back into a warmed bowl.

Add the cream cheese, and toss until it’s melted and coated the pasta evenly.  Add pasta water, as needed, if you want to thin it out (although it’s likely you won’t need it).

Toss in the salami and tomato, then season with salt and pepper! :)

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